The Lake District & Cumbria
Cycling and MTB
There are a number of cycle tracks in the Lake District & Cumbria area suitable for family cycling, though with young children you may need to select your route with stops and refreshments in mind. I hope you find the following useful.
Miles Without Stiles 37: Keswick Railway Path – 6 miles Keswick to Threlkeld and back
The Old Railway Line and Castlerigg Stone Circle – 6 miles Grade: Short – Easy. Relatively flat cycling on smooth tracks with no route-finding challenges. Suitable for all bikes.
Swinside Circuit – 8 miles Grade: Easy – Short. Suitable for all bikes
Ullswater the lakeside road from Pooley Bridge and Howtown is 4 miles and you have the option to take the Steamer back
For the more dedicated and experienced
The Walney to Wear or Whitby Cycle Route – Walney Island, Barrow-in-Furness to Wearmouth in Sunderland (153 miles) or Whitby (179 miles).
Cumbria Way Cycle Route (C.W.C.R.) – 72 / 80 miles from Ulverston in the South Lakes up through Lake District to Keswick then onto Carlisle.
Bird’s Eye Kendal – Kendal, Natland & Mealbank – 8.5 miles Start/finish: Peppercorn Lane Car Park, Kendal (additional car parking nearby at Parish Church and Dowker Lane Car Parks) Grade: Short / hard. All on-road with short sections of steep downhill and junctions with A685 which require caution.
Cycle and See – Arnside and Silverdale AONB – Arnside to Kirkby Lonsdale 26 miles (41km) Moderate/Challenge – Holme to Hutton Roof 11 miles (17km) Challenge – Warton, Silverdale & the Lancaster Canal 13 miles (20km) Moderate – Warton to Arkholme 14 miles (22.5km) Moderate/Challenge – Heversham to Farleton & Beetham 11 miles (17km) Easy/Moderate –
Cycling around the Solway Coast 5 do-in-a-day rides on easy to follow circular routes from Silloth, Kirkbride and Carlisle
Cycling in Coniston – 3 do-in-a-day circular rides on quiet roads, country lanes and tracks – Tarn Hows 8.7 miles Grade: Short-Challenge.Mix of road, forest road and mostly good roadside or woodland track –
Little Langdale 9.3 miles (15km) Grade: Short-Challenge. Off-road is rough in places so favours mountain bike use –
Coniston Water & Subberthwaite Common, Lowick Bridge and back: 17.5m (28km) or With Subberthwaite Common loop: 22.5m (36km) Lowick Bridge and back: Medium-Easy With Subberthwaite Common loop Grade: Medium- Moderate. On-road or cycle path, except for short section of track after Subberthwaite Common and Torver jetty
Cycle Route from Kirkby Stephen: Eden Rivers and Brough Castle Ride – 16+ miles Grade: Medium – Moderate (all on road) Start/finish: The Upper Eden Visitor Centre, Market Square, Kirkby Stephen (download pdf)
Cycle Route from Kirkby Stephen: Mallerstang and Pendragon Castle Ride – 12.5 miles Grade: Medium – Hard (all on road) Start/finish: The Upper Eden Visitor Centre Kirkby Stephen (download pdf)
Cycle Route from Kirkby Stephen: Villages and Viaducts – 12.5 miles Grade: Medium – Hard (on and off road) Start/finish: The Upper Eden Visitor Centre, Market Square, Kirkby Stephen (download pdf)
Cycle Routes from Penrith: Edge of Lakeland – 31 miles Grade: Long – Moderate, all on-road except stony track between edge of town and Newton Rigg campus Start/finish: Sandgate Car Park (download pdf)
Cycle Routes from Penrith: To Greystoke and Back – 15 miles Grade: Medium – Moderate, all on-road and cycle path except stony track between Newton Rigg campus and edge of town Start/finish: Sandgate Car Park (download pdf)
Ennerdale Water 17 miles Start/finish: Grade: Medium-Hard. Mix of road and cycle path Mining sculptures in Cleator Moor Market Square Whitehaven
Kendal to Windermere (NCN route 6) 10 miles
Kendal – Milnthorpe & Arnside – 26 miles Start/finish: Peppercorn Lane Car Park, Kendal (additional car parking nearby at Parish Church and Dowker Lane Car Parks) Grade: Long – easy, all on-road
Kent Valley – 10miles Start/finish: Kendal Grade: Short – easy. Mostly on minor roads except for short sections of stone surfaced permissive path and tarmac cycle path.
