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Parkamoor

Parkamoor

Route Information

Stats: 9.5 miles and 1160 feet of ascent

OS Map Link:

Refreshments

Nothing on the ride, though it could be extended north-eastwards to include the Grizedale Forest Centre.

Start: Just north of High Nibthwaite, there’s parking at Crab Haws, SD296908. Don’t try to park in the village itself because there’s no space but there are warning signs erected by justifiably disgruntled residents.

Character

Great. Just great. It’s only short, so we’ve dropped it in with the easy rides but that has to be taken with a huge pinch of salt – nowhere in the Lakes counts as properly easy.
It packs in a huge amount – a big, beefy climb, some peerless cruising and the odd bit of spooky forest. Rest assured we’ll write up a longer loop (not necessarily P-shaped) that includes the Parkamoor byway.


Route

1 Ride south on the road into the village. The Parkamoor byway heads up from the Victorian postbox.

2. Head north, up a series of increasingly thought-provoking climbs, to a grand terrace with superb views over Coniston to Dow Crag and the Old Man.

3. At the signpost in the picture, fork left, dropping to a stream and climbing past the lonely dwelling of Low Parkamoor.

4. Enter the trees on singletrack that soon meets a big fire road. Turn right here.

5. Make a fast descent, swooping down to the old double bridge at Farra Grain Gill (SD321925)

6. Look for the blue post on the right with a singletrack bridleway heading west. At the time of writing (May 2012), this includes a triple treefall that looks like something set up to trap Indiana Jones. Cross a couple of fire roads before regaining Bethecar Moor and the signpost.

7. The ‘series of increasingly thought-provoking climbs’ now makes a riotous descent. Enjoy.




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Loweswater

Loweswater

Route Information

Stats: 5.3 miles and 1300 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments
I
t’s only a short ride with only rucksack-fodder on the trail but good places to go afterwards include Newhouse Farm tea rooms at NY156 240 or the Kirkstile Inn at NY141209.

Start Point: Maggie’s Bridge car park at NY135210

Character

Short, gentle, beautiful. There’s a tucked-away quality to Loweswater – you can afford a fleeting sense of smugness leaving the hordes in Borrowdale and Buttermere for the quiet delights of Loweswater and Lorton Vale. The route is a loop around Holme Wood, a beautiful bank of mixed planting on the lower slopes of Carling Knott and Burnbank Fell. If there are easily-impressed children in the party, show them the track of the route on the map and tell them they’ll have a whale of a time…


Route

1. Set off up the farm track to, and through, High Nook Farm. As you enter the National Trust access land, the track trifurcates and you take the right hand track, across the stream. If you end up by the tarn, you’ve gone too far.

2. Flank across to the right, heading for the top corner of the wood. Contour the good track along the top of the wood, with beautiful views back to Loweswater and Crummock Water. (See above)

3. Leave the treeline at the deeply incised gully of Holme Beck, then follow the wall-line, heading north-west.

4. Just before the road, with new prospects stretching into the Scottish hills, turn right, dropping to Iredale Place.

5. Turn right to Jenkinson Place and Hudson Place, then pick up the beautiful track back through the woods and along the lake shore.

6. Veer left at Watergate Farm and follow the track across the meadows back to Maggie’s Bridge.





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Gamblesmire

Gamblesmire

Route Information

Stats: 12 miles and 1270 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Start and Finish: Kendal Town Centre if you want refreshments, or there’s a layby at SD507905 if you want easy parking and are confident of being back within two hours. The layby option has the additional advantage of a level warmup before the road climb up Underbarrow Road.

Refreshments

Lots in Kendal. The Brewery Arts Centre is an excellent venue. The route passes the Punchbowl in Underbarrow and the Wheatsheaf in Brigsteer.

Character

A sublime delight on a late summer’s night, the hedgerows dripping with brambles. A good proportion of the ride is in narrow, sunken drove roads, which would make good shelter in wild weather. Much of the surface is firm and stony, despite the squelchy-sounding name. This would make a good ride for youngsters, a parting shot retreating from poor weather on the high fells or, as I found it, an exquisite evening spin.


