Holcombe Moor, Lancashire
Stats: 12 miles and 1200 feet of ascent
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.
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.
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.