Low Wray & Tarn Hows

Route Information

Stats:  11 miles and 1370 feet of ascent

OS Map:


Ice creams at Tarn Hows car park, and toilets at that location. Drunken Duck pub is also a good venue if required. However, nearby Ambleside and Hawkshead have all you need.


This is either an ideal morning / evening spin for you or a more challenging family ride for the youngsters. Whilst short in miles it makes up for it in the ascents, with steep prolonged climbing and some serious descending on narrow twisting country lanes. A great little ride for warming up your Lake District legs on arrival for a few days cycling.


1. From Wray Castle turn right onto the narrow lane and twist your way down to the junction with the B5286. Turn right towards Ambleside and ride easily along, passing Pullwood Bay estate gatehouse on the right just before a junction on the left signed for ‘Coniston / Tarn Hows’.

2. Take this turning left and climb steeply on the narrow lane as it ascends guided by hedgerows, trees and drystone walls with great views across the surrounding countryside.

3. Pass through the crossroads by the Drunken Duck Public House and continue upwards towards Tarn Hows. This narrow lane passes through the tiny hamlet of Nipe Fold with its neat white washed cottages and reaches a signed junction where the road bends and climbs right – signed ‘Tarn Hows’ . Take this climb and continue upwards.

4. The road narrows and climbs more steeply, reaching a series of junctions left and right amidst the wooded fells. Take the junction right signed ‘Tarn Hows’. This is where we’re heading and there’s more climbing to be done!

5. A cattle grid is crossed as you reach the summit and the road eventually opens up with expansive views across to the Langdales. Tarn Hows comes into view and a car park to the left inidacates the toilets and ice creams if required.

(note: If you fancy a mixed route, there’s a great bridleway from the car park, dropping through trees to Coniston)

6. For those on the roadie route take the twisting descent to the B5285, taking care on the tight bends and loose gravel. Good brakes and care are required on this potentially tricky descent.

7. At the bottom of this testing descent is the junction with the B5286. Turn left and climb up to Hawkshead Hill, then dropping down steeply to the junction on the right signed back to ‘Low Wray’.
If you’ve got time, take another loop in! Alternatively cycle on into Ambleside for a brew – job done.

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