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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Nappa Flats

Nappa Flats, Lancashire

Route Information

Stats:  7.2 miles and 540 feet of ascent

OS Map: Refreshments

Try the Buck Inn at Paythorne, where the route starts and finishes.

Character

A pastoral circuit of Lancashire’s Far East, with a brief skirmish into Yorkshire territory. The distinguishing features of this ride are captured in the two photos: rich hay meadows and a sporting crossing of the Ribble at Nappa Flats.

The terrain is generally easy but be prepared to navigate through unsigned territory and don’t expect to cross the stepping stones dryshod unless it hasn’t rained for thirty days straight or you are Danny MacAskill.


Route

1. There’s plenty of space opposite the Buck. Take the Pennine Bridleway eastwards, but go straight on where it veers 90 degrees to the left.

2. As you near England’s Head farm, turn left through the “Private Road” gate (the small gate at its side has a bridleway sign)

3. Keep to this line across several fields, passing to the right of the whitewashed buildings of Nappa Flats farm.

4. Drop down to the stepping stones and teeter across as best you can.

5. Go up the lane to the A682. Ignore the tempting looking track going straight on and turn right for 200m before turning left on bridleway.

6. Climb steeply from under the railway bridge on soft-going turf (Cow Gate Lane) The gradient soon eases to a grassy plateau.

7. On your left is a wooden repair to a stone wall that looks a bit like a double seat. At this gate, head towards Pendle Hill across a hay meadow (picture below).

8. Pick up a good lane and follow it SW to Hoober and down to the road.

9. Turn right on the road and follow it for 500m until there’s a bridleway (horse’s head sign) just after the road veers right.

10. Go through Painley Farm then, when the track gives out, cross pasture land heading for a railway bridge.

11. Go under the bridge. You should now see the A682 and your next bearing is the prominent bridleway coming down from the small hill in front.

12. At the road, turn north along the A682 (Pennine Bridleway sign). After a kilometre shadowing the road, veer left up a slight rise to a gate by the wooded tumulus of Castle Haugh.

13. Trundle north, overlooking the meanders of the Ribble, dropping down through woods to Paythorne Bridge and a short road climb back to the Buck.




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Lune Estuary

Lune Estuary Family Route, Lancashire

Route Information

Stats:  9.5 miles

OS Map: Refreshments

Cafe d’Lune at Conder Green at the start. Tel: 01524 752048 for opening hours. Sizeable car park has toilets. Lots of facilities in Lancaster at the furthest point.

Character

An ideal outing for small families at the tag-along or just-past-stabilisers stages. There and back for no navigation issues, a good surface throughout (which makes it suitable for MTB, hybid or reasonably robust road tyres) and, as it’s an old railway track, no climbing. This route is good for bird-watching, skirting the sands of the estuary. If you’re lucky with the turning of the tides, you’ll see fishermen setting huge nets across the river, sihouetted against the sparkling light like a scene from another century.


Route

The only part worthy of description is finding the start. There’s a car park tucked down Corricks Lane leading in front of the Stork Inn at Conder Green. Post code, for satnavvers, is LA2 0AN. Once on the trail, keep to the coastline and go as far as you like. You can join this route up with the continuation of the same railway line to Caton and Crook of Lune.




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Longridge Slopes MTB

Longridge Slopes MTB, Lancashire

Route Information

Stats:  17 miles and 1300 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

There’s the Newdrop Inn on Higher Road, then numerous swanky-looking pubs in Hurst Green and Ribchester.

Character

This is one of those rides for which the map offers little promise, yet proves a delight under the tyres. There’s huge variety, from silent forest to hidden dell to rolling riverbank. All of this is tucked away just five miles outside Preston yet feels deeply rural.

The ride is tilted on a great south-facing plane where the wooded slopes of Longridge Fell slide down to the meandering banks of the Ribble. There are a couple of sections where map-reading skills are called upon but most of it is straightforward.

One word of caution; the forest ride off the Fell can be an execrable squelchfest after any appreciable dosage of rain. This loop could be omitted and the ride would still preserve its charm, albeit docked of 3 miles and 460 feet in the all-important athletic metrics.


Route

1. Start by dropping through an incongruous development of holiday homes. There is a bridleway marker. As you look back over your left shoulder, you’ll see an even-more-incongruous crag overhanging the houses, and a fishing pond at the bottom. The bridleway soon turns into a beautiful, swoopy, sunken singletrack and that’s it – you’re transported from all the grot and grime of commerce into the countryside proper.

