Doctors Gate Update – Tackling the Bog of Doom

Peak District MTB started working with the Peak District National Park Authority in early 2022, making the case for trail upgrades to tackle one of the worst trail bogs in the Peak District. The great news is the improvement works are close to being complete and are a huge improvements for all trail users..

“Doctors Gate descends into Glossop down a Roman road which ran between Glossop and Hope Valley,” says Greville Kelly, who led the project for Peak District MTB. “The trail is a challenging technical route, however has been blighted by a large bog which covers the lower sections before the trail opens up for a final fast, open descent into Glossop.

“Through our links with the National Park Authority, we picked up in early 2022 that the route had been identified by one of the Peak District Authority rangers as needing improvements. Funding had been identified, however an alternative case was also being made for the funding to support work away from the bridleway.”

Greville had recently attempted the route and been reminded of the tragic state of the trail created by the bog. At its worst riders or walkers could easily find themselves sinking up to their knees in the bog, which in parts stretched 10 metres either side of the bridleway,

Making the Case
To support the case for trail improvements on Doctors Gate evidence was supplied by Peak District MTB detailing the trail conditions and the impact observed on trail users (principally walkers and mountain bikers).

“At its worst families were seen having to turn back and end walks early due to the extent of the bog,” explains Greville. “For mountain bikers descending Doctors Gate by the time you reached the bog you had little choice to tackle it or face a tough climb back up to the summit.”

To approve the decision for investment of the funding from the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme, evidence was submitted for review by the National Park Authority’s Local Assessment Panel, where the project proposal and supporting evidence from user groups would be assessed in relation to the contribution the project makes for People, Nature and the Landscape.

The panel consists of Peak District National Park Authority Chief Officer, Natural England, National Farmers Union, Country Landowners Association, Farmer/land manager, Environmental Non-Government Organisations and Derbyshire Wildlife Trust.

Greville adds, “During the Autumn of 2022 Peak District MTB were further consulted on some specific elements of the design, and in January 2023 we received the news that the project proposal to tackle the bog through the laying of 300 metres of stone slabs (as used extensively across other boggy sections of the Peak District) had been approved”.

Work in Progress – June 2023
The project to tackle the bog started its implementation in March / April 23, and as of late June looks to be 70% complete, with the worst sections of the bog tackled, and the sections above the main bog also completed.

“There are currently several bags of stone in place ready for tackling some of the steepest sections which are also susceptible to erosion, and the full project should be completed during July 2023 when we will bring further news,” says Greville.

Above: Fresh slabs tackling the higher bog sections

Above: Bog of Doom 2 Diversion

Above: Steeper sections feature short steps sections

Above: Work in progress, exposed peat that is only together by fragile routes

What next?
Doctors gate is still a work in progress, higher sections near the summit feature sections which are incredibly rocky and exposed, and should be tackled with caution (most mortals should be prepared for some walking sections). So there is work still to done, however for the time being a huge thanks to the team at the National Park Authority for delivering these much needed trail improvements along with the land owner (Mossey Lea Farm) who bank rolled the project and facilitated the work.

Recommended Food, Drink & Bike Shop near Doctors Gate
Should you decide to tackle Doctors Gate there are some great cafes and pubs at the end of the trail, highlights to recommended include the Distant Hills Brewery Tap room (200 meters from the end of the bridleway coming into Glossop) and the excellent Shepley Cafe located in Old Glossop. Both venues also feature great outdoor space for food and drinks where you can also keep a safe eye on your bike. For a local bike shop in Glossop for spares and support visit Jamie at High Peak Cycles who has been trading in Glossop for over 20 years.

2 July 2023