Gatesgarth & Nan Bield Pass

Route Information

Stats: 20 miles and 3818 feet of ascent (and descent)

OS Map:


Start at Wilfs cafe at Staveley (post code LA8 9LR) You can park in the large car park there and if you fancy grab a bite to eat and coffee before you set off. If you fancy something stronger on your return, Hawkshead Brewery is next door and sells wonderful ale.


This route is not for the feint hearted. It includes two big ascents, one over Gatesgarth, on a track but very few have cleared it. It is steep and relentless for 3.4 miles. The second is a hike a bike up Nan Bield pass. There are also two fabulous descents, the first loose, fast with tight turns. The second is steep, technical tight switchbacks for the first half a mile then mellows into a fabulous bridleway descent down the valley of Kentmere. Technical in parts, with single track and grassy slopes for another mile and a half, resulting in big smiles all round. The route finishes off mainly on the road back to Staveley.


1. Turn immediately right out of the car park along the road north which leads down an alley and back onto the tarmac road.

2. First right over the bridge after 0.4 mile , up Hall Lane until it turns into a bridleway at a gate in approximately 2.2 miles.

3. Follow the bridleway through a second gate into open hillside. Bearing NNW for approximately 800 metres take the bridleway to your right bearing NW at 022472.

4. The bridleway takes you across the open hill side for 2 miles.

5. At the gate turn left, follow river on bridleway for just over 1 mile to the track. Take a right on the track to meet the road. Turn left for half a mile to Sadgill.

6. At Sadgill continue straight up the valley for 3.4 miles to teh summit of Gatesgarth Pass.

7. At the summit of Gatesgarth continue straight down to Haweswater, over 1000 ft of descent.

8. Before the car park at Haweswater, take bridleway SE, ascent is 1.7 miles, over 1000ft to the summit of Nan Bield. Half way up bear right on the bridleway round the tarn.

9. At the summit of Nan Bield ignore the paths left and right, continue straight to start the decent to Kentmere for 1 1/2 miles, drop 1500 ft.

10. Meet the road at Overend, take bridleway on your right through the gate rather than up the road. Follow bridleway for approx half a mile to join the road.

11. Turn right at the road, after approximately 300m ignore the turning to the right and follow the lane as it bears left up a short climb and then immediately round to the right.

12. After another 500m you will come to a T junction, turn left here and follow the lane for the last 4 miles back through Kentmere back to Staveley.

click below for gpx files