Trough of Bowland Cycle Route

Trough of Bowland Cycling Route

Route Information

Stats:  35 miles and 2800 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments: There are many opportunities to choose from: Cobble Corner at Chipping. Puddleducks at Dunsop Bridge. Snack van (seasonal) at the bottom of Langden Beck. The Priory at Scorton is very cyclist-friendly (they even have their own cycle shop)

Character: A magnificent loop around the Western Bowland fells, with a variety of cleft moorland, estate farmland and coastal plain. This is my staple road ride.
________________________________________

Route

1. From Garstang, head south towards Catterall. At a mini-roundabout by a vet’s, turn left into Dimples Lane.

2. At the end of the lane, turn left into Bruna Lane and follow that over the canal and the M6.

3. Turn right into Sandholme Lane. Follow this to a stone bridge overhung by trees. Turn left into Butt Hill Lane. Keep climbing for over mile, passing Cobble Hey Farm, where the road becomes Hobbs Lane.

4. Turn left into Bleasedale Lane. Follow this up, then through three successive dips until you join Oakenclough Lane coming in from the right at Wickens Farm.

5. Follow lanes to Chipping. There are several possibilities, all of roughly equal length.

6. Go straight through Chipping and, shortly after the Gibbon Bridge Hotel, turn left, signposted to Whitewell.

7. Pass the Inn at Whitewell and head upriver to Dunsop Bridge. This landscape has a slightly Scottish feel, I always think, as if you could be wending your way up a minor Cairngorm Glen.

8. Take a detour into Dunsop Bridge if hungry or keep going straight up the Trough road. Dig in.

9. Descend past the Marshaw pines (another touch that hints at Rothiemurchus Forest) and look out for a left turn (signposted to Garstang). Take it.

10. Follow the rise and fall of the moorland, heading broadly SSW, with good views out to Morecambe Bay and the southern Lakes. Go straight on at a stop sign.

11. Go straight through the village of Scorton. Just after you cross Gubberford Bridge, there’s a tiny, unsigned left turn. This is a quiet lane leading back into the centre of Garstang.




click below for gpx file

Kendal Eight

Kendal Eight

Route Information

Stats:  21 miles and 1765 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

Spoilt for choice in Kendal

Character

The wedge of land between the Lakes and Dales is an inexplicably quiet backwater. It would merit the phrase “best-kept secret” if that weren’t so obviously oxymoronic. Even when the proposed extensions to the National Parks take place, the area of this ride is likely to remain resolutely overlooked. And long may it remain so.

The majority of the route is down narrow country lanes that you’re likely to have to yourself. The first part of the ride shadows the M6 but you wouldn’t know it’s there as it’s hidden from sight and the sound (at least while the wind is in the western quadrant) isn’t an issue. The only road noise is from the A590 down near Tewitfield.

The start point is described from a motorist’s point-of-view but the route passes Oxenholme station so it would be perfectly possible to approach it by rail.


Route

1. From the layby, set off on the A65 north, towards Kendal for ¼mile, passing under the motorway.

2. Turn right into a narrow lane signed “Friends’ Meeting House, Goose Green“

3. Follow this for around three miles until you meet the B6254 at Old Hutton. Turn Left.

4. Follow the B road past Oxenholme station down towards Kendal.

5. Rejoin the A65 at a set of traffic lights and continue into the town.

6. At the big roundabout, take the third exit into Lound Road. The River Kent is on your left.

7. With the museum on your left, turn right at some lights into Park Side Road.

8. Climb to the A684 and turn right towards Sedbergh. Keep climbing, past a transmission mast.

9. Just after the brow, turn right into a tiny road called Hawkrigg Lane.

10. Drop down this, swinging right (look out for mud on the road) until you reach Beehive Lane.

11. Turn left, and go down to the B6254 again. Turn right. If things look oddly familiar, that’s because they are.

12. This time, you’re looking for a ludicrously well-hidden left turn. It is completely unmarked, doubles back and looks more like a farm track than part of the public highway. But trust me on this. It’s as you’re climbing, just after the sign warning of horse-riders.

13. Follow this lane, skirting the low ridge of The Helm, then dropping to the A65 at the Punch Bowl Inn.

14. With all due care, cross the A65 into the lane opposite.
15. Turn left at the next junction, ignoring the National Cycle Route 6 going right.

