Snake Pass & Woodhead Pass Loop
Updated: May 31, 2020
This RIDE is a must for bikers in the North of England to get involved in!!
This RIDE is perfectly located on the Pennines between Yorkshire and Lancashire and is right in the middle of a triangle formed by Manchester, Sheffield and Barnsley.
With it being a loop riders can join it at any point and do the full loop before heading home following a great RIDE filled with bends ranging from tight and technical to fast and sweeping. This well loved route has everything, from moor top rides with views for miles to shadow filled woodland valley sections in which the bends just keep coming.
I like to think about the ride in 3 main sections:
Woodhead Pass (Flouch roundabout to Glossop)
Snake Pass (Glossop to Ladybower reservoir)
Ladybower reservoir to Flouch roundabout
The A628 Woodhead Pass section is the busiest road of the RIDE as it is one of the main transport routes between Manchester and Yorkshire, so there may be more traffic on this section than the remaining 2 sections. For this reason I tend to hit this section 1st and usually start relatively early to enjoy the roads a little quieter. This section is quick and sweeping up and over the tops before heading down towards Woodhead reservoir, the bends flowing from lefts to rights following parallel to the stream at the bottom of the gorge that feeds into the reservoir. Skirting around the northern banks of the Woodhead reservoir with great views you cross a good sized bridge over the water before turning at the dam towards Glossop. Here the roads become notably smaller as you pass the southern banks of the Torside reservoir and on into Glossop.
The A57 Snake Pass section starts in Glossop where as soon as you turn onto the A57 and head up the slight hill there is a fuel station should you need to fill up. Continuing upwards and beyond the boundary of urban Glossop you quickly come to a fantastic uphill "S" bend which signifies what I believe to be the best part of this RIDE. From here it is moor-tops at about 500 meters above sea level for as far as you can see before hitting the sight of a steep cut valley which is the start of the descent. From open moors with endless views you quickly enter a brilliant winding v shaped valley where you are almost tunnel visioned to the next bend, each bend followed quickly by the one after and so on. This continues through heavy woodland in parts on a descent that slaloms you more than 300 vertical meters to the start of the famous Ladybower reservoir where the Dambusters tested their amazing bouncing bombs. You ride along the northern banks of the reservoir taking in the views and letting the adrenaline slowly ease before you arrive at the the great little bikers spot, the Ladybower Cafe; a small family run sandwich van that is open most of the year and does fantastic butties, just what you are ready for at this stage of a great day. Eating a tasty sandwich alongside beautiful scenery in the middle of a great day out on the bike, what more could a biker ask for.......
The Ladybower to Flouch roundabout section starts by crossing over the bridge that spans Ladybower reservoir and up the hill to the turn signposted "Strines Moor". From this point the roads narrow a touch to good quality surface single track (depending on what the council have been up to). This section has some brilliant stretches of dead straight roads followed by a good few hair pin bends and all in between. It is probably the lesser traveled of the 3 sections mentioned but by no means does that make it the worst. You will be skirting around the moor edge with fast parts, very technical bends, steep ascents and equally steep descents for 10 miles of fun before you meet the A616 between Stocksbridge and Langsett, turning left and heading up to the Flouch roundabout.
Who is this ride suited to?
This ride can be challenging if you push your limits or are easily distracted by amazing scenery but if you take it at your own pace and within your limits you will have a brilliant day out. No matter which way you do the loop, clockwise or anti-clockwise it is an amazing RIDE!!