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Ripon and Farnham Loop

Ripon & Farnham Loop

Route Information

Stats: 21 miles and  2797 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

A good cafe exists at Morrison’s. If you’re staying in the area, Ripon has some good hotels: The Unicorn, in the Market Square, and the Spa Hotel.

Character

This is a great route for speed. In the main it is flat and fast roads and takes in some glorious villages and the superb A168. This road parallels the A1M, is a good fast tarmac surface with a great wedge of road over the white line. At 36km it is a serious ride and you can make it as easy or as fast as you like.


Route

1. Head out of Ripon on the Harrogate road, passing the service station and left at the traffic lights.

2. At the roundabout with the A61 turn left onto Ripon bypass and continue along to the Junction with Knaresborough Road. This is a fast section of road, slightly downhill.

You will be crossing traffic so be careful.

3. Continue along Knaresborough road towards the village of Bishop Monkton. Straight over the cross roads. This lane quickly turns into Red Hills Lane and again into Oucher Lane.

4. At the ‘T’ junction with Apron Lane on the outskirts of Burton Leonard turn left towards Copgrove.

5. At Copgrove village turn right onto Copgrove Lane. In the next small hamlet of Occaney keep right on Copgrove Lane. Don’t be tempted to keep left as this will take you north east towards Staveley. If you’re feeling the strain you can use this as a short cut through to Minskip, cutting about 2 to 3 km of the ride.

6. Copgrove Lane will end at cross roads. You have a choice here. Either straight across down Sandy Lane which is steep down hill section but be careful at the next junction as it will come up on you quickly. Turn left at the ‘T’ junction … or … turn right towards Farnham village. Ride into Farnham and turn left onto Farnham Lane.

7. Farnham Lane brings you to Boroughbridge Road A6055. Turn left and ride towards Minskip. Lovely flat even tarmac, all the way to the A1.

8. Cross over the A1 and turn left at the roundabout junction onto A168. Now you’re on the fastest part of the ride. If you have some gears left and the legs are ok really push on here. You will enjoy it. Straight over the next roundabout at Roecliffe

9. Left at next roundabout or if you doing ok and there room left in the tank continue on to the next roundabout, then left and left again back over the A1. Ride back through Sharrow and back to Ripon Bypass. South on the Bypass back to where you started.

10. Having crossed the A1 your faced with an incline on B6265 which will look daunting at this stage. Keep going it’s not as bad as it looks. At the top you’ll be rewarded with a fast straight towards Ripon with some good corners left and right into Ripon.

11. Continue over the River Ure Bridge into the City of Ripon. At the roundabout with Ripon Bypass turn left onto the bypass. Straight over the next roundabout.

12. The last sting in the tail of this ride is the deceptive incline back to the southernmost roundabout. At this stage your thighs will not appreciate the incline but push on and keep going, keep spinning and you’ll get there.

13. Turn right at the roundabout back onto Harrogate Road. Be careful to check behind you before making this turn. It’s a quick road and vehicles will come up on you.

14. At the traffic lights turn right back into Morrison’s car park. Warm down and a cup of tea can be gained from the in-store cafe or from MacDonalds across the road.




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Muker to Askrigg

Muker to Askrigg

Route Information

Stats: 17 miles and 2125 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

Muker has a lovely little pub, but for more facilities, get along to Reeth. Nearby Grinton Youth Hostel is great, but I’d recommend the accommodation at the Dales Mountain Bike Centre, where Stuart and company will look after you and your bike.

Character

This route is one of those rides you will come back to time after time. When the weather is good this could simply be one of the finest upland routes in the country. Thigh burning inclines and fast tarmac descents lead you into stunning Yorkshire Dales villages. Views to die for and you could take on the moors without seeing a car. Trust me, you will enjoy this one!


Route

1. Park up at the car park just by the bridge in Muker Village. Remember this is a loop route and you could just as easily park up and start anywhere around the loop including Askrigg. Personally I find the anti-clockwise route the best way round as it provides some interesting climbs but more importantly the longest descents.

2. After a bike and kit check follow the B6270 west out of the village towards Thwaites.

3. Turn left onto Cliffe Gate Road and continue up the hill. You are faced with superb quality two lane tarmac. Take in the views as you go and it might help to take your mind off your legs.