Keswick Dismantled Railway – 5.25miles There are only a few inclines, so if you take your kids on there they will not have much to climb.
Keswick to Cockermouth – 14 miles – via Bassenthwaite Lake
Keswick Ullswater Loop – 40 miles (Keswick / Thirlmere / Grasmere / Ambleside / Kirkstone Pass / Ullswater / Old Coach Road / Keswick)
Lonscale Fell and the Glenderaterra Valley – 11 miles Grade: Medium – Challenge.Suitable for mountain bikes only Start/Finish: Keswick Leisure Pool
Lyth Valley – Damsons & Daffodils – 13miles Start/finish: Lay-by off A590 at the Strickland Arms, Sizergh. Follow signs off the A590 to Sizergh Castle (National Trust). Grade: Medium – moderate (grade becomes hard if optional detour to Helsington Church is included). All on-road except short section of ascent to Helsington Church on unsurfaced track and grassland.
St Bees Coastal – 15 miles Medium-Moderate. Mostly on-road with some cycleway Start/finish: Egremont Market Place
Staveley, Ings & Windermere – 10miles Grade: Short – hard. All on-road except stone surfaced track from edge of Windermere to B5284 -1.2 miles (1.9 km). Some steep descents with junctions and bends at bottom which require caution.
The Skiddaw Loop – 11 miles Grade: Medium – Challenge. Suitable for mountain bikes
The Borrowdale Bash – 17 miles Grade: Hard – Challenge. Suitable for mountain bikes only
Whitehaven & St Bees Head – 18 miles Grade: Medium-Hard. On-road and cycle path Start/finish: Egremont Market Place
Windermere Circular – 28 miles passes through the villages of Ambleside, Grasmere and Elterwater
Under Cold Fell – 8+ miles Grade: Short-Challenge. All on-road Start/finish: Egremont Market Place
Great Mell Fell and Little Mell Fell – 17.5 miles Start/finish: Pooley Bridge Grade: Medium – Challenge
The Old Coach Road (Mountain Bike Ride) – 19.5 miles Start/finish: Aira Force Car Park Grade: Medium – Challenge
Boredale and Eastern Flanks of Ullswater (Mountain Bike Ride) – 18.5 miles Start: Glenridding steamer pier car park finish: Pooley Bridge car park Grade: Medium – Challenge
Moor Divock (Mountain Bike Ride) – 14.5 miles Start/finish: Pooley Bridge Grade: Medium – Hard
North Face trail – Grizedale Forest 16km loop – there is also The Moor Top route – 7 miles
Wheels to the Wild Cycle Route – 70 miles Starting in Wolsingham (Weardale) the route passes through Frosterley, Stanhope, Rookhope, Allenheads, Nenthead, Alston, Garrigill, Middleton-in-Teesdale and returns to Wolsingham via Hamsterley Forest.
Whinlatter Mountain Bike trails – the Altura Trail and the Quercus Trail
Clubs and associations
KDCS – The Kendal & District Cycle Scene – The open and free club for all things cycling – rides, routes, events and campaigns
www.bmbo.org.uk British Mountain Bike Orienteering
Sources and other sites
Mountain Bike Cumbria – lots of info & routes
imba.org.uk – International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) UK
Cycling / MTB Events
Clive’s Cumbrian Way – two-day challenge cycle ride round the county of Cumbria
Hartside Hundred Sportive (100km) and Tour of Eden Cyclosportive (100km & 50km)
for cycling events in England and Wales see rambleon.org.uk/cycling-events