Stats: Distance: 8 miles and just over 1,000 feet of ascent
This is an enjoyable easy excursion in the southern extremities of the Lakes. It would make a good family outing with a mixture of easy, traffic-free or very quiet lanes, forest tracks and farm tracks. The ending can be made can be made more sporting with a gorgeous bit of twisty singletrack down to Staveley-in-Cartmel, but this is substantially more demanding than the rest of the route. Perhaps this could be offered as an alternative ending for the older and more confident members of the party and anyone wanting to preserve the easy standard can continue down the forest track to Barrow Banks.
Start point: The new bypass has left several culs-de-sac from bits of the old A590. A good one can be found just west of Ayside at SD389843.
1. Warm up with a roll south-eastwards along the old A590.
2. At the “beware of horses” sign, turn left up the D-shaped lane and double back up to the left.
3. Pass the small reservoir on your left and take the obvious swing left before you reach the Height Road.
4. Mosey north to Simpson Ground where you go straight through, bearing slightly right.
5. The track is now much rougher and includes an entertaining ford.
6. Turn left at the T-junction at SD408869passing through the farmsteads of Foxfield and Sow How.
7. After Sow How, look out for a forest track on your left. There is precious little to identify it but go up it. Take the right fork immediately after the gate.
8. Meander south, bearing right at the obvious fork.
9. If you want to take the twisty single-track ending, the start is extremely hard to find. There’s no signage and, in High Summer, it’s smothered by Rosebay Willow-Herb. But if you look carefully, you’ll see it 0.4 miles after the obvious fork.
10. Drop down through trees and go through the deer fence gate. Swoop down the meadow ( I disturbed a young deer and a goldcrest here) and re-enter the woods at the bottom, turning left past the “pigs in wood” sign.
11. Follow the minor road south back to the start.