4. This lane continues into the valley with the valley bottom far down on your left – very much alpine like at this point.

5. Start to descend into fast tarmac. Again take in the views, now on your right.

6. Follow the lane past Simonstone Hall and Hardraw Force on your right.

This tall, stunning waterfall is famous for being filmed in the Robin Hood Film ‘Prince of Thieves’, where Kevin Costner swam naked and is worthy of a look at some point. The waterfall not Kevin Costner!

http://www.hardrawforce.com/index.htm

7. At the lane end turn left towards Askrigg. You will gradually reach the outskirts of Askrigg and before long reach the market square. Take a break and refuel here as more climbing is in front of you.

8. Follow the road through the market square and when it bends round to the right follow the sign for Muker which is straight on. This is Moor lane. Start climbing again. Keep left onto Cross Top.

9. Simply follow this lane which is single track tarmac but still good quality right over the moor top. Couple of cattle grids to cross

10. This route concludes with a long drop into Muker. Fast with some great cornering to take on at speed. Turn left at the B6270 and back to the car in Muker.




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Hawes to Dent Station

Hawes to Dent Station

Route Information

Stats: 21 miles and 1193 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

Hawes has a great selection of accommodation, with an excellent youth hostel to boot. The cafes are great and serve some great food, with steaming mugs of tea.

Character

The area around Hawes is typical of the Yorkshire Dales countryside. Whichever way you go, at some point you will have to climb out of the town. This route takes you on well looked after tarmac to the infamous Dent railway Station.

Dent Station is the highest railway station in England and by the time you get there you will understand what that means. From there you travel on to Garsdale Station and back to Hawes.


Route

1. After a bike and kit check ride out of Hawes through the one way system west on the A684 passing through the market square.
2. Turn left and climb up and out of Hawes on the B6255 which is the road to Ribblehead and onwards to Ingleton.

3. There is quite a climb here so take your time. Ride on through several miles of moor crossing road taking in all the views of the Yorkshire Dales.

4. Turn right at the sign posted junction for Cowgill.As you drop down with plantation on your left you will have sight of Arten Gill Viaduct in front of you which is a spectacular view. You will drop down to the left of this and underneath the railway.

5. As you drop down to the River Dee you will pick up several picturesque bridges and some white washed cottages. There are two bridges to cross on the main road. Pass the Sportsman Inn on the left near to one of the crossing points and continue on to Cowgill.

6. On the outskirts of the little village of Cowgill you will cross a bridge and make your way up a lane called Coal Road.

This is the second right. Don’t be tempted to take the first right as you’ll end up in someone’s driveway.

7. The Coal Road turns into Lea Yeat Brow and makes its way from around 250m by the river to Dent Station at 351m (1150ft) and continues up to over 500m.

Take a welcome break at Dent Station and enjoy a photo opportunity. You never know, if you time it right there may be a steam engine coming along the Settle to Carlisle line.

It’s also a great idea to stop and look behind you once or twice. If it’s good weather and clear of low cloud the views back down in the valley are superb.

8. Continue along this lane and drop down to Garsdale Head village just after the second railway station of the day. Turn right at the junction

9. Follow the A684 back towards Hawes.

10. The A684 will take you through Appersett village and onwards to Hawes.

11. You will cross the point where you started climbing and back into Hawes. Make sure you follow the one way system back to the car park.




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Dales Altournative

Yorkshire Dales Altournative

Route Information

Stats:  36 miles and 4300 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

The Corn Mill Tea Room or the Rose and Crown in Bainbridge, The Tan Hill Inn, Muker Tea Room

Character

This is a magnificent loop, taking in three meaty climbs and some terrific scenery. It dodges around some of the Tour de France route to offer alternatives to the most well-travelled ways.The Pedal North team did this route in a strong sou’westerly, which made the stretch from The Disputes to Tan Hill a little draggy but it was still a superb day out.


Route

1. From the triangular village green, pass to the right of the Rose & Crown.
2. Cross the Ure and turn right towards Askrigg.

