Rivington Pike, Lancashire
Stats: 7.3 miles and 1985 feet of ascent
OS Map: Refreshments
Occasional ice-cream van at the car park at the furthest-north point.
Lord Leverhulme bequeathed this rambling area of woodland, rhododendrons, quarries and follies to the good people of Bolton (and I’m given to understand there are a few) in Edwardian times. It is now a vast playground for picnicking families courting couples and, of course, anyone who still likes playing out on bikes. And that means you.
Rivington’s particularly good for an evening ride to shake off the frustrations of the working day and watch the sun dip over the Fylde coast. The view from up here can be stunning – this panorama is from the slightly higher Winter Hill just over the moor. Or come on a crisp winter’s night with your lights blazing. All of the tracks are stone-based, making for all-weather fun. Of the descents shown, the short drop south off the Pike is a pleasant set of rocky drop-offs followed by a fast, rut-dodging rattle. The one from George’s Lane alongside Wilderswood is fast and swoopy. But the descent of Belmont Road (don’t be misled by the suburban-sounding name) from the Pigeon Tower is one of the great test-pieces anywhere – worthy of comparison with the Beast of Hope Cross. Don’t even contemplate going home without rattling your brains out down there…
In keeping with the feeling of the place and its density of bridleways and byways, we’ve shown a suggested itinerary but will omit a turn-by-turn description. Just stay off the footpaths, OK?