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Hayfield to Hope

Hayfield to Hope

Route Information

Stats: 24 miles and 3,750 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Character

This route provides an unforgettable sweep of High Peak goodness, with rolling tracks, great climbs and descents on awesome rocky trails; one to test the best climbers.

Refreshments

The area is full of great places to stay over and to eat. Hope at halfway is a useful spot for either a cafe or the pub!
Start point: The obvious place is the pay and display at the end of the Sett Valley Trail (or you could do some of this as a warm-up).


Route

1. Cross the A624 with all appropriate care and enter the complex warren of streets beyond.

2. Leave Hayfield by passing the wall clock on your right and heaving up Highgate Road.

3. Turn left where shown (A) and take a long track up the side of Mount Famine. This takes you down into Roych Clough and steeply back out. Eventually, you reach tarmac at 091825.

4. Cross the road and drop on tarmac past Rushop Hall.

5. Turn left on the Winnats road and follow that before forking right where shown (B)

6. Keep to this line on a good track until you see quarrying and the long, fast descent of Dirtlow Rake on your left.

7. Go down the road a short distance then drop down sharp right (C) followed by sharp left, into Pindale. Descend this with immense technical interest.

8. Career down into Hope and climb out the other side on the Edale Road. Leave this on the right at a dog-leg over a bridge, to enter Fullwood Stile Lane.

9. Climb up the side of Win Hill, finishing on draggy sand worthy of a beach.

10. At the bridleway crossroads just after Hope Cross, drop off left into Jagger’s Clough. Follow this down to the road.

11. Head up the valley, passing Barber Booth and Upper Booth, following signs for Pennine Way.

12. Take the long, left-leaning rake of Jacob’s Ladder, a tough challenge to climb un-dabbed.

13. Breathe slow; that’s all the climbing done. Swoop down rutted moor into Coldwell Clough. Take the left fork to drop down via the campsite and the Valley Road.





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Rievaulx Woods

Rievaulx Woods

Route Information

Stats: 10.2 miles and 1408 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

The cafe at the Rievaulx Abbey entrance is superb. It also has toilets. Nearby Scawton has a good pub, The Hare Inn. There’s a great choice of accommodation in the area, particularly in nearby Helmsley, where they also have a Youth Hostel.

Character

Numerous bridleways and tracks cut across this valley. The route here is a good introduction, and a great little evening or afternoon ride. A few steep climbs and a terrific short singletrack descent, good woodland trails, and great little swooping descent across open meadows. Oh, and the views are spectacular. Save it as a last ride of the weekend before heading home. You’ll definitely want to return.

Start Point: Choose either the English Heritage car park, or a small car park behind the Methodist Chapel in the village


Route

1. From the Methodist Chapel take the track (Arden Lane) which initially rises, before a forked junction of tracks, taking the left hand track which descends to Bow Bridge.

2. Cross over the bridge and take the steep track which rises alongside Lambert Hag Wood. At the next junction keep right and head towards Tylas Farm. This track rolls gently before a steep descent, followed by a climb to a junction of BWs just before the farm. Take the bridleway through the gate straight ahead and climb up to Birk Bank woods.

3. The woodland track rises and falls, before crossing a meadow and leading out onto a lane near Caydale Mill. Turn left and climb steeply, turning right at the top along High Leir Lane.

4. After approx a mile, take the bridleway to the right, which skirts around the field before dropping steeply on singletrack over rocks. Cross the wooden bridge at the valley bottom and climb up to Murton Grange, ignoring the BW passed by to the right. At the road junction, turn right and head along a short distance before exiting to the right into Cliff Wood.

5. An excellent forest track rolls along, before reaching a gated meadow. Cross the meadow until a junction of BWs by a derelict barn to your right. Take the right hand BW across the meadow, which eventually descends at speed back to Tylas Farm. Follow the route back to Rievaulx and a drink.



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Rag Robin Ramble

Rag Robin Ramble

Route Information

Stats: 8.9 miles Ascent: 1486 ft (without extension)

OS Map: 

Refreshments

Kepwick often has teas and cakes on offer in the summer. However, the best option is nearby Osmotherley. Fantastic tea rooms, a chip shop and two pubs. I can recommend the Queen Catherine for food and atmosphere. It also has a Youth Hostel and a wealth of B & B opportunities.

Thirsk and Northallerton are not too far away, and have even more places to stay.