3. Go up through the village, passing the Crown Inn and fork left onto the minor road – Moor Road which is signposted “Muker, 5.”

4. The entire purpose of your life is now to climb, climb and climb a bit more. Turn right at the first junction on leaving Askrigg behind (signed “Reeth, 8”) and, keep climbing. Sublime views of limestone escarpments abound, and you grind away the gears to the top at The Fleak (OS Map).

5. All climbs end, eventually. Top out and begin one of the most delightful descents in the district – swoopy and intense but sustained, with a glorious outlook over Swaledale.

6. At the 7.5 tonne exclusion signs at the bottom, turn left over the Swale and right onto the B6270. Pass through Healaugh as you trundle along to Reeth, turning left to Langthwaite.

7. Up, up, and up Arkengarthdale, alongside miles of moorland that sweeps before your eyes, until you see the welcome outline of the Tan Hill Inn shivering against the moor.

8. Turn left just after the pub and whizz down to Keld. Mind the hairpin at the bottom.

9. Head down the valley to Thwaite. The Tour de France wannabees will all be girding loins for Buttertubs but we have a much quieter pass in mind. Go through Muker.

10. About a mile after Muker, turn right at a low barn, signed “Askrigg 5”

11. Last climb – Promise. Only the initial 1 in 4 is demanding; the rest is steady and there’s some intriguing gully scenery under Oxnop scar. The final twisting section is not dissimilar to Winnats Pass (Peak District); closed tightly in by steep sided fells that guide the way to the final summit of the day.




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Coverdale Loop

Coverdale Abbey & Climbs

Route Information

Stats:  30.5 miles and steep …

OS Map:

Refreshments

Nearby Leyburn has an excellent choice of accommodation and places to eat. There’s also Middleham not to far away, which is a spectacular stop-off point, with Richard III’s castle and an amazing tea shop. At Cray, you can stop off at the White Lion Inn, a 17th Century drovers inn, and have a pint. Kettlewell also has some excellent cafes and hostelries for a break along the way.

Character

This road route is simply stunning. It takes in a long stretch of the hidden gem which is Coverdale. Once a famous route for merchants and their cart horses between Wensleydale and Wharfedale, this route seems almost purpose made for biking. You’ll ride along quiet lanes, through the valley bottom and the hamlets of Horsehouse and Carlton.

The start is really down to you but I’m going to start this at West Witton on the A684, west of Leyburn. You could just as easily start in Kettlewell (although if you do this make sure you warm up) as either route out is up and it will be a tense start.


Route

1. Take the A684 west out of West Witton. This is a great road but can be a little busy on occasions, especially in the summer with tourists travelling around.

2. Take the left turn towards West Burton on the B6160. This road starts out reasonably flat but has a sting in it. At West Burton cross the bridge and follow the road through the village, keeping right and on towards Grassington.

The road will steadily climb, rising from around 200m to 425m. Take a break at the top and take in some of the waterfalls you can see from the roadside.

3. The road descends through alpine style scenery and bends in the road, into the hamlet of Cray. Pub on the right if you need a drink.

4. The road continues to descend all the way into the village of Buckden, then onto Starbotton before landing at Kettlewell.

5. Plenty of refreshments holes and a shop in Kettlewell. This village I spent some time working on the film Calender Girls so I know it pretty well. Keep left through the village leaving on Middle Lane and out of the village on Cam Gill Road.

6. Having refreshed yourself you should be in the mood for some serious riding, and believe me when I say the next stretch is serious. A long steep section on Cam Gill Road elevating to around 500m. If you’re like me you may want to have the camera at hand ready for a photo of the stunning views back down the valley.

7. Once you reach the cattle grid you’ve cracked it. Well done. Have a drink. Now the payoff is the fast route down the other side into Coverdale. The views are simply spectacular.

8. Pass through hidden hamlets of Woodale, Braidley and Horsehouse (the Thwaite Arms on the right).

At Braidley if you look up to your right you may see ‘Dead Man’s Hill’. A ghostly bump which comes with a Dales ghostly story.

