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Sutton Bank and Boltby Scar

A super stunning all year round mountain bike route, with some of the best views in Yorkshire. Natural trails are mixed with man made tracks, to bring you a fantastic ride.

Transylvania mountain bike

Paltinis Forest MTB Trails

Deep in the Transylvania mountains, Paltinis is an area that every mountain biker would want to explore. Take a trip and stay at nearby historic Sibiu as you ride the wilderness forests of Romania

Ladies long sleeve cycling jersey by Cycology

Brasov South West Hills Short MTB

Larisa lives riding the forested hills around Brasov in Transylvania, and this route takes you along some awesome local trails, with epic views and technical riding

Brasov Hills Short MTB

A short but testing ride into the forests around historic Brasov in Transylvania. This is a superb short mountain ride to get you familiar with the local trails

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Thieveley Pike

Thieveley Pike, Lancashire

Route Information

Stats:  11 miles and 1250 feet of ascent

OS Map: Refreshments

Todmorden and nearby Hebden Bridge would be our choices.

Character

This short excursion into the wild lands between Yorkshire and Lancashire includes two deliciously overstated place names. Anyone expecting Thieveley Pike to be a soaring pinnacle will be disappointed, just as a prior visitor to the Verdon will question whether the Cliviger valley really counts as a “gorge.” But context is all and it is certainly a dramatic cleft, in Pennine terms. The Pike is an unassuming swell of moor rendered dramatic by the crenelated edge overlooking the gorge.


Route

1. Ride south-east on the A646 to Cornholme.

2. Just as you enter the village, fork right into Carr Road. Climb for about 2 miles to a moorland plateau.

3. Double back to the right on Flower Scar Road. This climbs up the moor but we fork left onto a sketchy trail across the north-facing flank.

4. At places, there is just a series of short posts (in varied colours of blue, yellow and white) to guide you. Look out, too, for incongruous interpretation boards for the Todmorden Moor Geology Trail and some industrial history of the mining activity here. The distinctive buildings down on your left are part of an observatory.

5. Drop to the A681 Bacup road and climb briefly to the right.

6. When the road dinks left and drops, turn right towards the less-than-scenic landfill site.

7. Turn left near the power lines, towards a remote farmstead. Follow this line for a mile or so.

8. Climb up to the right to gain the trig point at Thieveley Pike. Follow the watershed to the A671 Burnley Road.

9. Follow the new bridleway alongside the road, ignoring the track flanking the moor on your right.

10. Instead, take the lower track towards the even-more-remote farm at Cow Side but bypass this on the left.

11. Drop on grass from the Mary Towneley memorial, noting the ingenious fencing to keep your front wheel out of the rabbit-hole traps.

12. Zig-zag down to the right, crossing the railway to Holme Chapel.

13. Turn right to regain the start point.




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Salter Road

Salter Road, Lancashire

Route Information

Stats:  17 miles and 2100 feet of ascent

OS Map: Refreshments

Nothing. Not so much as a baked bean. The raison d’etre of this route is to get away from all that commercial, Starbucked razzle-dazzle. Chances are you’ll not see anyone else on the whole ride, so make sure you’re kitted out.

Character

The Salter Road is a grand high-level crossing of the Bowland Fells. It can be done as part of a longer loop but it’s good value as an out-and-back as well. The route is described from the Roeburndale side but you could just as well come at it from the south. It makes an ideal outing for a summer’s evening, when the softly dipping moorland light washes away the day’s cares. Be careful in winter as you’ll be spending a long stretch above 1000′ with no escape routes and shouting “Help!” will summon nothing but slavering wolves.

image by Jon Sparks


Route

Once you’re on the road, it’s a piece of duff to follow. Stay straight as the Romans before you and don’t venture into the seas of heather to either side.

Bonus Start/Finish: From Claughton, you can climb up to the wind farm on Caton Moor, then take the big zigzag via Haylot Farm to get to Lower Salter. This adds 10 miles and another 1,000 feet of ascent.




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Rivington Pike

Rivington Pike, Lancashire

Route Information

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.

Character

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.


Route

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?




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Longridge Slopes MTB

Longridge Slopes MTB, Lancashire

Route Information

Stats:  17 miles and 1300 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

There’s the Newdrop Inn on Higher Road, then numerous swanky-looking pubs in Hurst Green and Ribchester.

