Lake District Epic

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!

Elterwater Independent Hostel

We want to help you to get back to what riding is all about -adventure. In the first of a new series of blogs, we’re visiting Elterwater Hostel in the English Lake District, to show you some amazing mountain bike routes from the door.

Hungary Bikecation 2018

HUNGARY BIKECATION IMAGES 2018


Images by Erika Kaiser for Ride Hard Hungary


Ale Summer Sunset Ladies Kit

Whitendale

Whitendale, Lancashire

Route Information

Stats:  6.5 miles

OS Map: Refreshments

Dunsop Bridge features a car park, toilets and Puddleducks cafe. If you have kids in the party, there’ll be plenty of time for a relaxed sit by the river feeding the ducks with duck food thoughtfully provided by the cafe.

Character

This is an ideal ride for a young family where the smaller members of the party can stretch their legs on tarmac but with negligible traffic. Consequently, we’ve listed it as both a road and MTB route but there’s no law against you doing it on a hybrid, a shopper or a penny farthing if that’s what takes your fancy.

If you need a USP to persuade the kids, bill this as a Journey to the Centre of the Earth. OK, a journey to the centre of the UK, anyway. If you cut out a map of the United Kingdom from plywood, the point of balance is Brennand Farm, our furthest point. Don’t listen to any Southerners who claim that Meriden, or Bedford are at the centre of things – Lancashire is where it all hinges.


Route

Straightforward from mapping




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Waddington Fell

Waddington Fell, Lancashire

Route Information

Stats:  10.5 miles and 1450 feet of ascent

OS Map: Refreshments

Pubs in Waddington, West Bradford and Grindleton.

Character

A pleasant double loop on the south-facing flank of Waddington Fell. It’s nowhere difficult, and either loop could be tackled individually. The turf can be soft at the top.


Route

1. Find somewhere out-of-the-way to park in West Bradford. Trundle along to Grindleton on the minor road and set off on the long climb up Main Street.

2. At the 181m spot-height, the main road veers right, with a curiously staggered signpost pointing to Slaidburn. Go straight ahead onto the minor lane.

3. At the bridleway sign, turn left. Cross a broken wall on your left and descend parallel to the valley.

4. At the T-junction at White Hall, turn right at a large house with a statue in a fountain. Descend pleasantly to the Grindleton-West Bradford Road again.

5. Turn right at the bottom and, as you go through West Bradford, turn right into Eaves Hall Lane which turns into Moor Lane as it climbs. You’ll soon come to a big sign announcing Seedall’s Farm – Bridleway only and the tarmac ends so the climbing gets a bit more interesting.

6. Ignore the footpath turning right and turn right at the top where the bridleway veers at 295 m.

7. Follow this line for two fields-worth, then turn right at an unmarked spot with marshy ground ahead and a ruin up on your left. Soon, you’ll see another ruin (photograph above) with a splendid view of Pendle Hill and bags of Bronte-esque atmosphere. Soon after, the trail dinks down to the left then zags sharply right.

8. The trail is indistinct on the ground but the key is to zag slightly more than you zigged. Cross the stream and follow a faint field boundary heading south-east. This soon becomes a strong track.

9. At the bottom, turn right on the road then look out for the bridleway sign forking away on the right. This is faint, gaining a slight causeway for a while. When the houses come into view, bear right and plunge down a fast, grassy slope to the start.




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Thieveley Pike

Thieveley Pike, Lancashire

Route Information

Stats:  11 miles and 1250 feet of ascent

OS Map: Refreshments

Todmorden and nearby Hebden Bridge would be our choices.

Character

This short excursion into the wild lands between Yorkshire and Lancashire includes two deliciously overstated place names. Anyone expecting Thieveley Pike to be a soaring pinnacle will be disappointed, just as a prior visitor to the Verdon will question whether the Cliviger valley really counts as a “gorge.” But context is all and it is certainly a dramatic cleft, in Pennine terms. The Pike is an unassuming swell of moor rendered dramatic by the crenelated edge overlooking the gorge.


Route

1. Ride south-east on the A646 to Cornholme.

2. Just as you enter the village, fork right into Carr Road. Climb for about 2 miles to a moorland plateau.

3. Double back to the right on Flower Scar Road. This climbs up the moor but we fork left onto a sketchy trail across the north-facing flank.

4. At places, there is just a series of short posts (in varied colours of blue, yellow and white) to guide you. Look out, too, for incongruous interpretation boards for the Todmorden Moor Geology Trail and some industrial history of the mining activity here. The distinctive buildings down on your left are part of an observatory.

5. Drop to the A681 Bacup road and climb briefly to the right.

6. When the road dinks left and drops, turn right towards the less-than-scenic landfill site.

7. Turn left near the power lines, towards a remote farmstead. Follow this line for a mile or so.

8. Climb up to the right to gain the trig point at Thieveley Pike. Follow the watershed to the A671 Burnley Road.

9. Follow the new bridleway alongside the road, ignoring the track flanking the moor on your right.

10. Instead, take the lower track towards the even-more-remote farm at Cow Side but bypass this on the left.

11. Drop on grass from the Mary Towneley memorial, noting the ingenious fencing to keep your front wheel out of the rabbit-hole traps.