In the 1700’s, three merchants were found at the hill beheaded. People thought a local landlady and her daughter were responsible, but this was never proven. Their descendants may still live nearby…

9. Continue on to Carlton and when through the village take the left fork towards Melmerby. At the outskirts of Melmerby, the route turns left and continues through the village. This is the last steep section of the road but nothing like what you have already suffered.

10. This road continues up the hill with Middleham High Moor (race horse training ride) on your right and Penhill Park on your left.

11. Drop over the other side and fast decent into West Witton to put a final smile on your face.




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Coverdale Abbey and Climbs

Coverdale Abbey & Climbs

Route Information

Stats:  34 miles and 2650 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

The tearooms at Jervaulx Abbey are amongst the very best in the Dales – indeed, anywhere. In terms of a stop along the way, we’ve taken this route into Leyburn, where all manner of options await you. When parking at the tearooms, please try to use the far end of the car park whilst you’re away cycling.

Character

This route takes part of the 2014 Tour de France route – in reverse – climbing steadily to the historic Dales village of Middleham, with Richard IIIs castle and gallops. You then enter beautiful Coverdale, climbing along narrow, winding lanes, before descending and crossing the River Cover for the second time. The road then takes a steep ascent to Pen Hill, before a narrow twisting, and somewhat dangerous descent (if not taken carefully) to West Witton and Wensleydale. An easy amble in Leyburn brings on some more quiet lanes to finish this super ride, before more tea and cakes at Jervaulx tearooms.


Route

1. From Jervaulx Abbey, turn left onto the A6108 and ride along the 2014 Tour de France Grand Depart route (in reverse), all the way to Middleham. The road climbs at a steady gradient to East Witton, before bending right, through the village and dropping at speed to Cover Bridge, where it bends left and gradually rises to historic Middleham and the Castle of Richard III.

2. At Middleham, the road dinks right, around the village cross; however, ignore this, instead leaving the A6108 to the junction on the left of the road (in effect straight on), climbing through the village, and exiting towards the famous horse racing gallops that lead into Coverdale. An initial sharp climb soon eases off, as you wind and roll along to Coverham Abbey, where a small chapel now sits. Take the very minor junction to the left, signed ‘West Scrafton’ and ‘Swineside’.

3. This minor lane winds its way down to the River Cover, crossing via a delightful old packhorse bridge, in a glorious setting that hasn’t changed since medieval times. Once over the bridge, follow the road around to the right and climb steadily as the road cuts through Coverdale, with superb views all around.

4. At West Scrafton, the road twists and turns its way through the hamlet, before descending back down to the River Cover. Take care here, as the road may well have been re-surfaced with fresh grit, and the twisting nature may catch you out. If taken with respect, the descent is superb and very enjoyable.

5. Another packhorse bridge takes you back over the River Cover, before the road climbs up to meet the main lane through Coverdale, joining Middleham with Kettlewell. Turn right at this junction and ride into Carlton village. Once through the village, a junction left is signed for ‘Melmerby/ Wensley/ Leyburn’ – take this and begin the climb to Pen Hill. A mile or so up the road, Melmerby is reached, and a junction left is take, signed for ‘West Witton’, continuing the climb.

6. Open moorland guides the way to the summit, as the road then descends, crossing a cattle grid and twisting sharply through severe and steep bends, all the way down to West Witton. Take care on this descent, as it is steep and very twisting and may catch the over-enthusiastic out. Safely negotiated, West Witton is reached, and the junction with the A684 main road through Wensleydale. Turn right and cycle down at speed to Wensley and the bridge that crosses the river Ure, then climbing up to Leyburn and a break.

7. Leave Leyburn on the A6108 signed to Richmond, climbing towards Bellerby. A half mile out of Leyburn, take the minor junction on the right towards Garriston. This level and straight road allows the opportunity for some head down riding, before crossroads are reached and you turn right, descending to the A684 at Stoop House Farm. Cross the A684 with care, then ride under the railway bridge, before continuing the descent, down towards the two rivers of the Ure and the Cover at Ulshaw – but DO NOT cross the rivers…

8. Instead, turn left and take the narrow lane that visits Low Hutton and Thornton Grange, along hedgerows and meadows, to a ‘T-junction’, where you turn right signed ‘ Newton Le Willows’. Stay on this quiet lane, ignoring the Newton Le Willows junction when reached, instead taking the next junction right, opposite Cocked Hat Farm, onto Marriform Lane.

