Stats: 13 miles
Garstang is a great local town, small but friendly with good options.
This is my staple ride from home so I guess I’m a tad biased. But, even after countless circuits, it’s a lovely jaunt when you can only get out for an hour on a Sunday morning. Better yet, on a summer’s evening, you’ll ride back up into the sun when the shadows have already settled on the coastal plain, giving the day a magical second wind. Come in March or April for the curlews and the lapwings. I’ve seen roe deer in the woods and, once, a red kite perched nonchalantly on top of one of the taller beeches.
Start Point: There’s a council car park at PR3 1EB (Grid Ref SD 493 454)
1. Turn right at the mini roundabout and head north on the Lancaster Road for about ½mile, taking care not the exceed the 20mph limits.
2. Turn right at a pillar box into Wyre Lane. Follow this right to the end where you can choose between the ford (legal bridleway) and the footbridge (not so much) . Pick up the farm track skirting the river to the right.
3. At the farm junction, turn right through the farmyard and join the road at a duck pond, climbing gently over the M6 flyover. The racket of the traffic is soon left behind, and you’ll turn left into Keeper’s Lane, then left again into Higher Lane. Go over a tiny ford (more often dry) then take the right turn onto bridleway.
4. Follow this up the valley with increasing interest, past the reservoir and onto farmland. Ignore the concessionary path on your right.
5. When you reach the public road, ignore it and turn right towards Fell End Farm. Just before the farm, turn right onto their farm “bypass” – through a gate and sloping up through the field to regain the track. Follow this, climbing steadily. When it gets sketchy, contour until you can see a short swoop down to a beck. Head up to the road and turn right.
6. After a mile and a half of southbound tarmac, including a climb out of the hamlet of Oakenclough, turn right onto concessionary bridleway. The views from here are impressive. On a clear day they stretch round from Snowdon to Snaefell. Even if it’s a bit hazy, you’ll see Blackpool Tower wafting a roller-coaster out like a gymnast’s ribbon, and the impressive 126m-tall wind turbine at Dewlay’s cheese factory will be churning out the Garstang Blue. Rattle down through a couple of gates then turn right.
7. Drop down an entertaining track into the shy valley of Calder Vale, then leave on tarmac. Turn left onto Strickens Lane and follow road signs back to Garstang.
8. If you don’t know Garstang, you’ll need to loop clockwise round the one-way system to get back to the FIG.