Character

You’ve guessed it, this route starts with a climb. However, the country landowner has made it easy for you, by tarmacking the narrow lane which winds its way up to the junction with the Cleveland Way.

From there it’s a whizz downhill on an excellent track, a woodland ramble and climb, before returning to the moorland.

The route returns to the junction of the Cleveland Way, where you can either retreat at speed down the lane, or take a right and head down and around through Silton Woods, or take a left and go down and around through Boltby Forest – we’ll leave it to you. We’ve kept it as a dash around route, returning to Kepwick down the lane.


Route

1. Park up in the small car park to the front of the village hall. Head down the village, passing the hall to your right, and continue on the lane that is signed “unsuitable for motors.”

2. A wall of tarmac now meets you, so you will need to be fit in order to tackle this. It is an extremely steep climb – beware. However, if you’re up for it, then the surface is good and the views are great. The lane eventually takes you through a gate with a very expensive stone carved sign asking you to close the gate – oh the landed set – before continuing with slight respite before joining the Cleveland Way on the edge of the Hambleton Hills.

3. At this junction take the track ahead, which initially looks slightly n/e of you, but twists around and takes you across excellent smooth moorland tracks, allowing you to open up and enjoy some speed.

4. Through a gate and with woodland to the left and an excellent view of Hawnby ahead, the track falls steeply, becoming rockier.

5. At Arden Hall, go around the cottages to the left, following the bridleway as it climbs through the wood. This climbs steeply in places, with short sections of respite, before finally going through a gate as you leave the woodland for the moor.

6. At this point the bridleway points left. However, a steep path to the right with an isolated tree on it is the route to take. This may be a ‘get off and walk’ section, but it soon leads up onto the moor top and excellent tracks.

7. As this track joins the well-made moorland double track, keep left (almost straight on), and heading back towards the Hambleton ridge. This route dips and turns before bringing you back onto the Drovers way track. Turn left.

8. A short ride will bring you back to the gate leading down the Rag Robin Road. Descend at speed, or alternatively continue along and descend through Boltby Forest and take the lanes back to the car park.




click below for gpx file for the route, and for the possible extension

Osmotherley Introduction

Osmotherley Introduction

Route Information

Stats: 15.4 miles and 1858 feet of ascent

OS Map Link:

Refreshments

Osmotherley is one of the most picturesque and yet easily accessible villages within the Moors National Park. Two good pubs, a great chip shop, and a fantastic tea room to boot. It also has some of the cleanest public toilets in the country – officially! Ample accommodation in the area, including a great campsite nearby.

Character

This is a fantastic introduction to Moors riding. Don’t look at the middle section as 5 miles of toil – it’s 2 1/2 miles of toil, followed by a great downhill section. From Square Corner – yep, check the map name – I’ve taken this route down the Cleveland Way and past the reservoir. However, this is a footpath, so we can’t condone riding this. Either GOAW or take it steady and walk if there are hikers around. It is however too good a descent to avoid totally, if the opportunity exists.

Woodland, hard climbing, fast dusty descents and technical moorland singletrack, this is a great introduction to the area.


Route

1. Start at Osmotherley village and head up North End towards the Moors and Cote Ghyll.

2. Passing the national speed limit signs, a track to the left shows signs for ‘Swainstye Farm’ – take this and follow the bridleway as it climbs up towards Skarth Wood. Gates lead through to a terrific track that descends through a heather clad scene, towards ‘Skarth Nick’ . This really is a superb descent.

3. Crossing the road, turn left over the cattle grid and almost immediately take the BW (Cleveland Way) into the woods on the right and pedal on fine woodland trails, continuing on the Cleveland Way signs as it descends to your left (track junction.)

4. Descend and cross over the woodland track, keeping to the Cleveland Way and climb to Harfa Bank Farm, passing Harfa Bank Farm and continuing along the track in the image to the right. Another red coloured metal gate leads onto a metalled road – turn right) and head along the Scugdale valley, with Barker’s Crag above you to the right. This gate may be locked and require a clamber over.

5. At Scugdale Hall go through the gate, and take the track for cyclists signed to the left. This climbs on tricky ground up onto the Moors proper. A gate finally leads through onto Moorland. Rest here before a short track joins the main Moorland track, turning right and following the bridleway along Barker’s Ridge.

6. Keep to this bridleway, descending Arnsgill Ridge to Rye farm and tarmac. At Low Cote Farm go ahead and down the hill towards Hawnby for about 1/4 mile, before taking the bridleway through the gat to the right. This bridleway climbs on grassy tracks, before traversing a rocky moorland singletrack that will require good line choice and balance.