9. At the next crossroads, head straight over, signed ‘Jervaulx’ and stay on this lane until it joins with the A6108 once more. Turn right and cycle back along to the tearooms and a well earnt rest.




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Rusland Valley

Rusland Valley

Route Information

Stats:  20.5 miles and 2885 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

The Sun Cottage Cafe in Hawkshead is ideally placed.

Character

A charming tour of the Rusland Valley, better known to mountain bikers heading for the Grizedale centre, returning via the quiet side of Coniston. There’s a maze of lanes so either download our attached GPX file or proceed in a relaxed fashion, not worrying too much if you take the most direct route. This route is easily extended by heading further north at Hawkshead and adding another northern road loop.


Route

1. There are lots of lanes in a complex mesh so rely on signs leading you to Satterthwaite, then Grizedale.

2. From the adventure centre, head north to Hawkshead and a refuel.

3. Just north of Hawkshead, take the left to Brantwood on the B5285.

4. Dropping down on the Coniston side, take the left fork by the well. Skirt round to gain the east bank of Coniston.

5. Pass Brantwood and keep going to the very foot of the lake. This is sacred ground for Ramsonites as Peel Island was the model for Wild Cat Island and Allan Tarn was the basis for the Octopus Lagoon.

6. If you haven’t done enough climbing, you can take the left up Bessy Bank signed to Oxen Park. Our route, however, pleasantly skirts the edge of the National Park around Tottlebank and Bouth, returning over the causeway and a short climb beyond the Rusland to the start.




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Low Wray and Hawkshead Hill

Low Wray & Tarn Hows

Route Information

Stats:  16 miles and 1650 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

We started this route off from Low Wray National Trust Campsite. There is a National Trust visitor car park at Wray Castle. However, the loop can just as well be started from either: Ambleside or Coniston, giving an easier start, or Hawkshead, where there are a great range of facilities on offer to suit everyone.

Character

Albeit short in distance, don’t underestimate this route. It climbs quite quickly, with only a short opportunity to warm into it. Dropping into Coniston at speed on twisting lanes, care should be taken. These narrow Lakeland roads can have unfamiliar drivers along them. The final stretch allows the opportunity to stretch out and roll along back to Low Wray – and do the loop again!


Route

1. From Wray Castle turn left onto the narrow lane and begin the twisting climb through High Wray to Gillbank before descending to the road junction near Hawkshead. Turn right crossing the bridge before turning right again towards ‘Ambleside/ Coniston’, keeping the car park to your left and the campsite to your right as you pass through Hawkshead on the B5285.

2. Once through Hawkshead rolling fields and isolated properties either side of the road open up the views. Take the next left signed ‘Hawkshead Hill / Coniston’; this is where the long climb begins. A 1 1/2 mile long slog up the narrow twisting lane, with high hedgerows keeping any wind at bay until you summit at High Cross. Time now to enjoy the descent to Coniston. Beware of the tight bends on this descent with some loose gravel on the road edges in places.

3. The Lake comes into view just before Coniston and the road is followed to the edge of the village. Turn right onto Shepherds Bridge Lane, signed for the ‘Coniston Sports and Social Centre’. This short lane soon meets a junction with the A593 (Yewdale Road) signed right towards Ambleside – take this.

4. The road rolls along steadily, passing Yew Tree Tarn on the left. The road twists and turns through Skelwith Bridge before reaching Clappersgate where a turning right is taken signed ‘Hawkshead’. The tight twisting short descent goes over the bridge, passing the Brathay Trust building to your left, continuing on for 1 1/2 mile to a junction left with a very narrow lane signed to ‘Low Wray’ – take this.

5. A short climb then leads you back on more twisting lanes lined with hedgerows to the campsite and Wray Castle.




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Low Wray and Tarn Hows

Low Wray & Tarn Hows

Route Information

Stats:  11 miles and 1370 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

Ice creams at Tarn Hows car park, and toilets at that location. Drunken Duck pub is also a good venue if required. However, nearby Ambleside and Hawkshead have all you need.

