Start: Carsington Water Visitor Centre
Distance: 8 miles
Terrain: Off road, traffic free
Bike Types: Mountain bikes, Hybrid, Road Bike
Grading : Moderate

Carsington Water in Derbyshire is a popular for all types of sporting activities cycling, walking, sailing, kayaking and fishing. The cycling route takes in a loop of Carsington Water which is around 8 miles long. Classed as an easy route it does have a few small up and downhill sections and is more suitable for hybrid / mountain bikes but its perfectly ridable with care on a road bike.

Most people would choose to start the ride from the Carsington Water visitor centre on the Western Edge of the Lake where there is a large car park, picnic area, toilets and a cafe. It can get very busy but generally car parking is always available. There is also cheaper car parking and toilets at Millfields at the Southern end of the Lake.

A short extension to the main loop is to go through the village of Carsington. Take the sustrans route 547, signs direct from the  trail at Sheepwash car park. The Miners Arms pub is  in the village.

From February 2020,  a new automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) car parking system hasbeen installed at Carsington Water. It captures vehicle registration plates when entering the Visitors Centre and Millfield car parks. You can pay by cash and card.

You can hire bicycles at Carsington Sports and Leisure, advanced booking only. It is open from 10am daily except Christmas Day and New Years Day. You must return bikes  by 5.30pm in the main season, earlier in autumn/winter.

A substantial playground area is equipped for toddlers up to 12 years of age. Toilets and places to eat are also at the Visitors Centre.  Water sports can be enjoyed all year round.

Tips for cycling around Carsington Water with children

Park early as it gets busy at weekends and school holidays.
Take food and liquids, there are none available until you get back to  the Visitors Centre.
Take lunch. Queues for food  can be lengthy.
Th  cycle path is rocky and muddy. Dress suitably.
Is your child up to the challenge of a full circuit.
A bicycle bell is recommended to warn walkers you are approaching.
A bike pump is a good idea.

Water Sports

Besides cycling you can also do walking, fishing and bird watching. Carsington Sports & Leisure are the onsite water sports centre. You can hire  paddleboards , canadian canoes, sit on kayaks and regular kayaks  by the hour.

Day and season tickets are available for windsurfing, sailing dinghy’s or  above mentioned paddlesports.

For sailing and windsurfing people, Carsington Water offer various RYA accredited sailing and windsurfing courses.

Carsington Route Map & GPX
Download file: carsington.gpx
Carsington Water Accommodation

Silk Mill House, Wirksworth – Stunning Holiday Cottage in the Heart of a Historical Town

Poplars Farm, Ashbourne – Holiday cottage, camping and glamping near Ashbourne.

Winnow Barns, Ilam Nr Ashbourne – Traditional barns, dating back to the 1700’s have recently been lovingly converted into luxury holiday accommodation.

Beechenhill Farm Cottages, Ilam Nr Ashbourne – Three cottages in a stunning spot in the Peak District National Park, just up the hill from Dovedale.

The Rose & Crown, Mayfield Nr Ashbourne – A traditional family run B&B near Ashbourne

Millfields Farm Holiday Cottages, Ashbourne – Luxury cottages 150 yards from Carsington Water

More Information

Map: Carsington Water Map

Parking: There is a large pay and display car park at the Carsington Water visitor centre and also a smaller pay and display on the road leading up to Millfields.

Also try The High Peak Trail