Moderate Off-Road Mountain Bike Routes

Moderate Off-Road Rides – Know your cycling level

See also: Easy & Challenging.

The variety of routes in this area for intermediate riders is unparalleled. A good standard of fitness will help and you need to have basic off-road skills to experience the gnarlier trails, steeper climbs and descents and some testing single track routes. Padded mountain bike shorts are recommended and off-road cycling shoes, but trainers will do.

Suitable bikes: Hardtail or Full Suspension Mountain BikesHardtail or Full Suspension Mountain E-BikesGravel Bikes.

Ickenthwaite into Grizedale Forest

Open fells, great tracks, plus everything the forest has to offer. Approximate distance 20 miles.

A nice flat start to warm up the legs before the steep climb up Bletherbarrow Lane and out onto the open fell with terrific views over Morecambe Bay. This off-road section has been the highlight of many people’s rides. On arriving in Ickenthwaite you free wheel downhill through the ancient oak woods to arrive at the southern tip of Grizedale Forest, on the Greenwood trail. This singletrack climbs slowly leading to the maze of forest fire roads, waymarked trails and technical tracks. You are on your own now to explore everything the forest has to offer and find your own way round… enjoy.

Grizedale Forest via Lawson Park

Lake views, mountain panoramas, enclosed forest trails. Approximate distance 20 miles.

This is yet another way to access Grizedale Forest with its waymarked trails and tracks suitable for all levels. Setting off from our Lowick base, there is nice flat warm up along the undulating lake shore before climbing up to Lawson Park on a gravel road.  This takes you onto the crest of the forest roughly in the centre of this 15 square mile off-road playground. All the forest trails ahead, the majority downhill, are here for you to explore and enjoy. A ride which gives you lots of options to relax or to challenge your cycling skills.

Greenodd, Bigland Allotments, Cartmel Fell, Finsthwaite, Bouth, Oxen Park

Estuary, nature reserve, open fells with terrific views. Approximate distance 30 miles.

The warm up to this ride follows the river Crake to Greenodd where you cross the estuary and onto the old railway line. This flat off-road section and gravel track leads into Roudsea Nature reserve. It then follows the River Leven onto a singletrack path to climb up to Brow Edge. A sharp climb on the road takes you to a field gate where you enter Bigland Allotments with some tricky singletrack through tall bracken. This leads out onto open fell before joining Canny Hill and dropping down to Newby Bridge. A cycle path is followed to Staveley and then a hidden gem of a ride awaits on the tracks and trails around Cartmel Fell and the Chapel House plantation. This is not technically difficult and will suit riders aspiring to improve their biking skills. Returning back to Newby Bridge the off-road section brings you out near Finsthwaite. The White Hart in Bouth is a great stop for food and drink or visit Old Hall Farm Vintage tearoom and ice cream parlour before powering on for the final fantastic off-road section from Oxen Park ending with a superb descent down to Nibthwaite. Lots of options here to expand or contract this route to suit your fitness and stamina.

Grizedale Forest and Claife Heights

Climbs, forest tracks, single tracks, Hawkshead, awesome views. Approximate distance between 18 to 25 miles.

This ride really is an introduction to off-road Lakeland riding, with wide tracks, sharp climbs and superb descents! Only a short, flat warm up before climbing up Bessy Bank on the road … mmm quite a test first thing but well worth it.  At the top a wide track through a forest plantation takes us through to fields and on to Stott Farm in the distance. Riding through the farm yard it leads onto the open fell track. On arrival in the hamlet of Ickenthwaite the route follows a quiet lane, freewheeling all the way to Force Forge, where you bob into Grizedale Forest. The forest tracks eventually lead to Esthwaite Water which you circumnavigate by road to the village of Sawrey. A farm track leads to Claife Heights with its lovely views before dropping down into Hawkshead, a good place for a pit stop in a pub or one of several cafés. Back into the forest next to climb up the tracks that lead out onto Parkamoor for the most awesome panoramic view over Coniston Water and on to the distant mountains. This is one of the most scenic routes in this part of the Lake District.  Enjoy this wonderful undulating trail before eventually descending with care to Nibthwaite for a quick flat ride back to Lowick. You will know you have had a great days riding!

Torver, Banishead Quarry, Walna Scar Road, Coniston, Parkamoor 

Ancient pack horse routes, steep climbs, rough terrain, magnificent views. Approximate distance between 17 and 28 miles.

Ready for some fun? This ride offers a bit of everything, with lots of challenges and a mega days riding with various options to keep on riding if you have the stamina! After a warm up cycling on the road from Lowick to Torver, it is wild terrain from now on! Turn opposite the church and follow the track up onto Torver Common leading to Banishead Quarry and its waterfall. With wonderful views, you follow the tracks up and up until you eventually arrive on the Walna Scar Road – which is anything but a road! Ride downhill into the village of Coniston where you will find several cafes and pubs or follow signs to the Bluebird Café on the lake shore.  Continuing on from Coniston on the east side of the lake, there is a great track with lovely views, leading up to Lawson Park, which will take you into Grizedale Forest.  Keep high and a singletrack eventually spits you out onto Parkamoor, an open moor with a view guaranteed to take your breath away! Onwards to descend carefully into Nibthwaite, then back to Lowick.