Character

This is either an ideal morning / evening spin for you or a more challenging family ride for the youngsters. Whilst short in miles it makes up for it in the ascents, with steep prolonged climbing and some serious descending on narrow twisting country lanes. A great little ride for warming up your Lake District legs on arrival for a few days cycling.


Route

1. From Wray Castle turn right onto the narrow lane and twist your way down to the junction with the B5286. Turn right towards Ambleside and ride easily along, passing Pullwood Bay estate gatehouse on the right just before a junction on the left signed for ‘Coniston / Tarn Hows’.

2. Take this turning left and climb steeply on the narrow lane as it ascends guided by hedgerows, trees and drystone walls with great views across the surrounding countryside.

3. Pass through the crossroads by the Drunken Duck Public House and continue upwards towards Tarn Hows. This narrow lane passes through the tiny hamlet of Nipe Fold with its neat white washed cottages and reaches a signed junction where the road bends and climbs right – signed ‘Tarn Hows’ . Take this climb and continue upwards.

4. The road narrows and climbs more steeply, reaching a series of junctions left and right amidst the wooded fells. Take the junction right signed ‘Tarn Hows’. This is where we’re heading and there’s more climbing to be done!

5. A cattle grid is crossed as you reach the summit and the road eventually opens up with expansive views across to the Langdales. Tarn Hows comes into view and a car park to the left inidacates the toilets and ice creams if required.

(note: If you fancy a mixed route, there’s a great bridleway from the car park, dropping through trees to Coniston)

6. For those on the roadie route take the twisting descent to the B5285, taking care on the tight bends and loose gravel. Good brakes and care are required on this potentially tricky descent.

7. At the bottom of this testing descent is the junction with the B5286. Turn left and climb up to Hawkshead Hill, then dropping down steeply to the junction on the right signed back to ‘Low Wray’.
If you’ve got time, take another loop in! Alternatively cycle on into Ambleside for a brew – job done.




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Kirkstone and Shap

Kirkstone & Shap

Route Information

Stats:  53 miles and 3850 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

Wilf’s cafe at Staveley, Mortal Man at Troutbeck, Brotherswater Inn, Patterdale Hotel, Granny Dowbekin’s Tea Rooms at Pooley Bridge.

Character

A grand loop patrolling the perimeter of Wainwright’s Far Eastern Fells, with two good-value pulls and some beautiful scenery. You’ll probably know the delights of Kirkstone and Ullswater but, if you’ve only ever crossed Shap by motorway, you’ll be surprised how enjoyable is the descent into Longsleddale.


Route

1. Start in Staveley, heading west. Join the A591 and go west for a mile, turning right as you leave Ings (signposted to High Borrans)

2. Switchback across the flank of Sour Howes, with beautiful views across the Rothay valley to the Coniston and Langdale fells.

3. Turn right on the A592 and follow this up the Troutbeck valley, over Kirkstone and down to Brotherswater, Patterdale and the shores of Ullswater.

4. At the end of the lake, turn right to Pooley Bridge on the B5320.

5. Where the road veers left, turn right to Celleron and Askham.

6. Go south through Askham and Butterwick, then turn right in Bampton, over the humpback bridge signposted to Haweswater and Mardale.

7. Swing round to the left, ignoring the right turn to Burnbanks. After the bridge across the Haweswater outflow, turn left at an unsigned staggered junction.

8. Keep contouring the flanks of the fells, sticking to the lane until you meet the A6.

9. Follow the A6 down through glorious, sinuous curves until you see a hard right turn signposted to Longsleddale. Take it.

10. At the bottom, turn left over the River Sprint at Garnett Bridge, signposted to Burneside. If you start to feel a nostalgic familiarity with the landscape around you, this isn’t an accident; Longsleddale was the inspiration for Postman Pat’s Greendale.

11. After a slight climb, turn right into Potter Fell Road. This isn’t signed but there’s a stone-posted gate on the left and a 6’6″ sign coming the other way.

12. At the end, turn hard right by a mossy wall and a stream overhung by trees. By now, you should be able to smell the jacket potatoes baking at Wilf’s so get yourself carbed up.




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