The Penistone-Langsett 8, South Yorkshire by Richard Peace

The Penistone-Langsett 8, South Yorkshire by Richard Peace

Richard Peace

Cycling UK's resident e-bike expert and cycling author Richard Peace takes on an '8-shaped' double loop tour of wild South Yorkshire.

This ride combines the rolling green pastures and dry stone walls of the countryside around Pensitone with the grand, open vistas of the heather-clad moorland of the Peak District National Park just south of Langsett Reservoir. It can also easily be split into into two smaller loops if time is scarce, as you can see by looking at the GPX. The ‘northern loop’ still starts at Penistone rail station and includes the lovely flat, scenic start along the Trans Pennine Trail railpath and looping back via Fulshaw. The ‘southern loop’ has no rail access and is basically a loop around Langsett Reservoir including a spectacular climb onto moorland.  

After an easy, scenic start along the Trans Pennine Trail railpath, easily accessible from Penistone train station, it's easy to miss the hole in the wall near the Carlecotes sign that doubles back over the trail on Cote Bank Bridge to cross Thurlstone Moor, using a section of the Peak District Boundary Walk.

Head along a short section on the old Manchester road before diving onto easy-riding forest tracks to the north-west of Langsett Reservoir and dropping and hairpinning steeply to cross the dam. A fascinating section now starts as you ascend a track and jink through the idyllic hamlet of Upper Midhope, before descending to pick up a wide concrete road that was once part of a WWII tank testing range (nowadays signed ‘privilege footpath’ - but don’t be put off, bikes are allowed).

Briefly dip into the woodland again — a change from coniferous ‘monoculture’ to biodiverse native species such as oak — before a long and breathtaking climb (in every sense of the word), up an often rocky track to meet the old drovers’ road known as Cut Gate at the highest point on the route. The views on this section are stunning and if you do it in summer you may well see curlew and grouse. A steep and rocky descent to the Little Don river, complete with trout ladder, is the most testing riding on the whole circuit, so don’t worry if you need to dismount.

Take a final cut through the woods to climb Fulshaw Lane bridleway, now on the Kinder Loop, promoted for horse riders but also available to mountain bikers. Again don’t be deceived by a footpath sign down the final track descent that heads south to emerge at the hamlet of Ecklands; this is also part of the Kinder Loop and links to a minor road back to the railtrail and Penistone. 


Full-suspension mountain bikes are advised, especially due to the rocky descent to the Little Don descending the famous Cut Gate bridleway, though this is the only truly ‘technical’ section here.

Be prepared for the weather to change quickly on the moors, so even on a sunny summer day bring clothing suited to a change in weather to cooler or windier.

Lots of choice for food and drink. In Penistone or at Langsett choose from Bank View Cafe (painted in polka dots to celebrate the 2014 Tour de France coming to Yorkshire) and the Waggon and Horses pub. If you love ‘Tiny Campsites’ then check out the camping in the orchard just to the north of Penistone.

Level of ride 
Type of bike 
Mountain bike