16. Head sound on a charming lane. Watch out for a crossroads (No Give Way sign) by a small graveyard. Try not to join them, yes? Go straight over, past Crosscrake Primary School.

17. Go over the small humpback bridge round the terminus of the canal.

18. Keep heading SSE, parallel to the A590. When you reach the B6385, turn left. At the A65, turn right to return to the start.




click below for gpx file

Windermere Loop

Windermere Cycling Loop

Route Information

Stats:  38.5 miles and 3163 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

I shall consider it a personal slight if you don’t grab a bite and a mug in the Sun Cottage Cafe in Hawkshead, the warmest, friendliest place in the world. I can’t find a site to link to but ring ahead on 015394 36123 if you want to check opening times or forewarn Paul and Tracey of an incoming horde of hungry cyclists.

Character

This magnificent loop is a great introduction to Lakeland road riding if you want to avoid the contour-crunching slopes of the steeper passes and the flying metal of the faster roads. It describes an anticlockwise circuit around Windermere taking in the shy damson groves of the Lyth Valley and the woods of Graythwaite.


Route

1. Pootle north to Bowness on the A5074 then leave on the A592 Rayrigg Road.

2. Go to Ambleside on the A591 (admittedly, there’s a fair amount of flying metal here but you can escape much of it on the cycle-path)

3. Bear left at Waterhead lights onto the A5095, left again at Loughrigg bridge on the A593 to Coniston and a third left at Clappersgate to take the B5286 to Hawkshead.

4. From Hawkshead, trundle south to Newby Bridge. Your satnav, if you have one, might nag you to stay on the A590 here but the flying-metal coefficient is sky-high so give it a swerve. Take two more lefts (the second is at the roundabout onto the A592 to Bowness and Fell Foot Garden) then fork right onto Fell Foot Brow (signposted to Cartmel Fell, Bowland Bridge and Gummers How Picnic Area)

5. Grind up the brow, then swoop down to Bowland Bridge. Keep going past the highly-recommended Hare and Hounds to regain the A5074 and a short retrace back to the start.




click below for gpx file

The Struggle Classic Climb

Classic Climbs – The Struggle

Route Information

Stats:  38 miles and 4000 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

Joseph’s ice cream van can set you away,: Kirkstone Inn can congratulate you on clearing the big climb, Patterdale Post Office at the bottom, lots of cafés in Glenridding, Low Bridge End Farm cafe in St John’s in the Vale and plenty at Grasmere in case you’re running on empty near the end. Note that the toilets at Ambleside’s main car park now charge 20p entrance fee.

Character

Precious few passes bear intrinsically romantic names. Sure, some are spoken of in whispers, like Wrynose and Hardknott, but most are ploddingly geographical, like Newlands and Whinlatter.

A unique aura, then, clings to the Struggle, the three miles of sweat-stained tarmac hauling out of Ambleside to the crest of Kirkstone. Such an aura that Leonard Cohen commemorated it in the finest opening lines known in song

I stumbled out of bed; I got ready for The Struggle.

You just knew Lennie was a cyclist, didn’t you?

It’s a steeper pull than the main Kirkstone road out of Troutbeck, but considerably quieter, too. If long stretches of 20% tax your legs you can at least give thanks that you’re not dragging a car…


Route

1. Bear left at the mini-roundabout as you come into Ambleside. The sign helpfully points out that Kirkstone is a mere three miles away. So that’s all right, then.

2. After those three miles, swoop down to Brothers’ Water and on down to Patterdale and Glenridding.

3. Turn left onto the A5091 Park Brow, climbing past the coach-loads come to gaze at Aira Force, on through the pretty villages of Dockray, Matterdale End and Troutbeck (the other one).

4. At the A66, turn left. If you feel intimidated by the traffic, there are bits of cycle-lane and odd stretches of the old road. On this occasion, I just tucked in to the left of the white line and whizzed down the clickety-click with Blencathra casting a protective eye over me.

5. Turn left onto the B5322 to Thirlmere, ambling pleasantly through the pastures of St John’s Vale.

6. To avoid the traffic of the A591, dink right onto a tiny lane, signposted in blue to Grasmere. The tarmac has seen better days but my skinny tyres coped OK. Cross the main road onto the quiet road down the west side of Thirlmere, crossing the sinuous dam and winding down the larch-needled shore.

7. Rejoin the A591 at the southern end of the lake for the tiny pull over Dunmail Raise. Then there’s a screamingly fast descent to Grasmere.

