The Lake district is well known for it's great selection of trails to ride. A lot of these are made up of and connected via the vast network of bridleways originally used as rights of way for horses, this is where the bridle part comes from.
The Bridleways can vary in difficulty to ride greatly. We highly recommend doing research into any routes you plan to do before attempting them. The Lakes is known for having some fairly technically challenging bridleways, so it's best to make sure you are confident on a bike before attempting any!
If you have the confidence to explore them, they can lead you to some amazing riding spots and views that only the more adventurous get to see!
Our mechanic Sam enjoying a trail above Thirlmere.
This page is us offering our suggestions for some great rounding in the lakes. Mainly focusing on rides based out of our shops in Grizedale, Ings and Keswick But also some other classics. Find all of the routes here. Or keep reading for some more in depth explanations of the Bridleways.
The Grizedale forest itself has a few brilliant bridleways within it that can be covered in about a days riding! There are 3 in particular that stand out.
Lawson's Park is on the lower end of the scale when it comes to technicality, the top part is rougher then it flattens off a bit and becomes less technical as it traverses North. It takes you down near the shores of Coniston and drops you onto a road where if you carry on north you can get Coniston village easily. Or if turning south you can get to the beachy shores of the lake near Machell's coppice. You can climb back into the forest either way, most easily on fire roads but there is another bridleway and a road climb as alternate options.
The 3 witches (also goes by a few other names depending on who you ask) is 3 sections separated by fire roads crossing them that come down from Parkamoor to the road just south of Satterthwaite. If you use the Bridleway out of the forestinstead of fire roads when you get onto Parkamoor you can get some stunning views out over Coniston. Each one of the 3 sections have their own flavour to them with the top section having some short uphill to sprint up to keep your momentum (much easier and more fun on an E-bike). The middle is the roughest with plenty of line choices to make. The bottom starts out with an easy going first half albeit a small up hill and then just gets looser and looser the further down you go ending with plenty of large loose rocks as you enter the car park/lay by at the bottom.
One of our shop staff Cameron on the second witch during a Whyte demo day.
Breasty Haw also is in 3 distinct sections, a very steep road into a technical climb with easier options on the sides, that leads out of Satterthwaite. Across the fire road at the top on to a flatter section with some off camber rocks that can be treacherous in the wet. Straight across another fire road, the straighter top section of this descent has an easy rock roll. The bottom half is separated by a short punchy climb after a stream, it then gets much steeper and looser after this with some loose and tight turns.
The view of Coniston from Low Parkamoor.
Find the route that does all 3 of these in one ride here.
For lunches in the forest we can't recommend Café Ambio enough! Check them out here. There's also some other great little pubs and Cafés in Satterthwaite and Hawkshead if you want to go a little further afield.
Grizedale surrounding areas
Claife heights is easily accessible from Grizedale if you want a slightly longer pedal out and to go exploring a bit further and see some more of the lakes. There are multiple fun bridleways criss-crossing the heights overlooking Windermere lake. We have a few of them linked up into routes starting from Grizedale on our Komoot tours page.
Many of the routes you take on Claife will drop you down alongside Windermere. Mostly quite close, or if not a quick flat ride to the ferry across to Bowness, which can be a fun little trip. It also allows you to hop across and grab some mid ride food at one of the many great spots to eat in Bowness. If you have some power reserved in your legs/battery a ride up the hill to Windermere can land you at Bandito Burrito, a personal favourite of ours!
Walna Scar is a bona fide Lakes classic route! Famous for a very steep ascent but a well deserved downhill is a worthwhile reward for your efforts! We have a route based from our shop in Grizedale which is a bit of an epic! You can park over in Torver to do the Walna scar section to make it a bit more bite sized. Find the full route here.
Our Ings shop is based near the Kentmere valley which is full of great bridleways and is well known for having some fantastic Bridleway riding both going in and out of it. Most notable of these are Garburn pass, Gatesgarth pass and also Nan Bield. HP plantation is a short but also honourable mention for descents around the valley.
One of our staff members Cameron hiking back up the Nan Bield switchbacks to ride them a second time.
The Nan Bield ride from our Ings shop is another epic that goes to descend down the classic switchbacks of Nan Bield pass. It is a big day out from Ings as you have to conquer 2 fairly relentless climbs up Gatesgarth and up to Nan Bield itself, there are also some other smaller but still reasonable climbs. To make this a bit less daunting and a bit shorter you can start partway and just do the Gatesgarth and Nan Bield section. Either park at the start of the Gatesgarth pass in Longsleddale valley (Sadgill) or at the top of the Kentmere valley by the hall. You can use the track over Shipman knotts to bridge the gap between the 2 valleys.
The Kentmere valley itself offers some brilliant riding, well known locally for being a popular destination for bikers it offers a nice range of difficulties both in the climbs and descents. Garburn pass descending into the Kentmere valley and HP plantation are 2 descents on the rougher end of the scale, but fantastic fun! Both are strewn with rocks and often change from weathering and other passing traffic so even if you're a regular to them you have to keep your wits about you.
The three rivers and from Green Quarter down to Kentmere Hall are also some pretty good descents that still offer some technicality but are not relentless. They can both also be some quite interesting climbs that offer an interesting way up onto either side of the valley. As the 3 Rivers name suggests whether you do this as a descent or climb you're likely to get wet at some point, there are stepping stones and drier ways across if you do decide to try to stay drier. The rivers/streams are usually not too deep to ride through, but you should take care in winter as they can sometimes get somewhat deep and fast flowing so be careful. In summer though they offer a nice chance to cool off and a fun little challenge while you're at it as the climbs out can be fairly steep.
You can find all our routes from and near our Ings shop here.
For food, there are plenty of good options within Staveley village. Whether you want some award winning baked goods from More bakery, a simple café meal from Wilfs or a hearty pint and meal from the Eagle and Child. If you just want a really good coffee to perk you up Mr Duffins Coffee roasts there own and is well worth a visit! For the sweet toothed there's Kimi's Gelato too which is a great reward after a ride!
Our Keswick shop is a great place to start the absolute classic Borrowdale Bash! This loop circles Derwent water sampling some of the fantastic rocky Bridleways that Borrowdale has to offer. This is a must do ride for the North lakes and is loved by many!
You can find rides based from and around our Keswick shop here.
Disclaimer: These rides are purely informative rather than advice, they are rough suggestions. Some of these may include sections that are not rideable due to being too technical/not having a right of way for cyclists. We can not tell whether any particular route is suitable to you or not. It is your decision and responsibility if you choose to ride any routes and are doing so at your own risk. It is your responsibility to research all routes you may take. You're responsible before riding to take suitable gear, take maps, make sure that you have safety checked your equipment and tell people where you're going to be as safe as possible and to minimise mountain rescue call outs.