7. Rejoin the road and turn left towards ‘Square Corner’ and the chance to rest and take in the myriad of tracks that abound this area.

8. At Square Corner follow the road back towards Osmotherley until a BW leads off straight ahead at a corner and bend to the left. This rough track can be technical and descends rocky ground to the Sheepwash.

9. On descending the steep and rocky track down to the Sheepwash take care. It is extremely technical. Ride through the ford and turn left onto the tarmac road and head back to Osmotherley.




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Helmsley Loop

Helmsley Loop

Route Information

Stats: 19.9 miles (without Hawnby / Murton Grange alternative start) 2858 feet of ascent

OS Map: 

Refreshments

Ample in Helmsley, the home of ‘Thomas The Baker’ and numerous tea shops and pubs. If starting from Hawnby then the Hawnby Tea Rooms are superb, as is the pub in the village, where you can also stay over in some luxury whilst using it as a base for some great riding days.

Character

Starting with a pleasant gravel track through a wooded dale, the route takes you out into a little frequented part of the moors, before bringing you back to Helmsley via the ruins of Rievaulx Abbey. The route is suitable for riders wanting a reasonably long ride, without the hard technical sections of some of the moorland routes.

Most of the route is off road, on well surfaced gravel tracks, although the middle has a section which can be very muddy.

This is a Dylan Hayes route, from one of his cycle websites (www.mtb-routes.co.uk) and is an absolute belter that I’ve wanted to ride for some time. As I live nearer to Hawnby, that’s where I started from, parking just off the road near Murton Grange before heading off into some great woodland tracks that lead to the main route.


Route

1. Park in Helmsley. There is pay and display carpark near the centre of the town. Take the A 170 east towards Kirbymoorside. There is a cyclepath alongside the road for the first 1/2 mile. 1 and 1/4 miles from the market place, you will see a metal waymark on the left. Turn onto the BW and head north across a field. You will shortly join a gravel track through the woods. Follow the track which run parallel to the river, making sure you stay on the most obvious track, and ignore any side tracks.

2. Cross the road at SE 610 894, and pickup the continuation of the BW on the other side of the route, slightly to the left of where you met the road. Stay on the obvious track, crossing a minor tarmac road at SE 590 907. After climbing steadily, the track starts to descend. Just before you reach the B 1257, look for a BW sign on the left at SE 567 896. Turn onto the BW, and climb the very steep track. You’ll probably end up walking at some point as you climb the brutally steep slope.

3. At the top of the hill, the BW flattens out as it heads south west. Carry on along the BW until you reach the carpark at Newgate Bank (there are toilets here). At the main road turn left towards Helmsley. After 1/4 of a mile, look for an entrance to a BW on the right. Turn onto the BW and follow it down into the woods. You can get some speed up on the smooth grassy surface. Take care not to overshoot the sudden left turn, where the BW turns south. 10 yards after the turn, look for a turn to the right, heading onto a narrow path down into the woods. Follow this round a right hand bend until you arrive at the farm track, near the farm buildings. Turn left onto the track, and follow it until you see a BW gate on the right. Follow the narrow BW until you reach a road. Turn right onto the road and cross the bridge (at the time of writing the bridge was still being rebuilt following the floods of 2005).

4. Shortly after the bridge there is a turn to the left onto a bridleway which follows a farm track. Climb up the track, before turning off to follow the BW around the farm. Keep on the BW which rejoins a rough track. Eventually, after quite a lot of climbing, you’ll arrive at SE 559 875, near a ruined farm building.

5. Turn left and follow a BW down through the fields towards Tylas Farm. If conditions are muddy, stay on the BW past Tylas farm and follow the BW to SE 565 856. Pass the farm, and look for a stoney track climbing the hill to the right. Climb the track to Tylas Barn, and continue along the muddy farm track until you reach the road near Old Byland. Turn right on to the road and head towards Old Byland.

6. Pass through the pretty village, just after the road bears right, look for a BW waymark on the right. Go through the gate, and head down the steep grassy bank until you reach the edge of the woods. Turn left and head along the narrow and tricky track. This can be hard to ride when wet, as the surface is very slippery. The track then heads to the valley floor. There are a few hundred yards which can be very boggy all year, but conditions will improve soon. Carry on over the fields, until you reach a farm track. Again, this can be muddy when wet. Follow the track until you reach a concrete surfaced track. Turn left onto this track, and follow the track up the hill until you reach the road. Turn left onto the road and climb for 200 yard until you reach a farm track on the right. Take the track and descent for 200 yards until you reach a turn on the right. If you have taken the ‘wet weather’ option at Tylas Farm, you rejoin the route here.