8. To minimise the A-road roar, fork left at the Dove Cottage roundabout and snake through the trees (bear right at the fork) to the start.




click below for gpx file

Rusland Valley



Rusland Valley

Route Information

Stats:  20.5 miles and 2885 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

The Sun Cottage Cafe in Hawkshead is ideally placed.

Character

A charming tour of the Rusland Valley, better known to mountain bikers heading for the Grizedale centre, returning via the quiet side of Coniston. There’s a maze of lanes so either download our attached GPX file or proceed in a relaxed fashion, not worrying too much if you take the most direct route. This route is easily extended by heading further north at Hawkshead and adding another northern road loop.


Route

1. There are lots of lanes in a complex mesh so rely on signs leading you to Satterthwaite, then Grizedale.

2. From the adventure centre, head north to Hawkshead and a refuel.

3. Just north of Hawkshead, take the left to Brantwood on the B5285.

4. Dropping down on the Coniston side, take the left fork by the well. Skirt round to gain the east bank of Coniston.

5. Pass Brantwood and keep going to the very foot of the lake. This is sacred ground for Ramsonites as Peel Island was the model for Wild Cat Island and Allan Tarn was the basis for the Octopus Lagoon.

6. If you haven’t done enough climbing, you can take the left up Bessy Bank signed to Oxen Park. Our route, however, pleasantly skirts the edge of the National Park around Tottlebank and Bouth, returning over the causeway and a short climb beyond the Rusland to the start.




click below for gpx file



Newlands and Honister

Newlands & Honister

Route Information

Stats:  17.5 miles and 2514 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

Good pubs at Buttermere (The Fish and The Bridge) and the Grange Bridge Cottage Cafe have fed me well every time I’ve called in.

Character

Two good, 800′ pulls to get your legs pumping but, remember, this is just an incidental loop on the Fred Whitton challenge…
Regardless of the physical challenge, this is a tour through some of the most beautiful scenery this country has to offer.


Route

1. There are good signposts to Buttermere and Newlands Pass dotted around the Newlands valley so don’t worry if you take the wrong turn – you’ll still get there. It’s a good, steady pull up Keskadale, with the imposing dome of Robinson overhead with its characteristic waterfall.

2. Check your brakes are in A1 condition before committing to the fast descent into Buttermere.

3. Turn left at the bottom (by the tiny church) and follow the B-road along the lake shore and past Gatesgarth Farm for the second big pull up onto Honister Hause.

4. Descend into Seatoller, being wary of potholes, and follow the Borrowdale road down the valley until the left turn to Grange, over the distinctive double-arched bridge.

5. Follow the minor road skirting the western shore of Derwentwater, flanking Catbells’ slopes.

6. Loop round the end of Catbells and, where the road zags hard right, go left and follow the narrow lane back to Stair.
Now you can head back to your accommodation at Keswick and plan the ride for tomorrow.




click below for gpx file

Low Wray and Hawkshead Hill

Low Wray & Tarn Hows

Route Information

Stats:  16 miles and 1650 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

We started this route off from Low Wray National Trust Campsite. There is a National Trust visitor car park at Wray Castle. However, the loop can just as well be started from either: Ambleside or Coniston, giving an easier start, or Hawkshead, where there are a great range of facilities on offer to suit everyone.

Character

Albeit short in distance, don’t underestimate this route. It climbs quite quickly, with only a short opportunity to warm into it. Dropping into Coniston at speed on twisting lanes, care should be taken. These narrow Lakeland roads can have unfamiliar drivers along them. The final stretch allows the opportunity to stretch out and roll along back to Low Wray – and do the loop again!


Route

1. From Wray Castle turn left onto the narrow lane and begin the twisting climb through High Wray to Gillbank before descending to the road junction near Hawkshead. Turn right crossing the bridge before turning right again towards ‘Ambleside/ Coniston’, keeping the car park to your left and the campsite to your right as you pass through Hawkshead on the B5285.

2. Once through Hawkshead rolling fields and isolated properties either side of the road open up the views. Take the next left signed ‘Hawkshead Hill / Coniston’; this is where the long climb begins. A 1 1/2 mile long slog up the narrow twisting lane, with high hedgerows keeping any wind at bay until you summit at High Cross. Time now to enjoy the descent to Coniston. Beware of the tight bends on this descent with some loose gravel on the road edges in places.