Route

1. Heave out of Kendal on Gillingsgate from Lakeland Fireplaces to the Underbarrow Road.

2. Turn left on this and climb some more, past Greenside Lime Kiln. Just after the bridge over the dual carriageway, there’s the house of Sylvan Wood with its Monkey Puzzle Tree, offering massages for weary cyclists. Don’t worry: the climbing is largely done as we fork right here onto Gamblesmire Lane.

3. Keep going in a broadly straight line, passing another lime kiln on entertainingly rocky ground. Drop into a wood then climb briefly until you reach the tarmac.

4. Turn right, over a cattle-grid, passing the gates of “Knott” on your left to leave the tarmac, going straight ahead onto another narrow drove lane between hedges.

5. At the junction of bridleways, go right. Believe me; you do not want to miss the anticlockwise loop round Bell Hill. Go down to the ford (footbridge available for the hydrophobic) and continue north up a series of challenging rocky steps..

6. Turn left (signed to Lindreth Brow) and swoop round the back of Bell Hill. There are a few junctions here (another track swoops in from your right in a big U-shaped curve) but bear left past the house of Lindreth Brow itself. Just south of this, you reach a gate with a fork of bridleways.

7. Head right on sketchy terrain across the field. There may be a small stretch of water on your right. See photo.

8. The way soon descends into the delightful Chapel Lane – more gorgeous, walled singletrack. This drops to the church at Underbarrow.

9. Head through the village, dinking right-left at the Punchbowl, following signs to Brigsteer.

10. Keep going, with Scout Scar’s limestone escarpment soaring above you on the left and the flats of the lower Lyth Valley spread out on your right.

11. In Brigsteer, bear left up the diagonal bank from the Wheatsheaf. Climb as far as the house on the right with stone pillars stepped like ziggurats and, looking back downhill, the “Brigsteer. Please Drive Slowly” sign. Turn right onto a good bridleway contouring below Burnbarrow Scar.

12. When you reach a sign in an open field just under the power lines, veer left up a short grassy slope (in fact, you’ll slightly double back on yourself) to the tiny church of St John’s at Helsington.

13. Get onto the bridleway passing to the left of the bunkhouse, signed to Briggs House. Keep to the wall on your right.

14. At Briggs House, go briefly down the tarmac road to where it veers sharply right, and go left through the farmyard of Low House Farm. Zigzag on concrete farm road and drop onto another drove road zagging down to Shenstone and trundle into Kendal on the A6.




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Crake Valley

Crake Valley

Route Information

Stats: 9 miles and 1050 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

Not much doing en route. Low Sizergh Barn is a fine stop on the way home, assuming you’re going that way.

Character

An easy but enjoyable pootle around a network of byways. Even this far south, it still counts as The Lakes because there’s a glimpse of Allan Tarn (the Octopus Lagoon in Swallows and Amazons) at one stage. And the National Park boundary says so. If you wanted to make more of it, you could link up with the Parkamoor loop.

Start point: There is room for two to three sensitively-parked cars at Moss Wood at SD326863.


Route

1. Take the byway westward through the wood, managed by the Woodland Trust and dotted with memorial benches.

2. Break out into open pasture and keep going before the short descent to the quiet church at Colton. Be sure not to miss the unsigned singletrack on the right forking down from the church.

3. Head south on tarmac, turning right just after Millers Wood and climbing to Broad Hawes.

4. Cross open pasture, funnelling into a drove road. This opens out again but you should keep the wall on your left and the Coniston Fells in your sights.

5. When you reach Colton Hill, there’s a very tempting-looking bridleway down on the left. But it doesn’t lead where we’re going so head right up the hill and take the bridleway on the left where the road levels out.

6. Again, if the Coniston fells are clear of mist, they are your guide. Through Sayles Farm and drop slightly to Bessy Bank Lane.

7. Turn briefly left, then right up the surfaced farm road to Hill Park Farm. The wandering border collie is (November 2013) both friendly and silent. There are good signs through the farmyard but be sure to pass to the right of the big barn and turn left to go behind it.

8. Shortly after the farm, a right fork sets you on a northern bearing, in tune with the ethos of this site. Ignore kind offers from forest roads of easterly progress, and keep heading north until you meet Bletherbarrow Lane.

