Moderate Road Cycle Routes

Moderate Rides – know your cycling level

See also: Easy, Challenging & Tough.

You are ready to take on several rolling climbs at a steady pace. You will need to be a regular weekend cyclist with a basic level of fitness and be able to ride for a couple of hours non-stop. Longer rides in the Lake District will inevitably require more stamina or some experience of riding an E-Bike. We ride at a pace where we can still chat, and you will learn about the history and landscape of the Lake District while enjoying cycling. There are lots of stops to admire the views and take photos with at least one coffee and cake stop. Whole day rides will include a stop for lunch in a pub or cafe.

Guided cycling adventure Rides for Moderate cyclists

There are so many different guided ride options in the South Lakes and Furness Peninsula. The rides can be quite easy or more demanding but every ride takes in the varied beauty of this part of the Lake District. The valleys are interspersed with short sharp climbs such as Beesy Bank, Gummers Howe or the Broughton Beck Bastard to name but a few.

All these rides are 50 to 60 miles long and will include at least one stop for lunch and probably a coffee and cake stop too.

The distances and gradients vary as every ride can be shortened or extended to your individual requirements, here are but a few of the rides.

Remember, every road cycle adventure is custom made for you, your family or your group.

Recommended hire bikes for these rides:

E-bikes, Road Bikes and Family Bikes

High Furness & Cartmel Peninsula Loop

This really exceptional cycling adventure takes in views of Coniston Water, Lake Windermere, Esthwaite Water, Morecambe Bay, passing through verdant wooded valleys on quiet country lanes. Approximate distance 30 to 40 miles    

This was the most popular leisure route in 2020 and on the correct type of bike is suitable for all adults. The lovely journey alongside the shore of Coniston Water is why you come to the Lake District. A beautiful lake gently reflecting the The Old Man of Coniston and the mountains beyond. Stop off at the terrace at Brantwood with amazing views overlooking the lake for a morning coffee made from beans roasted in Coniston.

A cheeky climb awaits to test your legs and warm you up before the descent to the Drunken Duck Hotel with Lake Windermere shimmering in the distance. A fast descent takes you south to the shore Windermere and Wray Castle. From here its onwards to Hawkshead and Newby Bridge, where you cross the River Leven. A cycle route is followed to Staveley, (route can be extended here – see below), High Newton and onwards to Cartmel. This delightful historic village is a great place to stop for lunch with a good choice of cafes and pubs and time to visit the 11th century Cartmel Priory. The route loops back over the top to Flookburgh air field before heading back to Newby bridge via the ‘lost valley’ and Seatle hill.  Return to Lowick via Bouth where you have maybe earned a pint of cask beer at the White Hart pub or visit the vintage Old Hall Farm tearoom for a homemade jersey ice cream?

Gummers Howe and Lyth Valley extension (approximate 10 miles additional distance)

If you want to add more climbing, Gummers Howe is a steep sharp and longish ascent, a real test. But once at the top there are magnificent panoramic 360 views over Lake Windermere, the Lake Districts mountains, the Yorkshire Dales and Morecambe Bay. The descent into the Lyth valley is equally steep and twisty and requires 100% concentration. Once in the valley bottom there is time to relax along the flat valley bottom as you head towards Grange-over- Sands to pick up the route beyond Cartmel.

The Southern Lake District Loop

This cycling adventure follows the rolling and varied Furness landscape – along the shore of Coniston Water, the Duddon Estuary, Morecambe Bay and Furness Abbey riding on quiet lanes and roads 