3. The Lake comes into view just before Coniston and the road is followed to the edge of the village. Turn right onto Shepherds Bridge Lane, signed for the ‘Coniston Sports and Social Centre’. This short lane soon meets a junction with the A593 (Yewdale Road) signed right towards Ambleside – take this.

4. The road rolls along steadily, passing Yew Tree Tarn on the left. The road twists and turns through Skelwith Bridge before reaching Clappersgate where a turning right is taken signed ‘Hawkshead’. The tight twisting short descent goes over the bridge, passing the Brathay Trust building to your left, continuing on for 1 1/2 mile to a junction left with a very narrow lane signed to ‘Low Wray’ – take this.

5. A short climb then leads you back on more twisting lanes lined with hedgerows to the campsite and Wray Castle.




click below for gpx file

Low Wray and Tarn Hows

Low Wray & Tarn Hows

Route Information

Stats:  11 miles and 1370 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

Ice creams at Tarn Hows car park, and toilets at that location. Drunken Duck pub is also a good venue if required. However, nearby Ambleside and Hawkshead have all you need.

Character

This is either an ideal morning / evening spin for you or a more challenging family ride for the youngsters. Whilst short in miles it makes up for it in the ascents, with steep prolonged climbing and some serious descending on narrow twisting country lanes. A great little ride for warming up your Lake District legs on arrival for a few days cycling.


Route

1. From Wray Castle turn right onto the narrow lane and twist your way down to the junction with the B5286. Turn right towards Ambleside and ride easily along, passing Pullwood Bay estate gatehouse on the right just before a junction on the left signed for ‘Coniston / Tarn Hows’.

2. Take this turning left and climb steeply on the narrow lane as it ascends guided by hedgerows, trees and drystone walls with great views across the surrounding countryside.

3. Pass through the crossroads by the Drunken Duck Public House and continue upwards towards Tarn Hows. This narrow lane passes through the tiny hamlet of Nipe Fold with its neat white washed cottages and reaches a signed junction where the road bends and climbs right – signed ‘Tarn Hows’ . Take this climb and continue upwards.

4. The road narrows and climbs more steeply, reaching a series of junctions left and right amidst the wooded fells. Take the junction right signed ‘Tarn Hows’. This is where we’re heading and there’s more climbing to be done!

5. A cattle grid is crossed as you reach the summit and the road eventually opens up with expansive views across to the Langdales. Tarn Hows comes into view and a car park to the left inidacates the toilets and ice creams if required.

(note: If you fancy a mixed route, there’s a great bridleway from the car park, dropping through trees to Coniston)

6. For those on the roadie route take the twisting descent to the B5285, taking care on the tight bends and loose gravel. Good brakes and care are required on this potentially tricky descent.

7. At the bottom of this testing descent is the junction with the B5286. Turn left and climb up to Hawkshead Hill, then dropping down steeply to the junction on the right signed back to ‘Low Wray’.
If you’ve got time, take another loop in! Alternatively cycle on into Ambleside for a brew – job done.




click below for gpx file

Lakeland Cycling Loop West

LAKE DISTRICT LOOP WEST


Route Information

Stats:  65 miles and 7400 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

There’s a superb cafe strategically placed around halfway. There are further opportunities to revive flagging legs at Keswick and Grasmere (a fistful of gingerbread may get you back over Red Bank).

Character

A thrilling tour de force round the western half of Lakeland, with spectacular scenery, surprising variety and a peek into some of Cumbria’s less-frequented corners.


Route

1. Start in Elterwater because there’s plenty of parking to be had.Kiss goodbye the chocolate-box delights of the village green and cross the bridge, heading towards Colwith.Turn right here and the first challenge smacks you between the eyes like a two-by-two – Wrynose Pass.

2. Wend your way up Little Langdale, enjoying the last few stretches of level tarmac. Then engage your granniest gear and knuckle down to the pass. Plummet down to Cockley Beck and briefly draw breath before the zigzags up Hardknott. This is brutal, but mercifully shorter than Wrynose when heading west.

3. Take it steady on the descent into Eskdale. The turns are tight and the road can be severely pot-holed if the previous winter has been cold. Whizz past the Roman fort with brakes smoking and rattle over the cattle grid with a brief sense of satisfaction – you’ve cracked the Big Two.

