Glossop cyclists could soon ride all the way to Sheffield, as the Pedal Peak District project received a £5 million funding boost from the government this week.
Plans to extend the cycle network in the Peaks include a new 12-mile route, the Little Don Link, which would connect the Trans Pennine Trail with Beeley Wood in north Sheffield.
The existing route from Glossop starts at the Longendale Trail and goes past Bottoms, Torside and Woodhead reservoirs towards Penistone.
The paths would merge at Dunford Bridge, near Winscar Reservoir, offering Glossop cyclists an alternative route through South Yorkshire.
The new cycle path, one of four proposed by the project, would be built from material from recycled tyres and will follow the route of a disused railway line skirting Langsett and Underbank reservoirs.
The trail would also cross and run parallel to part of the route for the 2014 Tour de France .
The £5 million grant from the Department for Transport will be supplemented by £2.5 million from other partners including Derbyshire County Council and the Peak District National Park Authority.
It is hoped the boost will put an estimated 3.5 million people within reach of the Peak cycle network.
The three other trails proposed are the White Peak Loop, the Staffordshire Moorlands Link and the Little John Route and Hope Valley Link.
Tony Favell, chair of the Peak District National Park Authority, added: “This is wonderful and exciting news for the Peak District. It is great for family cycling and for walkers too. It gives road cyclists alternative routes and eases traffic congestion. It will boost healthy living for people in the big cities of Sheffield, Derby, Nottingham and Stoke and at the same time benefit national park residents and rural businesses.
“There is a huge amount of work involved in opening up these four cycle-ways and there will be public consultation on the precise routes to be taken, but investing in traffic-free trails is a win, win situation for everyone and the environment.”
Derbyshire County Councillor Joan Dixon, cabinet member for transport, said: “This is fantastic news for Derbyshire. Boosting our local economy is at the top of our agenda so anything we can do to improve tourism and open up our county’s beautiful countryside to attract new visitors is most welcome.”
Planning applications for the four routes are expected to be submitted over the next year and the routes are expected to be completed by 2016.