Top Five Places to Go Mountain Biking in the Lake District

Top Five Places to Go Mountain Biking in the Lake District


Top Five Places to Go Mountain Biking in the Lake District

Remember the joy when you got your first bike? We think mountain bikers are just big kids who never found anything better than whizzing down a hill on two wheels. The Lake District offers the perfect terrain, and lots of great facilities, for cyclists who want a thrill.

1: Claife Heights: Windermere

This stunning route runs alongside Lake Windermere. It runs through the surrounding woodland, full of steep uphill climbs and brisk descents.  With amazing views and plenty of places to stop for refreshments along the way, this is the ideal trail for junior riders and newcomers to the world of mountain biking.

The ride starts at Sawrey, and up the tracks across Claife Heights, leading you into the beautiful and lively village of Hawkshead. Once you’ve passed through the village, the trail returns into the woodland areas of Grizedale Forest, full of exciting woodland tracks, before returning to the lakeside.

2: The Nan Bield Loop, Staveley

A route for the more experienced mountain bikers visiting the area, this trail offers some of the most astonishing views that the Lakes have to offer. Definitely not for the faint-hearted, as it one of the more difficult rides in the area.

Just shy of being 10 miles long, this route starts at the end of Longsleddale valley, in a place called Sadgill, which is an area popular amongst walkers as well. Following along the valley, the ride continues along heading toward Gatesgarth Pass, a steady climb which quickly transforms into a tougher series of rocky zig-zagged tracks. Once at the top of the Pass, you begin a descent down to Haweswater. This section of the trail allows for some breath-taking views of the Lake District.

The climb begins again at the bottom, leading past the beautiful waterfall, on the left hand side of the valley. This is the start of the Nan Bield Pass, a very technical mountain bike trail. After reaching the top of this Pass, the descent is more difficult. There are areas of steep and technical tracks, leading to boulder tracks, above Kentmere reservoir. After passing this area, the descent become slightly easier and more gradual, a lot less challenging than before, and allows time for you to take in the idyllic scenery. You’ll eventually end up in Kentmere village, which has a track back to Sadgill, where the route began.

3: The Borrowdale Bash

One of the favourites for mountain bikers around the Lakes, and those coming to visit, the Borrowdale Bash is rideable for all abilities of mountain biking. At around 18 miles long, the trail involves lots of climbing.

The trail involves a road climb towards Honister Slate Mines, with multiple descents towards the beautiful town, and starting point of the trail, Keswick, which is surrounded by Cat Bels fell. After starting in Keswick, the trail moves along the east bank of Derwent Water and up the hill towards Ashness Bridge and Watendlath Tarn. This quickly leads to unmissable views of Borrowdale Valley, which create a perfect setting for one of the best trials in the Lakes.

4: Ullswater

According to the experts (, this is one of the most rewarding tracks in the Lakes. The trail follows alongside the east shore of Ullswater, but is far from an easy flat-shore ride.

A rarely flat, single track trail, with a lot of surprises along the way including rock steps, steep slabs and boulder fields, it is described as a test of skill and nerve. There are reasons to ride the track in both directions, however, starting at the south of Ullswater means you get to experience the amazing descent to Silver point, passing between the east side of Silver Crag and Birk Fell. The epic final descent back to Ullswater from Boredale Hause, finishes the trail off perfectly, with stunning views, technical single-track trails, and the beautiful finish line is in sight all the way down.

5: Walna Scar

One of the classic, and most challenging routes in the Lake District, it is very popular among experienced mountain bikers who visit and live in the area. The trail leads over the high mountain pass on Walna Scar, and descends to the beautiful starting point of Coniston.

The starting point is Torver, just south of Coniston, a small village with a lovely pub and deli to get refreshments at the beginning and end of the journey. From Torver, the trail follows the main road from m the village, and leads to an uphill climb, and into a wooded area on the right near the top. This then leads to a descent along the fire trail, until you hit another windy road climb on the other side of the woods, which leads up onto the fells over Coniston. Following this section of the trail, there is a brilliant single-track segment which leads to the Seathwaite descent, which is a very technical and fast descent towards the daunting Walna Scar road.

The Walna Scar road is very difficult and requires a high level of fitness, but it leads to an easier section near the quarry buildings, which is easier to ride in comparison to Walna Scar road. Then you’re on your way to the summit of the fell, which has the fun and technical descent back down to Coniston and Torver on the other side.

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