Character

This is one of those rides for which the map offers little promise, yet proves a delight under the tyres. There’s huge variety, from silent forest to hidden dell to rolling riverbank. All of this is tucked away just five miles outside Preston yet feels deeply rural.

The ride is tilted on a great south-facing plane where the wooded slopes of Longridge Fell slide down to the meandering banks of the Ribble. There are a couple of sections where map-reading skills are called upon but most of it is straightforward.

One word of caution; the forest ride off the Fell can be an execrable squelchfest after any appreciable dosage of rain. This loop could be omitted and the ride would still preserve its charm, albeit docked of 3 miles and 460 feet in the all-important athletic metrics.


Route

1. Start by dropping through an incongruous development of holiday homes. There is a bridleway marker. As you look back over your left shoulder, you’ll see an even-more-incongruous crag overhanging the houses, and a fishing pond at the bottom. The bridleway soon turns into a beautiful, swoopy, sunken singletrack and that’s it – you’re transported from all the grot and grime of commerce into the countryside proper.

2. At the bottom, turn left (at a place called Written Stone) through Cottam House Farm and turn left alongside a small stream. This turn is signposted as a footpath but the good people of the Ordnance Survey (and the hoofprints underneath your tyres) should tell you you’re legit. Up to the right you should see a huge treehouse (April 2012).

3. Head up to the road on a short, grassy pull and turn right. Sharp-eyed map-readers will spot that you could get here a deal quicker by road but not as scenically.

4. The next section of tarmac, however, is unavoidable. Fortunately, the views to Pendle Hill, Darwen Tower and Winter Hill are more-than-adequate compensation and the lane is quiet. Go straight on at the Newdrop Inn and keep going until you see the forest access at Tilhill on your left.

5. Turn left and climb on forest road, zagging first left then right, contouring below the ridge. Look out for a forest ride heading down with a blue bridleway sign and take it when you see it. This ride can be distinctly moist if rain has fallen in living memory, but you’ll soon break out into open fields. Bear slightly left, heading towards Chilsey Green farmhouse, on the far side of the road.

6. Turn right at the road and ignore the left turn to Hurst Green as you’re going by a far more interesting route. Keep your eyes open for the bridleway on the left to Crowshaw House – the fingerpost is on the opposite side of the road.

7. Follow the lane down, curving round a small pond to a beautiful gorse-filled dell, with dense forest on your left. After Greengore, the main track veers right but go straight ahead for some lovely singletrack dropping into the wooded ravine of Dean Brook. This brings you out into the charming village of Hurst Green. Turn right, past the imposing almshouses and the Bayley Arms, to the main Preston-Whalley road (B6243). Turn right and then immediately left down Lambing Clough Lane along the side of the Shireburn Arms.

8. Swoop down, forking very slightly right to avoid imposing at the homestead of Lambing Clough itself. At the bottom, go through the farmyard at Trough House (and turn right where you see the WAA parking sign). The Ribble Way goes slightly left over a stile here, but cyclists are obliged to head off, following a field boundary parallel to the river.

9. Cross Starling Brook on a tiny footbridge and keep to tussocky fields, rising slightly to the right-hand of two houses (Hey Hurst). Turn right up the lane.

10. This is the tricky bit. After 400m of lane, there’s a field opening on the left with neither signage nor evidence on the ground. But, trust me, this is a bridleway. Set off boldly south-west, passing under a line of small electricity poles and heading for a tiny hidden bridge and gate over a stream. Once you’ve found these, you’re OK because there’s now a line of distinctive white arrows pointing the way as far as Dewhurst House.

11. Head downriver to the elegant bridge at Little Town and ride into the ancient Roman settlement of Ribchester. Bear left down Greenside and past the antiquities, picking up signs for the Ribble Way. This is mostly on farm track but includes a short section of rooty singletrack around a wooded meander.

12. Turn right just after the impressive edifice of Hothersall Hall, up a lane made of parallel concrete tracks. This turns to grass where it levels out, trending right under National Grid pylons to Ox Hey.

13. Follow an easy lane, then roads, towards Longridge but turn right at the end of the double reservoir to pick up the bridleway back to the start.