7. Turn right (or left if you have come from Tylas Farm) and head down the stoney track, crossing a stone bridge. You will then start to climb, before descending again to the village of Rievaulx. Turn right and pass the impressive ruins of the abbey. Follow the road next to the river until you come to a ‘T’ junction. Turn left and head along the valley floor, until the road climbs up a steep hill. At the crossroads with the B 1257 turn right and head down the long hill to Helmsley and the start.

Alternative Start

Murton Grange start (adding 1.5 miles each way)

If you’d rather have Helmsley as a halfway halt, then the route can also be started from Murton Grange near Hawnby. This way it gives masses of options at halfway for food etc, and also leaves you nice and muddy for a pint in a country pub at Hawnby when you finish, or tea and cakes at the Hawnby Tea House.

Either way, these options can also fill your appetite at a halfway halt if starting from Helmsley. It’s just a nearer start for me to ride from Hawnby, and it adds some good woodland to the route.

1. Park at Murton Grange beside trees and off the road. Take the Hawnby road for approx 1/4 mile before heading off into the woods to the right on the bridleway.

2. Continue along this track as it gently winds it way along and down to the track junction at Hagg Wood where you join the main route: point 5 above.

3. Once around the loop and back at the BW junction, reverse back to Murton Grange and Hawnby.




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Great Hograh Moor and Baysdale

Great Hograh Moor

Route Information

Stats: 14 miles 2133 feet of ascent (medium route)

OS Map:

Refreshments

The ride starts and finishes at Ingleby Greenhow where you should be able to park up. We parked near the Dudley Arms PH, a great little country pub.

There’s also a fantastic butchers shop in the village, selling pies and flapjacks for you to stock up on in advance. Nearby Great Ayton has a good selection of cafes.

Character

If you like singletrack with some climbing and descending thrown in then this is the route for you. At only 14 miles it really packs a punch, starting off with a steep climb of Ingleby Bank over rough and technical terrain. Then the singletrack begins, giving you a taster of what’s on offer further along at Great Hograh Moor. A rolling ride back to Baysdale Abbey, before climbing moorland tracks again, then a superb descent of Ingleby Bank to finish, testing your line choice and handling skills.


Route

1. Starting from The Dudley Arms at Ingleby Greenhow, climb the lane (Stone Stoup Hill) that turns left and heads towards Kildale. As you leave the village a narrow junction (signed cul de sac) to the right – take this towards the moors.

2. Continue up, passing Bank Foot Farm and ignoring the BW to the right. Go through the metal gate into the trees and climb steeply on good forest tracks. It’s the middle track of the three that you need to take – heading up!

3. Reaching the end of the trees a large gate takes you onto the steep and rough climb of Ingleby Bank. No shame in walking sections of this; it is extremely rough and technical – great for coming down, but hard going up.

4. As you reach the top of the climb a BW junction is signed to your left by two metal posts with a chain between them. Ensure that it is the BW directly to the other side of the chain that you take. Here the singletrack begins, leading on from a short doubletrack introduction section. The singletrack spits you out on a good moorland hard packed shooting track with a doubletrack leading off opposite. Turn left on the shooting track and follow this all the way to the tarmc at Battersby Bank.

5. At Battersby Bank descend the steep tarmac to Baysdale Abbey, seen sitting in the picturesque valley below. As you descend this road, ignore the BW signs off to the left and continue down to the Abbey itself. Once at the Abbey a BW takes you to the left, passing agricultural buildings, though a gate and onto a good double track to the side of sheep meadows. Follow this track until it turns uphill at a wall towards Thorntree House (farm).

6. At Thorntree House follow the doubletrack as it climbs steeply through the small woodland to a large gate at the moor edge. The shooting track is seen to continue easliy ahead; however, we need to take the indistict track (BW) to the left that runs alongside the trees. Initially rough doubletrack, this soon merges into good singletrack that twists you around and across to join the shooting track further along.

