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Pateley Bridge to How Stean Gorge

Pateley Bridge to How Stean Gorge

Route Information

Stats: 14 miles and  750 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

Pateley Bridge has ample facilities and some of the best steak pies in England! How Stean Gorge is a mecca for cyclists in the know and a great halfway halt for tea and cake or a meal.

Character

This is a great little family ride on excellent country lanes with spectacular scenery. Gentle climbs will test the younger members of the family and thrill them with the descents. You can make this route longer by adding the reservoir road from Lofthouse to Scar House.

Start Point: Starting from Pateley Bridge, park in the main car park by the bridge, heading out along the valley towards Lofthouse. Alternatively, if camping near Lofthouse, simply reverse the route.


Route

1. Starting from the car park by the bridge, exit it and turn left then immediately right after the park and by the garage. This road is followed all the way to Lofthouse, passing alongside Gouthwaite Reservoir and through Ramsgill.

2. Halfway along the road that adjoins the reservoir a car park and picnic area is seen to the left. This is a good spot for a stop and snack.

3. Continue to Ramsgill, with a short climb which leads to a descent into the village. Over the small bridge and onto Lofthouse, with a testing climb before reaching Lofthouse.

4. Pass through Lofthouse and continue as the road bends around towards Middlesmoor. At a sharp right hand bend at the base of the steep climb, a road sign indicates ‘Stean’ to the left over a small bridge that crosses the river Nidd.

5. Take this left hand turning and ride to How Stean Gorge, with a steep final climb before the descent to tea and cake.
Now reverse the route back to Pateley Bridge.
Additional Miles

For those youngsters with some more miles in the legs, the route to Scar House Reservoir is a good addition.




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Whitendale

Whitendale, Lancashire

Route Information

Stats:  6.5 miles

OS Map: Refreshments

Dunsop Bridge features a car park, toilets and Puddleducks cafe. If you have kids in the party, there’ll be plenty of time for a relaxed sit by the river feeding the ducks with duck food thoughtfully provided by the cafe.

Character

This is an ideal ride for a young family where the smaller members of the party can stretch their legs on tarmac but with negligible traffic. Consequently, we’ve listed it as both a road and MTB route but there’s no law against you doing it on a hybrid, a shopper or a penny farthing if that’s what takes your fancy.

If you need a USP to persuade the kids, bill this as a Journey to the Centre of the Earth. OK, a journey to the centre of the UK, anyway. If you cut out a map of the United Kingdom from plywood, the point of balance is Brennand Farm, our furthest point. Don’t listen to any Southerners who claim that Meriden, or Bedford are at the centre of things – Lancashire is where it all hinges.


Route

Straightforward from mapping




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Lune Estuary

Lune Estuary Family Route, Lancashire

Route Information

Stats:  9.5 miles

OS Map: Refreshments

Cafe d’Lune at Conder Green at the start. Tel: 01524 752048 for opening hours. Sizeable car park has toilets. Lots of facilities in Lancaster at the furthest point.

Character

An ideal outing for small families at the tag-along or just-past-stabilisers stages. There and back for no navigation issues, a good surface throughout (which makes it suitable for MTB, hybid or reasonably robust road tyres) and, as it’s an old railway track, no climbing. This route is good for bird-watching, skirting the sands of the estuary. If you’re lucky with the turning of the tides, you’ll see fishermen setting huge nets across the river, sihouetted against the sparkling light like a scene from another century.


Route

The only part worthy of description is finding the start. There’s a car park tucked down Corricks Lane leading in front of the Stork Inn at Conder Green. Post code, for satnavvers, is LA2 0AN. Once on the trail, keep to the coastline and go as far as you like. You can join this route up with the continuation of the same railway line to Caton and Crook of Lune.




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Crook of Lune

Crook of Lune, Lancashire

Route Information

Stats:  10 miles

OS Map:

Refreshments

In Lancaster, try the Whale Tail cafe or the Juicafe for a laid-back atmosphere.

Character

Family-friendly pootling along a pleasant, level trail set in magnificent riverside woodland. Do as an out-and-back for maximum flexibility or chain together with the Lune Estuary ride or the Salter Road for a much longer outing.

Start point: Choose from Lancaster city centre, Denny Beck Bridge car park, Caton or Bull Beck car park.


Route

Turn-by-turn description would be obtiose – just follow the obvious trail until you’ve half-had enough. Instead, here’s a nice image …




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Abbey Village MTB

Abbey Village, Lancashire

Route Information

Stats: 3.5 miles and 350 feet (family ride)

OS Map:

Refreshments

If you’re prone to extreme thirst, there’s the Hare and Hounds pub at the start/finish or The Royal Arms halfway round, slightly off-route.