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Holcombe Moor MTB

Holcombe Moor, Lancashire

Route Information

Stats:  12 miles and 1200 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

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.

Character

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.


Route

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.




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Hameldon Lancashire

Hameldon, Lancashire

Route Information

Stats:  10 miles and 1530 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

Once on the ride, you’ll see more Bronte sisters than catering establishments.

Character

It’s wild and lonesome up on them thar moors. There are several Hameldons overlooking the top end of the M65, including, Great Hameldon, Black Hameldon and Hameldon Hill. Our route traverses plain old Hameldon, straddling the boundary between Lancashire and Yorkshire. And, if ambiguous hill names confuse you, a curiosity of these moors is that they drain to East and West into two different Calder rivers.

Start point: Hurstwood car park SD882313


Route

1. Take the track leading up the charming avenue heading East to gain the Eastern shore of Hurstwood Reservoir.

2. Keep going up the valley until you reach the Gorple Road, turning right at the Pennine Bridleway signpost.

3. Turn left shortly after, signed PBW north. Follow a gorgeous twisty singletrack zigzagging to Swinden Water and climbing back out to Extwistle Moor. Keep going, dropping down more zigzags to the road junction above Thursden.

4. Turn right and climb on tarmac to the county boundary. With Emley Moor transmitter in the distance, swoop down to Widdop Reservoir.

5. Turn right to cross the dam and turn right at the end to take the good track up Black Moor.

6. Drop back down into Lancashire on the Pennine Bridleway, rejoining the path alongside Hurstwood Reservior to return home.
Please avoid using the nearby footpaths across the moor; however enticing the singletrack may seem. Respect the nature and legality of the path and in doing so, support better access.




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Darwen Tower

Darwen Tower, Lancashire

Route Information

Stats:  17.3 miles and 1575 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

Limited. There’s the Strawbury (not a typo) Duck at Entwistle and, er …

Character

A grand, high-level cruise around the West Pennine Moors. The route follows long chunks of the Witton Weavers’ Way on good tracks so is suitable for a winter’s night. It can, however, get claggy in the woods.

The bridleway signage is a lot more generous on the ground than the map would suggest, especially if you have an older map.

Start point: Crookfield Road Car Park at SD666192.


Route

1. Turn left at the exit of the car park and head south at the “Welcome to Darwen Moor” sign on concessionary bridleway (Witton Weavers’ Way) where the road dinks left.

2. Follow this for many a mile, past the house with lions on the gate-posts, until you reach a road. Cross this and, rather than following the signed bridleway straight on, turn immediately left, parallel to the road.

3. Dip to a bridge across a stream and enter the woods. Where you reach the cobbled lane, turn right and cross the ominously-named A666 into Cox Green Lane.

4. Follow this, past suburban gardens, almost to the end and turn left into a signed bridleway. Follow this onto the golf course, dodging any low-flying projectiles. Passa small pond and a tall, half-timbered building and drop down the access road to a cattle-grid by a stream.

5. Head north on bridleway, parallel to the line of electricity pylons. Pass a distinctive octagonal tower and cross the road. Decend a few metres and re-cross the road before dropping some more to the car park by Entwistle Reservoir.

6. Ride across the dam and follow the lane to Entwistle Station and the Strawbury Duck. Then head north-west on Edge Lane.

7. Turn right on the A666 (there are pavements, then a cycle lane). Lose height on tarmac (sorry about this) passing Darwen Cemetery on the left. Turn left into Queen’s Road where you see the Park Inn on the right.

8. Turn right at the cemetery lych gate into Whitehall Terrace Park Road. Head up into Printworks Lane then cross a stream by the Whitehall Hotel and a waterfall. Turn left into Duckshaw Road.

9. Follow this up the true left side of the valley, forking right at the “Welcome to Darwin Moor” sign just before the main track swings left across the streamn to an unusually high-altitude house.

10. Climb steeply on a scrabbly track. Where it levels out, Darwen Tower comes into view on the right. Head north to have a look-see then retrace your tyre-tracks to where you turned right.

11. Turn right (stone marker) to drop steeply down a gully. At the bottom, turn left and head northwest along a cobbled track to a hamlet by the Royal Arms. Cross the road (“Nature Trail” signage) and drop through the woods.]

