Trough of Bowland Cycling Route
Stats: 35 miles and 2800 feet of ascent
Refreshments: There are many opportunities to choose from: Cobble Corner at Chipping. Puddleducks at Dunsop Bridge. Snack van (seasonal) at the bottom of Langden Beck. The Priory at Scorton is very cyclist-friendly (they even have their own cycle shop)
Character: A magnificent loop around the Western Bowland fells, with a variety of cleft moorland, estate farmland and coastal plain. This is my staple road ride.
1. From Garstang, head south towards Catterall. At a mini-roundabout by a vet’s, turn left into Dimples Lane.
2. At the end of the lane, turn left into Bruna Lane and follow that over the canal and the M6.
3. Turn right into Sandholme Lane. Follow this to a stone bridge overhung by trees. Turn left into Butt Hill Lane. Keep climbing for over mile, passing Cobble Hey Farm, where the road becomes Hobbs Lane.
4. Turn left into Bleasedale Lane. Follow this up, then through three successive dips until you join Oakenclough Lane coming in from the right at Wickens Farm.
5. Follow lanes to Chipping. There are several possibilities, all of roughly equal length.
6. Go straight through Chipping and, shortly after the Gibbon Bridge Hotel, turn left, signposted to Whitewell.
7. Pass the Inn at Whitewell and head upriver to Dunsop Bridge. This landscape has a slightly Scottish feel, I always think, as if you could be wending your way up a minor Cairngorm Glen.
8. Take a detour into Dunsop Bridge if hungry or keep going straight up the Trough road. Dig in.
9. Descend past the Marshaw pines (another touch that hints at Rothiemurchus Forest) and look out for a left turn (signposted to Garstang). Take it.
10. Follow the rise and fall of the moorland, heading broadly SSW, with good views out to Morecambe Bay and the southern Lakes. Go straight on at a stop sign.
11. Go straight through the village of Scorton. Just after you cross Gubberford Bridge, there’s a tiny, unsigned left turn. This is a quiet lane leading back into the centre of Garstang.