Character

A pleasant bimble through woods along a chain of three reservoirs. Makes a gentle evening excursion or an outing with youngsters (though you might be better returning through the woods and avoiding the A675 in that case)


Route

1. There’s ample parking at the Hare and Hounds if you’re a patron, or in Dole Lane if you’re not. Set off along the obvious track, skirting the first reservoir.

2. Loop around the back of Rake Cottage, then cross a small wooden bridge.

3. Cross the dam of Lower Roddlesworth Reservoir and then keep skirting the waters, heading
upstream through pleasant woods.

4. At a small bridge, with signage ahead to “Slipper Lowe Car Park”, turn right. The Royal Arms is up above the woods to the left.

5. Follow Roddlesworth Lane down to the A675 and back to the start.




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South Downs Expressway

South Downs Expressway

Route Information

Stats: 14 mile / 1430ft

OS Map:

Refreshments

Start point is a carpark on the South Downs Ways at Washington but you could easily start this ride on top of the South Downs way at either Kithurst or Chantry carparks and adjust the route to suit. Accesses to these are from Storrington so check out your OS Maps beforehand. Once you reach the bottom of Amberley mount and follow the route towards the river, there are superb riverside tea-rooms and two excellent pubs to enjoy a mid-ride lunch and drink.


Character

One of my favourite sections of the South Downs Way dominates this ride. Regardless of how fast you want to go, the trail just keeps you rolling almost effortlessly in either direction once you are on top. Wide open views of rolling green hills and sea surround you as the chalk rumbles underneath the rubber. The perfect cruise of a ride, for those looking to get some fresh air and enjoy a pub lunch or tea room riverside at Amberley


Route

1. Starting at the Washington car park right on the South Downs Way (SDW), take care in crossing the A24 and follow the SDW signs west, up the steep road climb that converts into the SDW off-road trail just as you settle into your rhythm

2. Continuing the climb on the SDW, which is now a gradual trek compared to the initial yank, towards the large barn on top of Sullington and Chantry hill

3. Once past the barn continue west on the SDW and enjoy this undulating and flowing section of this chalk n flinty highway for a coupe miles. Once through the patch of trees just past Springhead Hill, take the right-hand fork that keeps you dialled into the SDW towards Amberley

4. Keep your flow as the SDW treats you to more flow before delivering you on top of Amberley Mount. Make sure you take in the views across the river Arun at the gate, before the fast, but wide open short descent off the Mount

5. Once down from the Mount bare right and continue to follow the SDW signs

6. It’ll spit you onto the B2139 at a T-junction where you are turning left and following the road past the chalk pit museum towards the train station and your potential rest stop riverside at the teas rooms or pub

7. Once refuelled, the return leg begins and rather than the tortuous climb back up Amberley Mount this ride takes you South towards North Stoke and brings you back on top via a gravel road and lastly a couple of chalky bridleways

8. Leaving the comfort of Amberley’s watering holes head south on Stoke Road and bare left once you reach North Stoke and follow the road

9. Tarmac turns to gravel and chalky bridleways as you first take the left fork followed by the 90 degree left north which is the final leg to re-join the SDW

10. It’s all about retracing your steps from here on in as you drift right/east back onto the SDW as the trails merge. Its SDW all the way back to the start point on the rolling and undulating bridleway highway




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Drovers Way

Drovers Way

Route Information

Stats: 13.5 miles 1271 ft of elevation

OS Map:

Refreshments

Pop into the National Park Centre for a coffee. On route, detour into Osmotherley, of if you choose the right time of the year and day, have a cream tea in Kepwick village. Nearby Helmsley or Thirsk are both great. You can also start this route at Sutton Bank, then joining the trail at Sneck Yate.

Character

This route follows the edge of the Hambleton Hills, along the ancient highway that links Sutton Bank with the picturesque village of Osmotherley. It rolls along with excellent views, before sweeping down steeply to ‘Square Corner’, followed by a fantastic descent through woodland – then a climb back to the ridge and home.
Park at Sneck Yate car park at the top of Boltby Bank, about 6 miles from Thirsk.


Route

1. We’ve started this route at Sneck Yate Bank car park rather than at Sutton Bank visitor centre. This way it makes the route a better all around ride for members of the family, and also leaves out some mundane elements.
From the car park, take the Cleveland Way as it follows a hard packed double track along the edge of fine moorland towards Osmotherley. This is shown as the ‘Hambleton Street’, passing along the dge of the Hambleton Hills.