9. Turn right here and look for the red byway signs to High Ickenthwaite. One more, decline competing offers from two southbound bridleways and a walkers’ route into Arklid Intake wood.

10. At High Ickenthwaite, double back to your right and follow the byway to Oxen Park. Again, eschew a bridleway forking right.

11. In the village (hamlet, really), take the hill rising on the left and trundle back to the start, turning left at High Longmires.





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Ayside

Ayside

Route Information

Stats: Distance: 8 miles and just over 1,000 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Character

This is an enjoyable easy excursion in the southern extremities of the Lakes. It would make a good family outing with a mixture of easy, traffic-free or very quiet lanes, forest tracks and farm tracks. The ending can be made can be made more sporting with a gorgeous bit of twisty singletrack down to Staveley-in-Cartmel, but this is substantially more demanding than the rest of the route. Perhaps this could be offered as an alternative ending for the older and more confident members of the party and anyone wanting to preserve the easy standard can continue down the forest track to Barrow Banks.

Start point: The new bypass has left several culs-de-sac from bits of the old A590. A good one can be found just west of Ayside at SD389843.


Route

1. Warm up with a roll south-eastwards along the old A590.

2. At the “beware of horses” sign, turn left up the D-shaped lane and double back up to the left.

3. Pass the small reservoir on your left and take the obvious swing left before you reach the Height Road.

4. Mosey north to Simpson Ground where you go straight through, bearing slightly right.

5. The track is now much rougher and includes an entertaining ford.

6. Turn left at the T-junction at SD408869passing through the farmsteads of Foxfield and Sow How.

7. After Sow How, look out for a forest track on your left. There is precious little to identify it but go up it. Take the right fork immediately after the gate.

8. Meander south, bearing right at the obvious fork.

9. If you want to take the twisty single-track ending, the start is extremely hard to find. There’s no signage and, in High Summer, it’s smothered by Rosebay Willow-Herb. But if you look carefully, you’ll see it 0.4 miles after the obvious fork.

10. Drop down through trees and go through the deer fence gate. Swoop down the meadow ( I disturbed a young deer and a goldcrest here) and re-enter the woods at the bottom, turning left past the “pigs in wood” sign.

11. Follow the minor road south back to the start.





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Swaledale Mixed MTB

Swaledale Mixed Family Ride

Route Information

Stats: 10 miles on easy BWs and country lanes. Minimal climbing and descending

OS Map:

Refreshments

We’ve based this ride at the Dales Cycle Centre, Fremington near Reeth. Stu and Brenda have created something really special here, with a shop & workshop, cycle hire, cafe and top quality bunkhouse. It has absolutely everything you require.

Character

We wanted to throw in an easy opportunity for the younger kids to ride a section of the Tour de France and also enjoy some of Swaledale’s great tracks. This way they can make a choice in terms of where they think their cycling lies.

An easy BW alongside the river rolls along before climbing up to the narrow lane below moorland. Sweeping through the valley with some gently falling hills you’ll join another BW alongside the river before exiting at Crackpot, crossing the bridge and heading back to Reeth on the route of the 2014 Tour de France.


Route

1. Head out of the Dales Cycle Centre turning right towards Grinton Bank. Cross the junction by the sharp left hand bend with care, and cycle along Grinton Bank for 100 yards before turning right into the narrow lane above the river.

2. As this lane turns steeply up to the left a BW ahead in the wall leads down to the river on a good rocky track. Rising and falling alongside the river, this excellent BW provides a safe and scenic ride, eventually crossing a wide meadow before climbing on a grassed track up to the road.

3. At the road turn right and enjoy the twisting and rolling ride, passing the bridge near Low Whita before re-joining a wide BW off to the right. This excellent rocky track is protected by walls and hedges, skirts the river before tarmac is reached once more, leading you onto the road junction and bridge on the opposite side to Low Row. Cross the bridge and turn right at Low Row.

4. Now simply follow this road – the route of the 2014 Grand Depart – all the way to Reeth, before dropping steeply and twisting along to Fremington and the Dales Cycle Centre – Easy. Now it’s time for some cake.




