Windermere Cycling Loop
Stats: 38.5 miles and 3163 feet of ascent
I shall consider it a personal slight if you don’t grab a bite and a mug in the Sun Cottage Cafe in Hawkshead, the warmest, friendliest place in the world. I can’t find a site to link to but ring ahead on 015394 36123 if you want to check opening times or forewarn Paul and Tracey of an incoming horde of hungry cyclists.
This magnificent loop is a great introduction to Lakeland road riding if you want to avoid the contour-crunching slopes of the steeper passes and the flying metal of the faster roads. It describes an anticlockwise circuit around Windermere taking in the shy damson groves of the Lyth Valley and the woods of Graythwaite.
1. Pootle north to Bowness on the A5074 then leave on the A592 Rayrigg Road.
2. Go to Ambleside on the A591 (admittedly, there’s a fair amount of flying metal here but you can escape much of it on the cycle-path)
3. Bear left at Waterhead lights onto the A5095, left again at Loughrigg bridge on the A593 to Coniston and a third left at Clappersgate to take the B5286 to Hawkshead.
4. From Hawkshead, trundle south to Newby Bridge. Your satnav, if you have one, might nag you to stay on the A590 here but the flying-metal coefficient is sky-high so give it a swerve. Take two more lefts (the second is at the roundabout onto the A592 to Bowness and Fell Foot Garden) then fork right onto Fell Foot Brow (signposted to Cartmel Fell, Bowland Bridge and Gummers How Picnic Area)
5. Grind up the brow, then swoop down to Bowland Bridge. Keep going past the highly-recommended Hare and Hounds to regain the A5074 and a short retrace back to the start.