7. Exiting onto the shooting track, turn left and descend the track at speed to the BW junction in the valley bottom near to the ford. Ignore the ford and the initial narrow track that you will see leading off to the right. Taking this will mean a bike hike or accidents. Instead, ride along a further 100 yards before taking the track down to your right, crossing the footbridge across the beck (stream) onto Great Hograh Moor.

8. The rough and rocky singletrack now climbs with a degree of technical difficulty onto easier singletrack above. Once past the difficulties enjoy the sweet singletrack across the moor as it rolls you along towards Westerdale.

9. Dropping down from the moor onto a narrow tarmac lane, turn left and descend to the ford at Hob Hole. A steep tarmac climb waits, testing your stamina before a welcome exit left onto the BW above Baysdale Beck. Follow this excellent track which varies between double and singletrack, rolling along and passing BW junctions to the right, before turning you through a narrow gate in the drystone wall and descending the rough meadow back down to Baysdale Abbey.

10. Once back at the Abbey a BW is signed in a meadow to the left of the road you descended earlier. This crosses the meadow before entering the trees and climbing towards the moorland. Exit the trees at the gate leading onto the moor and climb the shooting track onto Ingleby Moor. As the climbing eases a junction of tracks is reached on the left. Take this (BW) which turns you back NW towards Ingleby Bank. This excellent track eventually rejoins the shooting track you rode earlier. Cross straight over onto the singletrack and ride back to Ingleby Bank and the chained fence.

11. Once at Ingleby Bank lower your saddle, hold on tight and choose the right line as you descend rock steps and water ruts and follow the map back to Ingleby Greenhow and a well earnt rest.




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Walna Scar

Walna Scar

Route Information

Stats: 13.5 miles and 2430 feet of ascent

OS Map Link:

Refreshments

None – this is a full-on mountain route.

Character

This route is only included for completeness. Don’t actually bother with it – it’s dull, dull, dull from start to finish. Go and do a different route instead.

There, that’s got rid of those readers with no grasp of human psychology, leaving this route clear for just you and me, right? Because this route is almost embarrassingly good – just when you think it’s spoiled you enough, it serves up another juicy bit of singletrack or trailsy woodland.


Route

1. Head south from Torver along the A593 and fork right up the amusingly-named but unsignposted Hummer Lane. Climb steeply past a quarry entrance labelled Burlington. Where the lane levels out, a bridleway come in from the left. Then there’s a forest on the right. Turn into the forest road and trundle along this for a while, at speed.

2. At a small post, turn left down a joyous section of woodland singletrack. Turn left at the bottom on fire-road and look out for another small post marking a right fork back onto singletrack. Drop down to the road and swing north over the tiny packhorse of Water Yeat Bridge to Stephenson Ground.

3. This is some sort of MTB Valhalla, with two bridleways leaving from the same gate on the right. You’ll be back here soon but, for now, head north-west up a drove road onto a grassy moor. At the brow, admire the view (see above) down into the Duddon Valley and curve round to the left to pick up the good track (Park Head Road) rattling down to the south.

4. At the bottom of the steep descent, turn left to pick up a beautiful trail curving round the flank of Fox Haw. At Jackson Ground, swing north to cross the marshy ground alongside Long Mire Beck to rejoin the bridleway just north of the drove road section.

5. Head back to Stephenson Ground then take the other bridleway along the wall heading east-north-east into the Lickle valley. There looks to be a good forest track on the far bank but the bridleway sticks to the true right bank and it’s a superb climb, with innumerable tricky sections to maintain interest.

6. At the top, the Scafells peek over the brow. Counter-intuitively, we veer left to the Duddon side of the watershed. Pass old quarry workings, overlooked by the rocky fortress of White Maiden. (Under no circumstances veer right or the peaty mire of Caw Moss will gratefully accept you up to your axles).

7. Turn right at the Walna Scar road and climb to the watershed, swooping down the other side on rocky zigzags. Where the main track crosses the outflow from Goat’s Water, turn right (initially vague and marshy but developing into a grassy track through bracken then passing through old quarry workings) and follow the stream down into Torver, grinning insanely.




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Upper Borrowdale

Upper Borrowdale

Route Information

Stats: 10 miles and 1850 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

Honister Yew Tree, Grange cafe or Grange Cottage Tea Rooms

Character

You’ve got to love a valley with jaws. Is there a place name anywhere in England’s pastoral sweep more apt to stir the blood than the Jaws of Borrowdale? As redolent of adventure and exploration as the Gap of Darién, it speaks of heroic struggles through goblin-ambushed gorges to hidden kingdoms beyond.