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Studley Royal Deer Park

Studley Royal Deer Park

Route Information

Park at the National Trust visitor Centre, off the Studley Road between Ripon and Pateley Bridge. There are super facilities here: a cafe, toilets, exhibition and shop.

Stats:  3.4 miles

OS map: https://osmaps.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/route/9468882/Studley-Royal

Refreshments

Once the family have had a good cycle, share a bite to eat at the cafe and then take a walk into Fountains Abbey and the Water Garden. Ripon has a good bike shop, Moonglu on Blossomgate.

Character

Here’s one for the younger members of the family; an easy ride from the Fountain’s Abbey visitor’s centre, through the deer park and back again for Brymor ice cream – the best anywhere. If they are feeling more adventurous, then it can be extended.


Route

1. Head out of the car park, crossing the access road and cycling along the bridleway / path signed for St. Mary’s church. It drops and twists initially, giving the kids a bit of fun to start the ride with.

2. Follow this safe and easy track all the way to the gate on the right, which leads into the deer park. Once through the gate, the church is on the left, whilst to the right, a path drops down across a meadow steeply before evening out. This is followed downhill to the deer park car park area (toilets here).

3. At the car park, take the access road uphill to the junction, and turn right, then almost immediately left, onto a small access road. This is followed for a short distance until a small bridge is seen down on the right by trees. Follow the path down and across the bridge, turning immediately right once over the bridge and taking a gentle and short climb.

4. As the climb eases of a junction of paths is met. Go straight down and through the trees at speed, as the path dips and turns to the right before falling down to the main access road by the deer park gate.

5. Take the access road back up through the deer park, all the way to the small gate that you entered through earlier. Turn left once through the gate and head back to the car park and ice cream.




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Scar House Nidderdale

Scar House, Nidderdale

Route Information

Stats: 4.5 miles

OS map:

Refreshments

This is a nice introduction for the kids…or your mates, if they’ve been lazy sods and never ridden a bike before! Parking at Scar House, you get fantastic views and picnic tables for lunch. Toilets are nearby which, as a parent, I know is handy. Lofthouse is nearby, with a good pub; and How Stean Gorge has a superb little cafe and tea shop, and a superb little camp site.

Character

The track is good and reasonably level, with enough undulation for the odd freewheeling. From Pateley Bridge take the road signed Ramsgill and Lofthouse, all the way through Lofthouse, then turning right and heading along the Yorkshire Water road to the dams. This road follows beautiful scenery, with steep valley sides all around, leading you to the car park at Scar House. Scar House has an excellent track around it, which is a designated Yorkshire Water cycle route and will be a great intro for the kids. Once you reach the dam between Scar House and Angram you can head back along the road to the car park.


Route

1. Cycle out of the car park and across Scar House dam. Climb the loose gravel track (steep) and head left around the reservoir. By a group of trees a series of old buildings are reached.

2. Continue around, past the old farm building on the left, and at the track junction (bridleway) to the right which climbs steeply, turn left along the walled lane and through the sheep folds, looking for a gate on the right.

3. Go through gate into a rough pasture with a wall on the left, through another gate in a fence and follow the well-defined path through a couple more gates, over a stream in the bottom of a Ghyll and on to the northern end of Angram Dam point. At this point you can simply cross the dam and head back along the road the other side. You’ll have already had a good spin. From here follow the tarmac access road along the southern side of Scar House Reservoir through the pedestrian gate and back to the car park at Scar House.
Now take the kids to How Stean Gorge for an ice cream – they’ve earnt it!




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Nutwith Woods

Nutwith Woods

Route Information

Stats: 5.7 miles

OS map link: 

Character

A jaunt in the woods that will leave you thirsty for more. Try a few laps of this, or join it up with the Grewelthorpe night loop and head over the moors.


Route

1. Ride out onto the road and turn left then immediately right into Nutwith Woods. Go along the track until you reach the timber store area and take the track left. After about 300 metres, turn right steeply through the trees on the technical singletrack. Follow this directly across the next fire road.

