Start: Hulme End / Brown End
Distance: 9 miles
Terrain: Easy roads and trails.
Bike Types: Mountain bikes, Hybrid, Road Bike
The Manifold Trail follows the route of the disused Leek and Manifold Light Railway which ran through the Manifold and Hamps Valleys. The track is mainly tarmac which is generally well maintained and fairly flat throughout its length of approximately 9 miles.
The trail follows the way of the River Manifold along the Manifold Valley, and its tributary river, the Hamps.
Its given name of Manifold comes from the many folds of the river along the valley bottom. The Manifold goes underground at sinkholes south of Wetton Mill and surfaces again around Ilam Hall which is about 5 miles away. The River Hamps also travels underground through several caves and underground passages.
The Manifold Way is a good route for walking, cycling or riding. It is tarmacked and has a maintained surface making it it suitable for wheelchairs, prams (check this link for suitable ones) and pushchairs. It goes through the wonderful White Peak countryside with high limestone hills, plush woodland and wild flower filled meadows. The Manifold Way joins a single track B-road just south of Ecton for about a mile so take care as traffic will be encountered.
Halfway along the trail is Stop at Wetton Mill which was once an water mill used for grinding corn. Its now a cafe making it the perfect stop for refreshments and maybe a picnic next to the River Manifold.
One of the best sights on the trail is Thor’s Cave, once lived in by stone age folk, and now a tourist attraction along the trail from Wetton Mill. Thor’s Cave stands 250 ft above the track and can be accessed on foot. If you’re getting hungry at this point there’s the excellent Wetton Mill tea rooms nearby. Thor’s cave is worth the climb for wonderful views of the valley. There is another cave to explore above the cafe.
There is parking at Wetton Mill and Weags Bridge Hulme End together with refreshments at The Manifold Inn. Toilets and refreshments at Hulme End and Wetton Mill. You can hire bikes at both Hulme End and Brown End. There are various tea shops and refreshment vans along the way. Also call at the Ye Olde Crown Hotel at Waterhouses.
Nearest Railway station is at Uttoxeter, 10 miles south.
There is an official car park at Waterhouses and is just off the A523 Ashbourne to Leek road. There are cycle hire outlets and toilets also here.
There are better facilities for the disabled found at Hulme End and the northern end of the trail close to Hartington. There are wide car parking spaces for more convenience, toilets and the actual track at this point is very suitable for wheel chairs.
No need for maps or instructions, just follow the other walkers and cyclists.
Route Map and GPX File
Download file: manifold valley.gpx
Manifold Valley Accommodation
The Beehive Guest House Oakamoor, Staffs. Alton Towers is only 1½ miles away. Private parking. Full English or continental breakfast.
Leek Camping Barns, Leek, Serendipity Shepherd Hut, Top Barn & Bottom Barn
The Laurels B&B Nr Alton Towers, The Laurels Bed and Breakfast near Alton in Staffordshire is a friendly B&B, with a real home from home feel less than 5 minutes drive away from Alton Towers Theme Park. Secure bicycle storage available.
New Hanson Grange Holidays near Milldale. We have dog friendly accommodation, holiday bungalow and shepherd’s huts. Secure cycle storage.
Manifold Valley Trail Map
Manifold Cycle Hire – Hulme End
Also Try The Ladybower Cycle Circuit