Dan's Top 5 biking routes in The Lake District.


A bit about Dan


- Director of Sales & Marketing at Langdale

- Been a keen mountain biker for many years

No. 1 - Windermere Lake Shore

Start: Take your pick!

Distance: 5km to 20km

Difficulty: Easy, suitable for families

Windermere Lakeshore trail is suitable for all abilities and in all weathers and can start and finish in a number of locations between Bowness-on-Windermere and Ambleside with a nice option to continue to Grasmere or Elterwater.


Starting from Bowness the trail begins under Claife Viewing Station which is well worth a visit and proceeds along the side of the lake to Wray Castle, another National Trust location worth a visit for refreshments. From here you can return, continue to Ambleside, Elterwater or Grasmere. There is also a classic mountain bike route for all abilities which takes you up Claife Heights and back down where a number of trails are easily found and will accommodate all abilities with even some more challenging terrain.


Bike Hire - Windermere Canoe Kayak Bike Hire

GoLakes - Map of The Route

Pedal North - Windermere Lakeside

GoLakes - Windermere Lake Shore

Cycle Sprong - Windermere Bike Boar to Wray Castle

No. 2 - Loughrigg Loop

Start: The Langdale Estate

Distance: 19km

Difficulty: Moderate

Something for everyone. Steep climbs, fast descents, spectacular views, ancient quarries and even an old golf course (if you know where to look). The loop of Loughrigg goes from Langdale alongside the river to Skelwith Bridge, around the tarn to Loughrigg Terrace which when not busy with walkers is a blast. The climb from Ambleside to the South side of Loughrigg is well worth it for the scenery and ride down.


  1. Exit Langdale turn right, take next right into Elterwater, and straight ahead at the junction by the Britannia Inn
  2. Join track through the gate on left in car park opposite the by the river
  3. Follow track alongside river through 3 more gates and over bridge
  4. Follow the cycle signs and at the road turn left, over bridge, at left turn to Langdale, take road straight in front as main road bears right.
  5. Short steep uphill road past entrance to Nuam Crag, at T-junction turn right.
  6. Take first and bear right past the cottages then keep left through gate.
  7. Continue past Loughrigg Tarn (a great place to stop for break or even a swim on a nice day), go through the gate to the road, turn right.
  8. Opposite the left turn to High Close and YHA take the Bridleway on the right to Loughrigg Terrace. This is a nice long downhill with a few tricky sections and fantastic views to your left but never steep. Follow the track to the stone wall, bear left and continue past Rydal water. As you approach the next stone wall, climb to the right through a gate the track turns to tarmac past some houses.
  9. At the T junction by Pelter Bridge (ice cream van here in summer) turn right.
  10. Follow the road along the River Rothay on your left) towards Ambleside, turn right on the only bridleway over the cattle grid. The tarmac climbs steeply past some houses. As the tarmac turns to gravel the gradient eases eventually summiting on the South side of Loughrigg. Another great descent follows with some short tricky sections and loose stones but never too steep.
  11. Continue through the gate straight across past the cottages (on your right) then bear left to the road. Turn right taking the next left turn which takes you down the steep hill past Nuam Crag which you rode up earlier. At the road turn right then left onto the path after the Skelwith Bridge hotel and ex Kirkstone works turning right towards Elterwater
  12. Follow the track back to Elterwater and back to Langdale.
  13. Finish with a pint at Wainwrights Inn!

No. 3 - Tilberthwaite, Hodge Close & Little Langdale

Start: The Langdale Estate

Distance: 18km

Difficulty: Easy/Moderate

This ride is a great way to see some of the finest and most interesting bits of the central Lake District. At Hodge Close and Tilberthwaite industrial heritage is on a grand scale while the woods at Colwith and the views of Little Langdale are a wonderful contrast. The hills are mostly short and not too steep with few technical sections.