12. Turn left where you join a track coming in from the right. Then turn right again by a bridge. Signage to “Slipper Lowe Car Park”.

13. Splash over a ford and climb steadily, following Witton Weavers Way signs again, past the ruin of Hollinshead Hall.

14. Cross the road with care and take the bridleway flanking the hillside to the right, dropping steadily with the starting point soon visible on your right.




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Chipping Eight MTB

Chipping Eight, Lancashire

Route Information

Stats: 11.25 miles and 930 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

The cafe at Beacon Fell is perfectly situated halfway round.

Character

A varied switchback across the pastures of West Lancashire with a play in the woods to boot. Try to pick a day during a prolonged dry spell or a hard frost, as the section crossing the Brock can get squelchy. This area is richly-populated with ground-nesting birds such as lapwings and curlews so please take care not to disturb them. Perhaps relatedly, it is also rich in stoats. I usually have at least one close encounter with them on this ride.


Route

1. Head out of Garstang down the High Street heading south. Passs Sainsbury’s on your right, go over the bridge then left at the mini-roundabout into Dimples Lane.

2. Cross the humpback over the canal and turn left at the end, over the M6 and right into Sandholme Lane.

3. Turn left at a bridge overhung by trees and climb Butt Hill Lane. Turn right into Gonder Lane and take the next left into Bleasedale Lane.

4. As the climbing eases, turn right into Snape Rake Lane (now the off-road fun begins). Follow this steeply down to a watersplash (you’re going to get wet coming back, so why not?) and a challenging climb out of the Brock valley.

5. Turn left at the end into Oakenclough Lane and, after a short climb, right into North Nook Lane (Brown sign to Beacon Fell).

6. Turn left at the top. You’re now on a tarmac, one-way road that loops around Beacon Fell. There are legitimate trails in the woods on your right, that lead right up to the summit. Have fun.

7. When you’ve been round the trails, admired the views and supped at the cafe, retrace your tyre-tracks back to Snape Rake Lane, past the entrance to Waddecar Scout Camp.[If the ground is really soft, you might be better retracing your route along the whole of Snape rake Lane to point 4)]

8. Just before the track starts descending steeply, turn right onto a rather squidgy bridleway. Zig zag down to the river and splash through it to pick up the steep rake sloping up to the right.

9. At the top, follow the wall north-west (I once had a stoat scream at me, just a couple of feet from my face, from inside this wall) and drop down to a bridge before reaching the road at Tootle Hall.

10. Cross the road with care (awkward bend) and take the permitted bridleway (marked Delph Lane) north-west to Broadgate Farm then zig-zagging up to the left to join Delph Lane.

11. Follow tarmac north (with great views) for a while, dipping to the hamlet of Oakenclough and passing Grizedale Lea Reservoir. At Grizedale Bridge, turn left onto bridleway, though a sheepfold system and rising to the right. Pick up a good track dropping towards Fell End Farm but bypass the farm on the left.

12. After the farm, turn left on a good, gated track and follow this past Grizedale Reservoir and down the valley itself. When you run out of bridleway, turn left on Higher Lane, right into Keeper’s Lane and right again into Delph Lane.

13. After the motorway, go straight on into Forge Lane where the road dinks right at a duck pond. For good measure (and to wash the mud off the bike) splash through the ford and up Wyre Lane, turning left at the end back to Garstang.




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Todmorden West MTB

Todmorden West MTB

Route Information

Stats: 14.8 miles & 2685 ft of ascent

OS Map:
Refreshments

Todmorden has a good choice of eateries, including great veggie options. Bikes shops in the area are renowned for their service, and the place is all around friendly. Nearby Youth Hostels provide cheap accommodation options, and the town has several B&B options as well.

Character

Great little route around the valley, taking in some excellent singletrack, with a few testing climbs along the way.


Route

1. From the town head into Bankside and begin the climb, taking in the bridleway that ascends Shoebroad Lane to the junction with Long Hey Lane. Follow this until it joins Lumbutts, turning left for a short distance, then picking up the Pennine Bridleway on the right.

