There are some days in the mountains that are truly special. Tackling the English Lake District in winter produces such days. Follow Rich Duckworth on this epic Lake District mountain bike route and take your own adventure!
AROUND THE HOWGILLS
This is a superb route for wild and rugged scenery, on good roads with long climbs and great descents. When riding in autumn and winter, you really do need to make sure that your bike is well serviced, that you have tools and inner tubes and good cold weather clothing. It’s also wise to use a rear light during daytime riding, as tree lined country roads with hidden sunlight can make it difficult for cars to pick you out early. Anyway, to the route.
We start this ride from Oxenholme railway station near to Kendal, as you can take the train to the start and finish and enjoy an environmentally friendly adventure. Nearby Kendal can provide excellent opportunities for a bite to eat as you finish the ride too, and the ride is also easy to do if you’re planning on a few days in the Lake District. Make sure that you check the weather reports prior to setting off, as the Howgills are beautiful but remote and wild.
The Howgills provide sublime views to those driving up the M6 motorway and passing through Cumbria. Close to the road, these wild hills stand proudly and defiant. The climbs are steep and at times brutal, but the rewards are epic. It’s time to take a closer look at the hills that sit between the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales.
Stats 80 km 1,181 metres
Refreshments & Where to Stay
Nearby Kendal has everything required and the two national parks in the area have a wealth of great accommodation choices.
A long and remote route amidst the hills. Weather can be wild here, so be prepared. The climbs are long and steep, but the views are amazing.
- Set off from Oxenholme station on the B6254 signed towards Old Hutton. After a very short distance turn off left into Hayclose Lane prior to the Station Inn.
- At the junction with the famous A684 Dales road, turn right towards Sedbergh and continue on the A684 until you cross the M6 motorway. Once over the motorway bridge, turn off right into the narrow lane towards Killington. This beautiful narrow lane takes you on a true country cycling journey, with amazing scenery. However, take care along the winding lane for oncoming traffic; for whilst this is minimal, the narrowness of the road enquires attention.
- After 2 km, turn sharply left to Killington village and ride through towards the B6256 road, climbing most of the way, with meadows and hedgerows beside you. Join the B6256 and turn left and continue towards the A684 and the famous Howgills literary town of Sedbergh.
- After a brief stop in Sedbergh for any refreshments, the A684 is swapped for the A683 towards Kirkby Stephen. The climbing continues as you cross remote and exposed countryside and climb towards Kirkby Stephen.
- At the junction with the A685 turn left towards Newbiggin on Lune and ride into the village itself once reached. Then cycle along the minor country road that runs parallel with the A685, through Kelleth, eventually crossing over the A685 and onto Tebay. Now cycle along the old A6 road that follows alongside the route of the M6 south. Turn off to Kendal and enjoy the descent after some tough climbs.
- Kendal has ample places to choose from for food and drinks, before you ride the short distance back to Oxenholme, or simply take a train from Kendal itself.
Click below for GPX file & accommodation