2. Pass the track junction to High Paradise on your left, continuing straight on, with a gently rising and falling ride along good tracks. A gate is reached which leads into a wooded area, which provides some protection against winds (when they blow across the Moors), before again leaving the trees and cycling with moorland views.

3. The track along here is excellent at all times of the year, gently falling now as you pass by the track on the left (gated – Rag Robin Turn), before a more rocky and technical descent drops at speed towards the Forest of Silton and Square Corner.

4. As the track levels out at the junction of ‘Red Way’ to the left (signed through Forest), take the track to the left and enjoy a superb fast descent through Silton Woods.

5. Keep straight ahead as the track passes junctions left and right, and Red Way becomes Moor Lane. The woods are exited, and you can spot a car park in the trees to the right (useful for future trips), but stay on the now tarmaced road all the way to the T-junction at Kirk Ings Lane – turn left towards Kepwick.

6. After 1/3 of a mile another T-junction is reached – turn left again onto Lead lane, continuing on and passing the cul-de-sac junction of Thwaites lane to your left, as you enjoy some superb country lanes towards Kepwick. Stay on this road (Bridge Beck Lane, descending at speed as it twists and turns all the way to Kepwick.

7. After stopping and refreshing yourself – the village often has a cream tea or two advertised in the summer – head left and through the village westwards and back up to the Hambleton Hills along Rag Robin Turn. This is a steep and testing climb, but the track is excellent, being well drained sand and rock.

8. At the gate turn right and back onto Hambleton Street (the Cleveland Way), and follow your tracks all the way back to Sneck Yate, again enjoying the fine moorland track and short forested section.
The finale swoops down to the car park allowing you time to take in what is a fantastic introduction to what the area has to offer.




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Windermere Lakeside

Windermere Lakeside

Route Information

Start Point: The National Trust lakeside car park at High Wray is the best place for this ride. Yes, if you want to, wait for hours to cross on the ferry at Windermere itself, before parking further down. However, taking the road around from Ambleside, you’ll soon locate this car park and have a better day all around.

Distance: Take your pick. For younger members of the family cycle along the lakeside for 2.5 miles to the ferry point, have an ice cream and turn around – nice and reasonably flat ride. For older members, it’s an 8 mile ride of interest.

Lakeside turn around = 5 miles full circuit = 8.3 miles ascent = 958 feet

OS Map:

Refeshments

Hawkshead is nearby and has some super tea rooms and pubs to eat at. Whilst cycling along, the ferry point has a shop for ice creams etc, and Sawrey has the opportunity for a stop for a drink too.

Character

For the real junior riders, a cycle along the lake to the ferry port and back is delightful. Gently rising and falling in the main, with the odd bit where they’ll need a hand, it will be a great day out, with ice creams provided at the ferry point. If you like, take the ferry over as cyclists, saving the long wait, and have a saunter around Windermere and Bowness before crossing back and cycling back along the lake.

For the older kids, it gets more fun, leaving the narrow lanes and taking the well signed bridleways across Claife Heights as the ground rises through trees, before dropping down steeply with some fun speed back to the car. You can even camp for the weekend at the great National Trust site at Low Wray.


Route

1. It’s a fairly easy route this one. From the lakeside car park, head out and follow the track down alongside Lake Windermere, skirting the fringes of the woodland, and with the odd rise in elevation on rocky ground, all the way down to the ferry point.

2. If you’re continuing around the longer ride, after a quick ice cream take the road to Near & Far Sawrey. This is a narrow road, so ensure that kids have helmets and that parent or adults are at the front and back of the group. The road rises as it twists along through high hedges, through Far Sawrey, and onto Beatrix Potter country. Stop here for a cream tea if you have time. There are also toilets here.

3. In Near Sawrey, just after the Tower Bank Arms PH (on the left), you will see Stones Lane to the right, opposite a red post box set in a wall. This is signed for ‘no vehicles – except for access.’ Follow this to Moss Eccles Tarn.

4, This excellent bridleway continues on with a gentle climb, passing on the left of ‘The Scale Tarn’, a very small water spot, before clearing the open meadow and heading back into the trees and turning onto the double track bridleway at Long Heights which heads towards High Wray.

5. Cross over a bridleway crossroads, and at the next junction of tracks, take a left turn following signs to High Wray’ along a well-used track that climbs on the final approach to the the village.

6. Simple route finding now. Once in the village take the road back down to the lakeside car park. Pack away the bikes and head into Hawkshead for a meal. The kids will have had a great time on an adventurous trail, and if you have chance, you can nip to Beatrix Potter’s house.