2. Take the Pennine Bridleway as it rises and then falls to Walden, along some excellent tracks.

3. At Walden cross the road from St Peters Gate to Inchfield Road opposite, climbing this epic steep road, and giving yourself a pat on the back if you clean it, then riding the continuation into Foul Clough Road, along the mixed track as it rises and skirts the hills, before climbing steeply again, all the way to the trig point.

4. Go through the gate and across the tricky ground now, where technical singletrack guides you down the valley and onto the double track of Limers gate (BW). Descend this all the way to the scrubby and difficult to locate track junction above buildings on the right. If you hit the new fencing, then you’ve gone too far

5. Turn down right to the A646 Bacup Road, and head right before dinking off left onto the indistinct and tricky to follow moorland bridleway that rolls along the moor beneath the wind farms, crossing Acre Nook Clough, as you head on singletrack to the junction with Tower Causeway – turn left here.

6. Now race down this bridleway, eventually joining the A646 west at Cornholme. A short distance along the A646 a car park is seen on the right. Take this and pick up the bridleway that rises and falls and rises again, all the way to the village of Shore, passing Brown Birk’s Farm along the way.

7. At Shore a sign for Raw Hey Farm is seen on a post by a 5 bar wooden gate. Opposite this on the right is Shore Green (Cul de Sac) – take this. The bridleway is picked up at the left fork, after passing white washed buildings on the right.

8. The left hand fork dinks up left again before the cottages, then dinking right into the bridleway of Bluebell Lane a short distance further on.

9. Stay on this bridleway to Dyke Farm, then heading left for a short distance, to a T junction of tracks, taking the right hand turn and descending this excellent track all the way to Hole Bottom (Yes, Hole Bottom folks) and back down to Todmorden.




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Two Roses MTB Route

Land of the Two Roses

Route Information

Stats: 25.7 miles & 2880 ft of ascent

OS Map:
Refreshments

Todmorden has a good choice of eateries, including great veggie options. Bikes shops in the area are renowned for their service, and the place is all around friendly. Nearby Youth Hostels provide cheap accommodation options, and the town has several B&B options as well.

Character

A long route that takes in the tracks above Todmorden and to the south and south east. A mix of surfaces, with a long stretch in the middle that follows the contour around the valley, before a great descent to Cragg vale. One final climb leads to the reservoirs, before a downhill finish via Mankinholes and back to Todmordern.


Route

This ride starts in the Upper Calder Valley town of Todmorden and dips two wheels firmly in the counties of Yorkshire & Lancashire. Featuring 5 challenging climbs of mixed terrain and variety of natural trails this mid distance mountain bike route is superb.
The best time of year to ride this route is in spring or summer or when there’s a ground frost.

1. From the town head into Bankside and begin the climb, taking in the bridleway that ascends Shoebroad Lane to the junction with Long Hey Lane. Follow this until it joins Lumbutts, turning left for a short distance, then picking up the Pennine Bridleway on the right.

2. Take the Pennine Bridleway as it rises and then falls to Walden, along some excellent tracks. At Walden stay on this track as it heads down to the A6033 at Bottomley Clough Road and the A6033 road, where a left turn is taken.

3. A short distance on, turn off right onto the track that runs parallel with the A6033 before re-joining it higher up the valley. Cross over the road onto the Pennine Bridleway, up to the A58, and then turn left and then left again off the road onto the bridleway that leads to Blackstone Edge Reservoir.

4. Time now to pick up the Pennine Way itself for a short distance, before dinking off right as the PW continues left. Skirt White Holme Reservoir and onto the road at Blackstone Edge, dropping to Cragg Vale.

5. By a group of 3 and 4 storey stone terraces, a minor junction on the left is signed for ‘St John’s Church’. This lane and track leads past Withens Clough Reservoir and along, heading down the super steep cobbled sets to Mankinholes and then again through the woodland of Height Wood. Just before the river crossing into Height Wood there is a technical rocky section that seems to change as the loose rocks move around on the trail floor, aim to get to the gate without ‘dapping’. to Mankinholes.

6. From Mankinholes pick up Le Bottom Road and head down to the towpath back to Todmorden and sample what the town has to offer. You may want to take a short detour at the end of the ride to check out the Cycle Factory Bike Shop.




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