The top 7 places to go mountain biking in the Lake District

With its open countryside, lakeside trails and woodland routes, there is no better place to enjoy a cycling holiday than the Lake District. Our top 10 places to go mountain biking in the lakes include:

1.Ambleside and Loughrigg Fell

Loughrigg, Elterwater, Hodge Close, Iron Keld is 17 miles long, and includes bridleways, including a hair raising descent from Iron Keld, and an optional extension which continues along the mountain road from Iron Keld. Another route is the Loughrigg Circuit, which is 8 miles in length. Most of the climbing is on tarmac, while most of the descents are off-road with some tricky sections.

2.Grizedale Forest

Coniston to Lawson Park route is 8 miles long, and includes a long, gradual climb into the forest, which is rewarded with magnificent views over Coniston Water, and a scenic descent past an abandoned farm at Lawson Park. The Rough Ride is 15 miles long, and consists of smooth-surfaced forest roads, followed by tricky bridleways.

3.Claife Heights

Popular mountain bike routes from Claife Heights include: Hawkshead, 13 miles, Bowness via the ferry, 10 miles and Ambleside, 16 miles. Narrow country lanes provide a great warm up for off-road tours of Claife Heights, and there are some excellent descents.

4.The Old Coach Road

The Old Coach Road at Glenderaterra covers 28 miles, and traverses the deep mountain valley. Keswick Railway Cycle Track offers riders a gentle warm up for the tough bridleway ahead. The route is fast and enjoyable with a moderate level of difficulty, and culminates in a thrilling 300m descent. A shorter version of the route is 17 miles, and starts at Threlkeld instead of Keswick.

If you are planning to explore the lakes, why not base yourself in a luxurious cottage in Windermere with hot tub to make the most of your stay.

5. Skiddaw

The route from Skiddaw House to Keswick is 18 miles in length, and includes some easy on road cycling before getting tougher on the land track to Skiddaw House. The return to Keswick follows more narrow tracks with plenty of off-road interest. Skiddaw Summit is 12 miles in length, and offers the longest bike descent in England. A surprisingly smooth, furiously fast freefall towards Keswick makes this ride worthwhile, but remember it also includes the longest uphill push!

6. Whinlatter

The Circuit of Barf is 22 miles, and includes mostly pleasant cycling on narrow country lanes and well-graded forest roads. The few bridleway sections are not too tricky, and the route is varied. The excellent Forestry Commission Cycle Trails are 6 miles or 8 miles long, and follow smooth, well graded forest roads. They lack the challenge of rockier Lake District bridleways, but make up for it with pleasant gate-free riding. Great for mountain biking beginners.

7.Coniston and Torver

Coniston and Torver mountain bike routes include: Walna Scar from Coniston, which is 18 miles in length, and includes riding over Walna Scar, country lanes in Duddon Valley and grassy single tracks on the Dunnerdale Fells. Lots of uphills. For a shorter version, try going via Yaud Mire Bridleway, which is 15 miles, and avoids many of the climbs. Kiln Bank Cross is 4 miles in length and offers some fast grassy tracks. Blawith Fells to Torver is 15 miles long, and includes a rambling tour of one of the quieter corners of the Lake District, and a long, grassy descent off Woodland Fell.

If you are planning to spend a few luxurious days in the Lakes, why not book a Windermere cottage with hot tub so you can relax after a hard day’s cycling.