2. As the singletrack joins the fire road turn left onto the fire road and head upwards. At the top of this fire road turn right into the trees next to the pile of trees. Follow the singletrack as it weaves through back to the fire road. Ride along and down the fire road for approximately 100 metres before re-joining singletrack into the trees to your left. Follow the track. re-enter fire road and take the next right to join the fire road back uphill. At the log store (same as earlier) take the right track and head along for 500 metres before a gap in the trees to the left leads to flowing singletrack. Follow this to the top of the woods.

3. At the gate onto the road, take the road left for approximately 400 metres before a gap in the trees to the left shows a hidden track. Follow this through fir trees until it falls sharply left and heads downhill. Simply follow this line on fast singletrack all the way to the bottom.

4. At the fire road turn right either pedal along the road back to the car, or alternatively, go right onto the uphill fire road back towards the log store junction, but do not go all the way to the junction. Approximately 30 metres before the junction, singletrack opens up on the left. Follow this until it leads down and back to the first road and gate. Back onto the road and into the car park – enjoy!
Route extension:

To extend the ride: 3b. Turn right instead of left. At the junctions go left. Take the bridleway at Blackhill House with a fast descent along a tree lined green lane. Follow this to its conclusion. At the farm by the lane, take the steep track to the right which descends to a ford. Follow this as it twists and turns on rough tracks.

This meets the narrow road, head straight ahead and joins the track across the moor as the road turns sharp left. Climb on the technical track with difficult rock steps through the gate where, after about 1 mile, a track to the right speeds you downhill with exhilaration.

As this track meets the road at Ilton, follow the road back to the top of Nutwith Woods and re-join the route above.




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Malham Tarn

Malham Tarn

Route Information

Stats: 10.3 miles

OS map:

Refreshments

Apart the tea van and ice cream that often parks up nearby, there are fantastic facilities within Malham itself. Numerous tea shops, inns and a good little store, as well as the National Parks visitor centre. Car parking is ample at the roughly surfaced car park adjacent to the Tarn road. Nearby is Settle as well, with even more facilities. Yes, Settle. If you head across towards Langcliffe, it’s a short but beautiful ride down to Langcliffe and in to Settle. It cuts out a long road route that most people would think of, and is probably one of the most scenic roads in the Dales.

Character

If you’re looking for a great short ride for kids and families in the Yorkshire Dales, between 10 and 25 km, then this is the one. It’s not too steep, but has enough fun sections to keep them happy downhill, but to ensure they won’t go too fast. For an introduction mtb ride for kids this is it. Good surfaces, great views, and an ice cream to finish. The route is rideable at all times of the year, but wrap up warm in winter. The photo below shows the approach to the tarn with snow in the dips. However, the views made up for the cold.


Route

1. Turn left out of the car park and along the road for a short distance. At the first cross roads, the left hand junction is a track which takes you to the edge of the Tarn.

2. Follow this track, through a gate and around the Tarn, before heading into trees, and a short climb to the Malham Tarn Field Centre. Go around the centre and downhill, passing National Trust cottages before joining a ‘T’ junction.

3. Turn right along the lane, heading towards Arncliffe for about a mile. At a shoulder in the road, the Pennine Way crosses the lane, marked by a good sign post and continues along a good farm track ahead and to your left (ignore this!). Take the other bridleway, directly opposite the sign post, through the field gate and across Malham Moor.

4. Go diagonally across the field to a gap in the wall, and continue along the faint path across beautiful limestone countryside as you climb Malham Moor. Once the halfway point of the ride is reached the gradient becomes friendlier for the kids and begins a rolling descent, all the way to tarmac at Henside Road.

5. Turn left at the road and cycle along to the road junction to the left (signed Arncliffe. Go left and along this lane until a fork ahead, with the right hand fork being a gated track. Take this gated track, which leads back to the route around the Tarn.

6. At the next track junction turn right and back around the Tarn. As you descend and come out of the trees, a short distance (200yards) on, a track to the left should be taken. This is lightly rougher and be avoided by simply continuing back to the car. However, it is worth the detour.

7. Follow this track which loops around a scar, to a small copse on the right and track junction. Turn right and along towards ‘Street Gate’, the start of Mastilles Lane.

8. At Street Gate, turn right again and along the road back to the car.
Pack up the bikes and go and get the kids an ice cream. If they won’t share, get them one each.




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