4. Follow the valley down to Eskdale Green for the short, stabby climb over to Santon Bridge. Follow easy lanes to Gosforth and pick up the A595 briefly north as far as Calder Bridge. Look over your shoulder from time to time to enjoy unfamiliar views of Gable, Pillar and the Scafells.

5. Hand a right by the church and start following signs to Lamplugh. This is a substantial climb, reaching 300m, but is nowhere steep. If you don’t know this side of Lakeland, you’re in for a treat. The moorland scenery hides archaeological treasures and the seaward views are spectacular, dominated by the lofty fortress of the Isle of Man.

6. Whizz down to Ennerdale Bridge, where you’ll turn right then left to Kirkland and Lamplugh, heading north, with just the briefest skirmish with the A5086.
Leave Lamplugh on a northeasterly bearing to the magnificently-named pass of Fangs Brow.

7. Turn right and head once more toward the centre of Lakeland. Descent at speed past Loweswater and Kirkstile, with a brief climb up Scale Hill before passing the Buttermere turn on your right. Unless you’ve eaten elsewhere, head towards Newhouse Farm for a proper feed before the next climb.

8. Double back to the tiny lane signposted to Hopebeck. This is one of the most beautiful roads anywhere on Earth. If you’ve refuelled enough, you’ll enjoy the gently rising traverse across the flank of Whiteside. If it’s clear, the Galloway Hills will levitate over the Solway Firth and the gentle pastures of the Vale of Lorton. Join the main Whinlatter Road and climb to the forest centre for the fast descent into Braithwaite.

9. Dodge the A66 with narrow lanes through Portinscale into Keswick. Climb out of Keswick on the narrow, suburban Ambleside Road. Turn right on the A591 (don’t worry, you won’t be on the busy road for long) and follow it over the flank to descend into St John’s Vale.

10. Turn right onto the narrow road along the western side of Thirlmere. Follow this through forests and rejoin the A-road at the southern end. The climb to Dunmail Raise is mercifully short. Whizz down to Grasmere and turn through the village.

11. Leave on the Red Bank Road and, with the last few calories left in your soul, crank up the 1 in 4 gradient to the Youth Hostel. Take the right fork for the short drop back to Elterwater and the car.




Click below for gpx file

Now book a bikecation vacation below with Booking.com

Kirkstone and Shap

Kirkstone & Shap

Route Information

Stats:  53 miles and 3850 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

Wilf’s cafe at Staveley, Mortal Man at Troutbeck, Brotherswater Inn, Patterdale Hotel, Granny Dowbekin’s Tea Rooms at Pooley Bridge.

Character

A grand loop patrolling the perimeter of Wainwright’s Far Eastern Fells, with two good-value pulls and some beautiful scenery. You’ll probably know the delights of Kirkstone and Ullswater but, if you’ve only ever crossed Shap by motorway, you’ll be surprised how enjoyable is the descent into Longsleddale.


Route

1. Start in Staveley, heading west. Join the A591 and go west for a mile, turning right as you leave Ings (signposted to High Borrans)

2. Switchback across the flank of Sour Howes, with beautiful views across the Rothay valley to the Coniston and Langdale fells.

3. Turn right on the A592 and follow this up the Troutbeck valley, over Kirkstone and down to Brotherswater, Patterdale and the shores of Ullswater.

4. At the end of the lake, turn right to Pooley Bridge on the B5320.

5. Where the road veers left, turn right to Celleron and Askham.

6. Go south through Askham and Butterwick, then turn right in Bampton, over the humpback bridge signposted to Haweswater and Mardale.

7. Swing round to the left, ignoring the right turn to Burnbanks. After the bridge across the Haweswater outflow, turn left at an unsigned staggered junction.

8. Keep contouring the flanks of the fells, sticking to the lane until you meet the A6.

9. Follow the A6 down through glorious, sinuous curves until you see a hard right turn signposted to Longsleddale. Take it.

10. At the bottom, turn left over the River Sprint at Garnett Bridge, signposted to Burneside. If you start to feel a nostalgic familiarity with the landscape around you, this isn’t an accident; Longsleddale was the inspiration for Postman Pat’s Greendale.

11. After a slight climb, turn right into Potter Fell Road. This isn’t signed but there’s a stone-posted gate on the left and a 6’6″ sign coming the other way.

12. At the end, turn hard right by a mossy wall and a stream overhung by trees. By now, you should be able to smell the jacket potatoes baking at Wilf’s so get yourself carbed up.




click below for gpx file