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Thirlmere Banks

Thirlmere Banks

Route Information

Stats: 10.5 miles and 1980 feet of ascent

OS Map Link:

Refreshments

Toilets at Swirls car park. In season, there’s usually an ice-cream van on the lakeside car park but be careful about crossing the A591.

Character

An undulating trundle through the forests followed by a gentle bimble round the lakeside road. The road carries very little traffic so is suitable for reasonably biddable children. If they can spell “circumnavigate” they’re probably old enough to do this ride.


Route

1. Set off up the diagonally-sloping track heading south from the car park. Keep an eye out for Red Squirrels as you go.

A quick anecdote of a rather less pleasant nature – I once made a grisly discovery in these woods. Someone had left a fertiliser bag by the side of the trail. When I looked inside, I was confronted with an assortment of pig parts including two heads and several legs complete with trotters. I reported the find to Cumbria Police but I still can’t imagine what would possess someone to despoil such a place with such a hoard.

2. Follow the track, with a few ups and downs, for about four miles until you come to the end of the trees. Zag down to your right and cross the A591 with care.

3. Take the minor road all-round the western shore of Thirlmere until you come to the dam.

4. Turn right and follow the busy road for just a couple of hundred yards then turn right into a wooded track. This will take you along the woodside back to Swirls. Re-cross the A591 back to the start. Now treat the kids to a cream tea!




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The Other Borrowdale

The Other Borrowdale

Route Information

Stats: 15.3 miles and 2,100 feet of ascent

OS Map: Refreshments

This is proper wilderness riding, so it’s whatever you can forage from the deeper recesses of your ‘sac.

Character

If you have a friend who reckons they know Lakeland, ask them if they know the esoteric valley of Borrowdale and watch the look of confusion clamber over their face like a first-time climber.

This Borrowdale, of course, is very different from its famous namesake, being tucked away in the shy wedge of cragless land between the A6 and M6. Ride it if you like escaping the hordes, ride it if you like that sense of exploring or ride it if you just like riding. But pick a dry day if you don’t want to carve the swoopy descent from the repeater station.

Start point: There’s a generous layby on the east side of the A6 at the bottom of the hill to Garth Row.


Route

1. From the layby, head north on the A6 for a few turns of the crank then bear right on the lane to Whinfell. Fork almost immediately left onto the encouragingly-named Dry Lane which, puzzlingly, bears a “liable to flooding” notice.

2. Cross the road by a small caravan park, where the byway turns to grass.

3. Splash over a tiny ford then pass the minu-school establishment of Selside Primary

4. Fork right and right again at some poly-tunnels. Follow to the end of the byway then turn left, descending on tarmac to the pylons and bridleway signed to Guestford, ½ mile.

5. There’s a sporting ford (axle deep when I did it) over the River Mint which will get you nice and clean (Minty fresh?), then the plodgy farmyard at Guestford will clart you straight back up again.

6. Take tarmac lanes skirting to the right. Just before Tarnside, turn left onto a surprisingly paved bridleway that leads you all the way from 170 m to 410 m, with a fine sweep over your shoulder from the Howgills, the Southern Dales, the Lancashire moors and the South Lakes.

7. Ignore the road to the second mast – you’ve done enough climbing for now. Instead, strike off diagonally across the grassy fellside (squidgy in damp weather) on a track that quickly establishes itself. Drop through sparse woodland into the lonely valley with the famous name. At one point, there’s an incongruous glimpse of the traffic busying up and down the M6.

8. Turn left to follow the track up the valley, ignoring the unmarked bridleway climbing up and right from Low Borrowdale. There’s a faintly Scottish feel here, with coniferous forest up to your left and a wide, gravelled bed to the river. When you have the chance, cross the bridge at 569031 to gain the true right bank.

9. At the top of the valley, fork left before the stepping stones, climbing to the A6 at 294m.

10. Point the wheels downhill toward Kendal, but leave the road almost immediately to rattle down a superb trail alongside woodland, almost as far as Ashstead.

11. Turn right, doubling back over Ashstead Gill and turn left at the cattle-grid to regain the A6.

12. Cross with care (this road is a favourite haunt of mad motorcyclists) to pick up the bridleway to Bannisdale High Bridge.

13. Pick up another bridleway to Plough Farm, joining the A6 for a third time.

14. To avoid covering any distance on a single-digit A-road, take the short-cut through Watchgate. If you want to maximise your off-road distance, you could even wend through to Selside School and return on Dry Lane.




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