12. Zig-zag down to the right, crossing the railway to Holme Chapel.

13. Turn right to regain the start point.




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Salter Road

Salter Road, Lancashire

Route Information

Stats:  17 miles and 2100 feet of ascent

OS Map: Refreshments

Nothing. Not so much as a baked bean. The raison d’etre of this route is to get away from all that commercial, Starbucked razzle-dazzle. Chances are you’ll not see anyone else on the whole ride, so make sure you’re kitted out.

Character

The Salter Road is a grand high-level crossing of the Bowland Fells. It can be done as part of a longer loop but it’s good value as an out-and-back as well. The route is described from the Roeburndale side but you could just as well come at it from the south. It makes an ideal outing for a summer’s evening, when the softly dipping moorland light washes away the day’s cares. Be careful in winter as you’ll be spending a long stretch above 1000′ with no escape routes and shouting “Help!” will summon nothing but slavering wolves.

image by Jon Sparks


Route

Once you’re on the road, it’s a piece of duff to follow. Stay straight as the Romans before you and don’t venture into the seas of heather to either side.

Bonus Start/Finish: From Claughton, you can climb up to the wind farm on Caton Moor, then take the big zigzag via Haylot Farm to get to Lower Salter. This adds 10 miles and another 1,000 feet of ascent.




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Rivington Pike

Rivington Pike, Lancashire

Route Information

Stats:  7.3 miles and 1985 feet of ascent

OS Map: Refreshments

Occasional ice-cream van at the car park at the furthest-north point.

Character

Lord Leverhulme bequeathed this rambling area of woodland, rhododendrons, quarries and follies to the good people of Bolton (and I’m given to understand there are a few) in Edwardian times. It is now a vast playground for picnicking families courting couples and, of course, anyone who still likes playing out on bikes. And that means you.


Route

Rivington’s particularly good for an evening ride to shake off the frustrations of the working day and watch the sun dip over the Fylde coast. The view from up here can be stunning – this panorama is from the slightly higher Winter Hill just over the moor. Or come on a crisp winter’s night with your lights blazing. All of the tracks are stone-based, making for all-weather fun. Of the descents shown, the short drop south off the Pike is a pleasant set of rocky drop-offs followed by a fast, rut-dodging rattle. The one from George’s Lane alongside Wilderswood is fast and swoopy. But the descent of Belmont Road (don’t be misled by the suburban-sounding name) from the Pigeon Tower is one of the great test-pieces anywhere – worthy of comparison with the Beast of Hope Cross. Don’t even contemplate going home without rattling your brains out down there…

In keeping with the feeling of the place and its density of bridleways and byways, we’ve shown a suggested itinerary but will omit a turn-by-turn description. Just stay off the footpaths, OK?




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Pendle Hill Circumnavigation

Pendle Circumnavigation, Lancashire

Route Information

Stats:  19 miles and 1950 feet of ascent

OS Map: Refreshments

Shop in Sabden, toilets in Newchurch and Barley, pubs in all the villages.

Character

A great tour around the rim of Lancashire’s great whale-back. There are long stretches of tarmac but this matters little as the landscape is beautiful and the lanes quiet. A longer loop could be made including a detour into Ogden Clough.

Two snippets of autobiographical detail – Pendle has become a bit of an obsession, even inspiring the co-writing of a whole book. The other is the verb “circumnavigate.” It’s more than just a pompous way of saying “go around”. When we were kids, we didn’t just go for walks “around” Buttermere, Wastwater or Derwentwater; we circumnavigated them. The distinction was crucial, making us mini-Magellans on perilous adventures. So shall it always be…


Route

1. Set off North-eastwards along the wood-lined lane through pleasant pastures to Sabden.

2. Turn left up the hill and climb with vigour until you see a fingerpost sign heading right. Look for the words “Concessionary Bridleway” – this is your passport and trumps the older “No cycling” sign.

3. Follow the bridleway on a contouring line until another fingerpost sends you steeply down to the right.

4. Join a lane and cross a stream, climbing up and to the left to gain a high terrace, mostly tarmac, that leads past New York Farm and on to Sabden Fold. It ends with a bridleway sign pointing right but disregard this.

5. Turn left at the end and climb steeply across the shoulder of Pendle, through Newchurch and plummet down to Barley.

6. Fork right where the road veers left in the village (another concessionary bridle path sign), and follow the lane down to the reservoir. Turn left here and follow this round to the right and down to the road.

7. Turn left and follow tarmac, going straight on at the atmospheric crossroads of Annel Cross – where Robert Johnson would have come to sell his soul to the Devil if he’d been born a Lancastrian. Now descend into the charming village of Downham.

8. Before you cross the bridge, turn hard left into a quiet lane, signposted to a car park. Snake up and right, past the caravan park, turning left at the signpost to Little Mearley Hall.

9. Gain another contouring terrace-line and follow this unerringly to the Pendle Nick road.

10. Turn left and climb (more vigour required) up and over the Nick, looking out for a bridleway
turning right, only 100 m after the summit.

11. Follow this track, descending gradually to the foot of the ridge and a left turn to regain the car.




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