Stats: 49 miles of reasonably flat riding
Refreshments & Where to Stay: Preston and Blackpool are nearby, as is historic Lancaster
A great loop around the westernmost lump of Lancashire. Although Blackpool lacks certain finesse, the atmosphere is generally cheery and the views are stunning. On a clear day, the panorama includes Wales, the Isle of Man, the Lakes, The Howgills, The Dales (Ingleborough’s bony crown is pre-eminent), the Bowland Hills, Winter Hill and Ashurst Beacon. The short ferry hop makes this a memorable excursion.
1. Head out of Garstang on Moss Lane, over the humpback bridge. Cross the A6 with care at the Bellflower.
2. Turn right into the ominously-named Kilcrash Lane. Follow this through flat farmland to Pilling and turn left into Head Dyke Lane
3. At Preesall, turn right to Knott End and follow this down to the slipway. Ferries generally run on the hour and half-hour and the trip takes all of five minutes. Expect to pay £1.50 for you and a further 50p for the bike.
4. At the farther shore, take up the promenade and dodge the hordes of strollers, giddy kiddies and unleashed dogs through Bispham and Blackpool.
5. At Squire’s Gate, join the main road heading south (there’s a good continuous cycle lane) but you can duck back onto promenade at St Anne’s if the main road is too busy for your liking.
6. Rejoin the main road, then turn left near Lytham Windmill into Station Road.
7. Meander through to the incongruous picture-postcard village of Wrea Green, its thatched roofs looking ill-suited to Lancashire’s rainfall.
8. Go straight on at the church (village stores on your right) and (easily missed) take a shortcut by a wall (just before the main road) into Kirkham. Cross the dual carriageway with care.
9. In Kirkham, turn left into Carr Lane and zigzag North and East to Inskip.
10. Turn left on the B5269 then right (after the village) into Pinfold Lane.
11. Turn right into St Michael’s Lane at the end and pass Myerscough agricultural college to join the A6 at Guy’s Thatched Hamlet.
12. Pootle north on the A6 then follow signs forking right back into Garstang.