And, for once, reality doesn’t disappoint. The wide scoop of the lower valley, with Derwentwater lying placidly in its basin, gives every appearance of terminating in the richly-wooded ramparts of Grange Fell and Castle Crag. But the intrepid explorer, machete clutched tight, finds a narrow slot cut by the rushing waters of the Derwent and a second Borrowdale reveals itself.

Best of all, you can get all of that without battling marauding orcs or contracting swamp fever. This is Wainwright’s “loveliest square-mile in Lakeland” and the adventure is open to any machete-less explorer who can find the B5289 on a map.

This ride, though short, takes in the finer legal highs around the upper valley. You can easily thread it onto a longer ride around the lower valley too. That would include the incomparably beautiful terrace of Catbells, also a longish road section along Derwentwater’s eastern shore and a tarmac haul up to Watendlath. Lots of people do that so let’s try something a little bit different, eh?

Start point: There’s a handy pull-in on the left (heading south) just after the drive to Troutdale Cottages.


Route

1. Take the bridleway to Troutdale. This is one of the most beautiful side-valleys in all Lakeland – a demi-paradise of craggy, tree-clad slopes. Keep the stream on your left and bear generally right. This is climbers’ country so make sure you don’t stray onto any of the paths going up to the left. If you’re not careful, you’ll end up carrying the bike across the slab-traverse on Troutdale Pinnacle and then you’ll be sorry.

2. The picture on the left shows the point at which the route-finding becomes tricksiest. With the stream just a few feet to your left and a footpath skirting it, the bridleway veers right, over a small rocky step, after which it becomes better defined. Cross a meadow (picture, right) with a sizeable boulder, admiring the twin cathedrals of Black Crag and Greatend Crag rising up to your left. Now drop down to the road.

3. Turn left on the road, poised to fork left onto bridleway 500m later, at Bowderstone Car Park. This takes you past the sensationally-balanced sugar cube and drops back down to the road.

4. Again, look out for a left, to Frith Wood, where the road leaves the trees. Climb, with enthusiasm, to an open fell with a beautiful ribbon of singletrack traversing round to the Hazel Bank descent.

5. Descend, with even more enthusiasm, to Rosthwaite. Avoid the road by taking the charming bridleway to Stonethwaite along the intake wall. Double back over Stonethwaite Bridge and rejoin the B-road at the notice-board an post-box.

6. Turn left and trundle up the road through Seatoller. Either turn right immediately after the village onto the permissive bridleway or keep going up the pass. Either way, you’ll gain a great trail skirting the flank of High Scawdel. This will lead to the peregrine-stooped rocks of Castle Crag and the great descent of Broadslack Gill to the beautiful banks of the loveliest square mile. Then you can coast down to Grange (choice of two great cafes) and the double-bridge back to the start.




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Sleddale and Swindale

Sleddale & Swindale

Route Information

Stats: 11.3 miles and 1234 feet of ascent

OS Map Link:

Refreshments

You’re kidding, right? Shap has the nearest traces of commerce.

Character

A short but wild loop into the desolate stretch of land between Shap and the High Street fells. Expect Cairngorm-like desolation and solitude, even on a Bank Holiday weekend. It might be worth selecting this route during a frosty or dry spell as there are a couple of sections that could be marshy. For film fans, Sleddale Hall is the scene of “Crow Crag” – Uncle Monty’s northern refuge in “Withnail and I.” It is therefore mandatory to scream, “Are you the farmer?” at any passing tractor, professing loudly to have come on holiday by mistake.


Route

1. There’s a handy layby on the road between Kemp Howe and the cattle grid, by the 254 m spot-height.

2. Tarmac-trundle up the valley. You might be well-advised to go through the “no authorised vehicles past this point” sign at Green Farm. The purist-approved route, climbing up to the low ridge of Stackhouse Brow, is not straightforward to follow.

3. Either way, gain a terrace at 425m and follow this past a deep defile on your left to a col with the obvious rectangular plantation of Brunt Tongue to your left.

4. Galumph down to the rudimentary bridge over Mosedale Beck and gain a rough bridleway heading north. This becomes better defined where it plummets into Dodd Bottom – this descent is a fine test-piece in snowy conditions.

5. Follow the road down Swindale to Truss Gap farm. Either splash the ford or teeter over the stepping stones and follow a track over t’moors contouring to your left. Old maps show this as footpath only but it’s now legitimate bridle track. This will join the United Utilities Road at Lanshaw Hill above Keld and a brief roll back to the start.