  1. Exit Langdale turn right, take next right into Elterwater, and straight ahead at junction by the Britannia Inn
  2. Continue past the right turn to Little Langdale then take the well-made track on the right when the road starts to climb.
  3. Follow through the woods and gates to a farm. Go through the farm and join the road, turn right.
  4. As you approach the river take the track on the left (the first one not the one alongside the river) then follow this track (cycle signs) to the next farm. Go through the farm and join the road down to a track on the left just before the T-junction
  5. Join the next road and follow left uphill (parallel to the one you just came down, where’s the bridge we all ask?)
  6. Take the bridal path on the right. This track follows up and down with a few small sections of rocks and roots which can be slippery in winter.
  7. At the gate where there is a T-junction with a wider track turn left and left again at the building. Between the two left turns there is an access point to Hodge Close quarry on the left which is well worth exploring (with care).
  8. Follow the track through more gates to the road and turn left. At the river cross the bridge or ride through the ford and continue up the hill to the T-junction
  9. At the T-junction turn left. Take the road on the right opposite the farm entrance and footpath to Slaters bridge (another great place to explore)
  10. Follow this road then track up and then down loose stones to Elterwater turning left at the road and then left again before the bridge
  11. Turn right opposite the closed up quarry entrance, along the river and across the bridge to Wainwrights' Inn.

No. 4 - Langdale Cycle Trail

Start: Stickle Ghyll Car Park

Distance: 18km

Difficulty: Moderate

Great Langdale valley is dominated by the unmistakable hulking outline of the Langdale Pikes. The cycle trail runs east, away from the Pikes on the outward leg, through varied scenery of meadow, woodland, slate quarry and eventually along a riverside path from Elterwater to Skelwith Bridge. Here you can stop off for refreshments before heading back up the valley to enjoy the awe-inspiring views of the Langdale Pikes.


How to get to the start -


Take the A593 from Ambleside to Skelwith Bridge, then turn right along the B5343 heading for Great Langdale. You’ll find the Stickle Ghyll National Trust car park on the right-hand side just after the Sticklebarn tavern (approximately 4 miles from Skelwith Bridge on the B5343).


  1. Exit the car park and turn left along the B5343 for around 100 yards before forking right through the smaller car park opposite the Sticklebarn. Follow the white-on-blue cycle route signs pointing along the wide track towards Ambleside and Elterwater.
  2. Take this byway down the valley until you reach the point where the track turns left up towards the road. Fork right here following the cycle signs to Chapel Stile. Turn right again at the next junction of paths and head over the bridge across the river and straight up through Oak Howe Farm. Around the back of the farm take the path to the left, signposted to Chapel Stile.
  3. Here's where the uphill section starts. The magnificent view back up the valley towards the Langdale Pikes gives you a good excuse to stop and take a breather before you head through woodland towards Baysbrowne Farm. After passing through the farm keep straight on along the road until you reach a house followed immediately by a cycle path sign to the left. Take this left turn down a bridleway and through Elterwater quarry. Beware of large vehicles as you pass through the quarry.
  4. As you exit the quarry take the track to the left. This runs down to the riverside where there's a lovely stone seat overlooking Great Langdale Beck. The path then climbs a little until it joins the road down from the quarry. Go down this road and turn left at the T-junction over the bridge into Elterwater village.
  5. Leave Elterwater village via the car park at the end of the bridge and follow the riverside path signed 'Ambleside, route 37'. The path eventually leaves the crystal clear river behind and heads off through woodland reappearing into open meadow at the edge of Elter Water tarn.
  6. Continue along the path across open meadow where you will soon approach a gate into woodland. Go through the gate and cross the stylish wrought iron bridge known as the Trevor Woodburn Memorial Bridge. Cycle route 37 takes you across the bridge and continues to a short section of the busy A593 to Chesters by the River at Skelwith Bridge. If you prefer to avoid the road then do not cross the memorial bridge, but instead, dismount and push your bike along the path to the left down to Chesters by the River.
  7. Chesters is the turnaround point for the cycle trail. Simply retrace the route back up the valley taking in the breathtaking views of the Langdale Pikes as you head back towards the Sticklebarn and Stickle Ghyll car park.

No. 5 - Langdale Beer & Bikes

Start: Wainwright's Inn, Chapel Stile

Distance: 6.5km to 60km

Difficulty: Easy to Hard

Whenever I go for  ride on my mountain bike it always involves one of my other favourite pastimes, a good pint of local ale. In this part of the world we are blessed with some of the best mountain biking trails in the UK and also some of the best small and microbreweries, throw in the best bike shop and there is nothing stopping you having great days out, we re ignoring the rain here.


The trails, beer and shop combine once a year for Langdale Beer and Bikes, a grand day of social riding led by the staff from Biketreks followed by beers and barbecue all in the heart of the Langdale Valley. The routes change each year but offer something for everyone from gravel family rides to hard core enduro/all mountain epics and this all take place on the Sunday of the second bank holiday in May. See langdalebeerandbikes.co.uk for more information or see us on Facebook

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Pedal North -

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Cycle Sprong -