2. At the bottom, turn left (at a place called Written Stone) through Cottam House Farm and turn left alongside a small stream. This turn is signposted as a footpath but the good people of the Ordnance Survey (and the hoofprints underneath your tyres) should tell you you’re legit. Up to the right you should see a huge treehouse (April 2012).

3. Head up to the road on a short, grassy pull and turn right. Sharp-eyed map-readers will spot that you could get here a deal quicker by road but not as scenically.

4. The next section of tarmac, however, is unavoidable. Fortunately, the views to Pendle Hill, Darwen Tower and Winter Hill are more-than-adequate compensation and the lane is quiet. Go straight on at the Newdrop Inn and keep going until you see the forest access at Tilhill on your left.

5. Turn left and climb on forest road, zagging first left then right, contouring below the ridge. Look out for a forest ride heading down with a blue bridleway sign and take it when you see it. This ride can be distinctly moist if rain has fallen in living memory, but you’ll soon break out into open fields. Bear slightly left, heading towards Chilsey Green farmhouse, on the far side of the road.

6. Turn right at the road and ignore the left turn to Hurst Green as you’re going by a far more interesting route. Keep your eyes open for the bridleway on the left to Crowshaw House – the fingerpost is on the opposite side of the road.

7. Follow the lane down, curving round a small pond to a beautiful gorse-filled dell, with dense forest on your left. After Greengore, the main track veers right but go straight ahead for some lovely singletrack dropping into the wooded ravine of Dean Brook. This brings you out into the charming village of Hurst Green. Turn right, past the imposing almshouses and the Bayley Arms, to the main Preston-Whalley road (B6243). Turn right and then immediately left down Lambing Clough Lane along the side of the Shireburn Arms.

8. Swoop down, forking very slightly right to avoid imposing at the homestead of Lambing Clough itself. At the bottom, go through the farmyard at Trough House (and turn right where you see the WAA parking sign). The Ribble Way goes slightly left over a stile here, but cyclists are obliged to head off, following a field boundary parallel to the river.

9. Cross Starling Brook on a tiny footbridge and keep to tussocky fields, rising slightly to the right-hand of two houses (Hey Hurst). Turn right up the lane.

10. This is the tricky bit. After 400m of lane, there’s a field opening on the left with neither signage nor evidence on the ground. But, trust me, this is a bridleway. Set off boldly south-west, passing under a line of small electricity poles and heading for a tiny hidden bridge and gate over a stream. Once you’ve found these, you’re OK because there’s now a line of distinctive white arrows pointing the way as far as Dewhurst House.

11. Head downriver to the elegant bridge at Little Town and ride into the ancient Roman settlement of Ribchester. Bear left down Greenside and past the antiquities, picking up signs for the Ribble Way. This is mostly on farm track but includes a short section of rooty singletrack around a wooded meander.

12. Turn right just after the impressive edifice of Hothersall Hall, up a lane made of parallel concrete tracks. This turns to grass where it levels out, trending right under National Grid pylons to Ox Hey.

13. Follow an easy lane, then roads, towards Longridge but turn right at the end of the double reservoir to pick up the bridleway back to the start.




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Holcombe Moor MTB

Holcombe Moor, Lancashire

Route Information

Stats:  12 miles and 1200 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

Try the Shoulder of Mutton. It’s claim to fame is as one of the first targets of aerial bombardment in history. On 25th September 1916, regulars took shelter in the cellar while a passing Zepellin dropped bombs. It is not known to Pedal North exactly what the pub had done to upset the Kaiser.

Character

Be not afear’d; contrary to appearances, we’ve not abandoned our northern focus to invade the sunken lanes of Devon. Although the name Holcombe conjures images of cream teas and beers inexplicably lacking a head, the village is as northern as a bath full of coal, perched high above Ramsbottom with views stretching across Greater Manchester to the Peak District and Clwydian hills beyond. The going is generally level but elevated, making it an ideal excursion for a sticky summer’s evening when you want to catch an upland breeze but don’t fancy a big haul to get there. Be aware of potential restrictions at the army ranges – riding past a red flag could end with your head getting blown off as cycling helmets are rarely certified AK47-proof.


Route

The bridleway skirts the eastern and southwestern flanks of the broadly elliptical moor, with its distinctive tower dedicated to Bury’s pioneer policeman, Sir Robert Peel. You could turn our route into a loop but why insert an artificial tarmac section that wouldn’t be as good as simple retracing? The going is generally level and easy apart from a couple of steppy sections at the double crossing of Holcombe Brook. That caveat observed, it makes a suitable ride for youngsters.

Take your pick as to which leg you do first. Both leave the B6214 opposite the pub. The route-finding is straightforward, taking a broadly contouring line.




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