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Satterthwaie Saunter

Satterthwaite Saunter

Route Information

Stats: 23 miles and 2624 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

Grizedale visitor centre has ample facilities. We can’t really speak for the pub at Satterthwaite, as it was closed recently when I went. It was okay years ago when last I went in. Hawkshead has some good spots, including a great little cafe near the Red Lion PH.

Parking is easy and free at the bottom of Moor Lane, just south of Satterthwaite.

Character

This route is excellent at all times of the year. There is lots of climbing involved, but some fantastic descents too, all on good firm tracks. It takes in the North Face Trail, and also allows the rider to exit and cut short the ride at various points, should the weather force a retreat. It skips around Hodge Close, giving you a taste of what’s on offer across that way, before climbing back up to the top of the forest and storming down Moor Lane to finish. Having ridden this recently, it’s a belter if you can handle the wet slate, which can take the wheel in unintended directions – be warned and have good winter tyres on the bike.


Route

1. Starting from the car parking area south of Satterthwaite, cycle up the road towards the Grizedale visitor centre. After approximately a mile, a turning off into the woods at Bogle Crag leads onto good forest tracks. Stay on this track as it winds its way above Bracken Wood, and a bridleway crosses the track, leading you down left and to the visitor centre.

2. Passing alongside the buildings and on the main tarmac road, turn right directly after the district forestry offices. A bridleway sign also leads this way, taking you to the start of the North Face Trail. At the end of this short lane is a 5 bar gate marking the track which goes uphill and into the forest (North Face Trail). This climbs steadily on a good surface, joining the forest tracks; turn right and cycle along for 100 yards befor turning onto the North Face Trail on the left.

3. Stay on the North Face Trail through this side of Grizedale. It initially climbs, twisting and turning uphill, with some tricky rock sections, but is easily rideable by most mtbers, including older children who have some experience.

4. We provide the Grizedale cycling map as a pdf at the foot of this page (or link to the right). Print it and take it along with you. Just after the section marked as ‘Topsy Turvy’, the trail rejoins the forest road/ track, and a bridleway to the left takes you down a steep and rocky track, all the way to Hawkshead. A small gate halfway down slows you slightly, but you can really enjoy the descent, letting the suspension take the strain as you pick your line.

5. At the bottom, turn left onto Barnfield, a small housing area, which leads out onto the B5285 towards Skelwith Bridge and Ambleside – unless you want to stop for tea and cake.

6. At the next junction (left), turn left, staying on the B5285, which is also signed towards ‘Brantwood’. After a couple of hundred yards a junction to the right leads onto Skinner How Lane. This narrow tarmac lane leads you onto the excellent tracks around Hodge Close area, and also keeps this a good year around ride.

7. At the next junction turn right and then almost immediately left up the lane/ track signed as a boat (byway open to all traffic) and ‘unsuitable for motor vehicles.’ This track rises and falls, passing Tarn Hows as you cycle across Arnside Intake, all the way out to ‘Mole End’ and the A593. Cross straight over the main road and cycle now along Smithy Brow, all the way to Hodge Close Quarries. If your legs have it in you, detour and circumnavigate Little Fell before rejoing the lane leading out of the quarries. The detour is worth it – trust me.

8. Rejoining the A593, turn right towards Coniston, then turning left into the bridleway at High Yewdale. This track leads all the way through to High Waterhead and another road. Turn right again and then left along the narrow road signed to Brantwood.
Opposite some white washed cottages, a bridleway on the left climbs steeply back into Grizedale. This can be tricky in places due to tired legs and rocky sections.

9. On reaching the high areas of the forest again, a crossroads of tracks becomes familiar. Head straight on and ride around the area known as Carron Crag (viewpoint), before re-joining the North Face Trail at ‘The Great Escape’, before this again brings you out onto forest tracks.

10. At the next T junction of tracks, a bridleway is signed straight ahead (creating a crossroads). This bridleway should be followed all the way to a junction of bridleways at the top of Parkamoor. Now turn onto the bridleway/ track to the left (Moor Lane), hang onto your pants and ride at speed all the way down to the finish of the route, crossing a couple of forest tracks on the way down. The upper sections have some technical elements, which can be slippery in the wet. It is after all a slate bedded track. It will test your line choices and bike balance, providing a superb finish to the days riding.