Distance: 19.9km (12.4 miles).
Climbing: 870m (2,854ft).
Time: 1hr 30mins to 2hrs 30mins.
The Lake District has provided classic mountain bike rides from the year dot, and this route, on the southern edge of the Old Man of Coniston, is no exception. Being further west than the most popular tourist spots and offering very technical riding in places, it’s generally a bit quieter than other parts of the National Park as well.
Car park on unnamed road by Broughton Moor (grid ref SD 253/927, postcode LA20 6AH).
Dunnerdale Fells, in the south-west of the Lake District, isn’t the easiest place to reach. From the M6, exit at junction 36 and follow the A590 to Greenodd, then the A5092, briefly, to Lowick Green. Here, join the A5084 to Torver, then turn left on the A593. After 1km, go right on an unnamed road, steeply uphill. The car park is 0.5km past the Broughton Moor forest signpost/entrance.
Maps & books
Ordnance Survey Landranger 96: Barrow-in-Furness & South Lakeland.
Lake District Mountain Bike Routes by Tom Hutton Lake District (Out There Guides).
The Newfield Inn in Seathwaite offers hearty food and real ales (01229 716208, www.newfieldinn.co.uk) and Seathwaite Lodge, next door, has accommodation (01229 716840, www.seathwaitelodge.co.uk). The Wilsons Arms in Torver is also good (01539 441237, www.thewilsonsarms.co.uk) and has a good deli next door.
Go left on the road for 0.5km, to the forest entrance with ‘Broughton Moor’ signpost. Follow the forest track left, downhill. Turn right by a small marker post, onto an easy-to-miss bridleway. Go over a stream and through the trees on some singletrack. Continue to and over a forest track, then turn left on the next forest track. Bear right at the fork, uphill. At the T-junction, turn left.
Go around a right-hand bend, then turn right on an easy-to-miss singletrack bridleway into the trees, which becomes a good downhill. Go across the fireroad (right, then left), down to a minor road. Go right on this, over a bridge and uphill to Stephenson Ground Farm.
Turn right through a gate, then go left (‘Seathwaite’), uphill, following the wall and then riding between two walls, to a gate onto the moors. Descend, with a wall on your left. Bear left across the (possibly boggy) plateau and Long Mire Beck. Keep bearing left on a more obvious track, next to a wall, uphill. Then follow some good singletrack around the hillside.
Drop down to a stream crossing and a junction with a good track. Turn right on this and climb steeply to a path beneath Goat Crag. Continue ahead/left, downhill. Keep right and follow the bridleway down to the road at Seathwaite. Go left to the pub or right to continue on the route.
After nearly 1km, bear right at the fork, towards Coniston (‘unfit for cars’). Go right at the next fork too, on Walna Scar Road. As the main track bears left over a bridge/stream, follow a rough track right/straight ahead.
Climb for over 1km, go through a gate and then turn right on a narrow track, by some slag heaps. Keep left after the second lot of old quarry works, leaving the main track (which becomes a footpath). Follow this grassy (and possibly boggy) track uphill, keeping right. It’s faint to begin with but becomes more obvious.
Keep to the right-hand side of the valley, on some superb singletrack. Once you reach Stephenson Ground Farm again, go back through the gate and left on the road to retrace your earlier steps. Alternatively, use the forest roads – or even the tarmac roads – for an easier finish if required.
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Routes produced in association with Rough Ride Guide
MBUK Big Ride images by Russell Burton
Basic Equipment for Mountain Biking
- Cycling helmet
- Cycling gloves
- Sturdy, comfortable and preferably waterproof footwear
- Layered, moisture wicking clothing
- Rucksack (with rain cover)
- Protection against sun, rain and wind (hat, sunscreen, water- and windproof jacket)
- Ample supply of drinking water and snacks
- Cell phone
- Navigation equipment / map and compass
Technical Equipment for Mountain Biking
- Air pump or CO2 pump including cartridges
- Puncture repair kit
- Replacement inner tube
- Tire levers
- Chain tool
- Hex keys
- Phone / device holder as required
- Bike lock as required
- Where applicable, the bike must meet requirements for road use by having a bell, front and rear lamps and spoke reflectors
- The 'basic' and 'technical' equipment lists are generated based on the selected activity. They are not exhaustive and only serve as suggestions for what you should consider packing.
- For your safety, you should carefully read all instructions on how to properly use and maintain your equipment.
- Please ensure that the equipment you bring complies with local laws and does not include restricted items.