Distance 50-60 miles

The lane that meanders along the east shore of Coniston Water is one of Britain’s most scenic. A beautiful start to the ride, the route passes through Coniston Village and on to Broughton-in-Furness following a quiet main road. A few testing climbs here before opening up to panoramic views over Morecambe Bay. On a good clear day you can just see Blackpool Tower fifty miles away across the bay. The Square Café in the centre of Broughton is a mecca for cyclists. Heading out to Foxfield you cross the railway line and take the very flat lane following the Duddon Estuary sands to Kirkby. The main road leads to the centre of Dalton-in-Furness, the ancient capital of Furness with its imposing castle. Riding into a hidden valley you stumble upon the imposing ruins of Furness Abbey, once the richest abbey in the country. You have to stop here and wonder in amazement at the size and craftsmanship of this once magnificent abbey dating back to the 1100s. Here you’ll find a very small café serving excellent homemade food. Onwards towards Piel Island, where another café, the Boson’s Locker is a good place to stop for lunch and take in the sea air.

Returning along the shores of Morecambe Bay you appreciate just how large the bay is – the UK’s largest expanse of exposed tidal sands of over 100 square miles. This relaxing ten miles route eventually brings you to the ancient market town of Ulverston from where you have a choice of routes for the final five miles back to Lowick. If you still have the legs you can try the short sharp climb ‘the Broughton Beck Bastard’, aptly named by riders from the local Lakes Road Club.

Walney Island extension

It is easy to extend the ride after visiting Furness Abbey by cycling through Barrow-in- Furness to visit Walney Island, the ‘Riviera of Cumbria’ with its nature reserves. This adds about 10 miles to the ride.

Lowick, Broughton, Kirkby, and Ulverston Loop

A challenging intermediate ride with some sharp climbs, rolling countryside and sea side relaxing flats set almost all in the Lake District National Park with fantastic views from the top of Kirkby fell.

Approximate distance 25 miles.

On leaving Lowick the quiet country lanes lead into the remote and exposed landscape of Subberthwaite Common and Woodland Fell, with only native bred sheep for company. These roads are so unused by traffic you have to stop and open and close gates across the road. Drop down into the verdant Woodland Valley and through this tiny hamlet before heading to Broughton-in-Furness, where you’ll find the Square Café. Stop here at this cyclist’s mecca for local Cumberland sausage and delicious homemade cakes. Following the road to Foxfield, cross the railway line for a pancake flat 5 miles along the shores of the Duddon estuary. Make the most of this relaxing section as the climb from Kirkby to Ulverston is one of the longest and steepest in south Cumbria (climbing 850’ in less than two miles). If you have to dismount and walk, do take time to experience the fantastic view over the Duddon estuary towards Millom as you get your breath back. The descent into the centre of Ulverston is fast and enjoyable, with panoramic views over the Cartmel peninsular and on into Yorkshire. On arrival in town turn north and follow the labyrinth of quiet lanes through rolling pasture fields back to Lowick.

Coniston Water extension. Approximate 18 miles additional distance.

If you want to add some distance to the above ride you can circumnavigate Coniston Water riding on quiet undulating roads following the lake shore. Add on to the start or end of the ride.

Valley to Valley – The Climbs of Furness

The glacial finger valleys are divided by sharp steep escarpments which offer a variety of gradients up to 30% and distances to test your legs, lungs and attitude.

Approximate distance from 40-60 miles.

This is for regular road cyclists who want to test themselves over the climbs used by the local cycle clubs for hill time-trials. These climbs provide a good training base for cyclists entered into the Fred Whitton Challenge. This area of the Southern Lake District National Park has been dissected by ice age glaciers and the valley floors are now full of finger lakes such as Lake Windermere and Coniston Water. In this area the escarpments between the valleys rise steeply and regularly and will test your legs, lungs and mental fortitude.

There are many routes with lots of options as to which hills to climb, and from which direction, that we will discuss your requirements pre ride. Some of the climbs all within a short distance from Lowick are Bessy Bank, Graythwaite Hill, Gummer’s How, High Newton Heights, Seatle Hill, Bigland Hill, Broughton Beck Bastard, Grizebeck Hill, Subberthwaite Common climb not to mention the Struggle and Kirkstone Pass. This is a true test of your cycling fitness and on fast descents there is no time to relax.