Stats: 13 miles and 2,840 feet of ascent
The Blacksmith’s Arms at the start or The Newfield Inn at Seathwaite.
Short but stunningly sweet. Three descents that all rank among the finest in the Lakes.
Start Point: There’s an honesty-box car park at Broughton Mills reading room.
1. Set off down the valley, forking right at Lane End.
2. Turn right at Croglinhurst and climb on tarmac past Wood House, then sharp left at the fork at 90m (the straight-on option is signposted Hawes. No, not that Hawes.)
3. Go through Pickthall Ground and attain high pastures overlooking the Duddon Valley.
4. Look out for a left-right dink then, not long after, the track reaches a streambed that may well be dry.
5. Instead of crossing the streambed, turn right and follow the true right bank on singletrack. This leads down to a rocky gulch with much mining spoil in evidence. The track is technical and reasonably high-consequence, with a substantial plummet from the miners’ revetment if you falter. Try not to do that. When you get down to the road and look what you just descended, you won’t believe how steep and rocky it looks.
6. Pedal north on tarmac until you’re nearly at the small Primary School, turning right on the bridleway. Climb steeply then cross a high moor to gain the road pass of Kiln Bank Cross.
7. Continue on the same easterly bearing, up a short, stabby climb to a crossroads of bridleways. Turn left here.
8. Plunge with increasing levels of danger and delight to the Newfield Inn.
9. Head north on the road to the Walna Scar road. Turn right here and right at the next fork.
10. Climb steeply to the gate at 420 m and turn right onto singletrack following the wall through old mine workings.
11. The track becomes sketchy but keep a broadly SSW bearing and head towards the coniferous forests of the Lickle Valley. From nowhere, the track becomes highly defined and well gravelled, but don’t get too comfortable. You should avoid getting fooled into the technically dull and legally dubious track over Natty Bridge and instead turn right at 335m onto a fine piece of technical singletrack shadowing the Lickle’s true right bank.
12. From Stephenson Ground, it is possible to get some more off-road by feinting NW from the road and cutting through Jackson Ground and Carter Ground. Or, if you feel you’ve been spoiled enough, enjoy a leisurely tarmac descent over Water Yeat and Hawk Bridges, bearing right at the fork to return to Broughton Mills.
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