Crook, Underbarrow & Winster
Trail submitted by Andy Slattery
Grand off-road tour with plenty of good quality downhill and the odd pub here and there.
1. Short Road section followed by fast, well surfaced green lane.
Turn left out of the pub car park and follow the B5284 road towards Kendal past Pound Farm. Turn right onto Capplerigg Lane after 1.5km. Follow tarmac lane until green lane branches off right. Follow lane to fork and take right hand side to house and barn at Lindreth Brow. (Taking the left hand branch at the fork gives a good downhill over some rock steps and bearing right on bridleway at the end brings you round to the same point). From Lindreth Brow follow bridleway West across fields to Beckside and onto minor Road. 4.6km
2. Undulating Bridleway with great to descent into Gilpin Valley.
Turn right on minor road and left at next junction until bridleway on left leads along tarmac farm Lane. Keep to right fork and climb hill to Crook Hall. Follow Bridleway past farm with distinctive ruined tower of St Catherines Church to the right. A short climb up fields leads to a good farm track. Follow this to Birk Moss and onto moorland to begin descent into the Gilpin Valley. Follow bridleway down past gorse bushes and along a wall before turning left along a narrow walled lane and passing under an archway formed by trees and ivy. The bridleway then turns steeply down fields to the road. 8.7km
3. Bridleway climb up and over an old pass to Winster valley.
Turn right and follow minor road for 500m before turning left through Crook Foot and following bridleway to hamlet of Thornyfields. Climb past a stone barn and turn left up the bridleway to Bow Mabble Breast. A steep climb with some switchbacks leads to moorland with an undulating track before an enjoyable descent to the road below. Cross the road and continue on Crag Lane, a bridleway, until it meets another tarmac road. 11.6km
4. Through or over the ford and a vicious tarmac climb.
Turn left and follow road for 1km to ford at Birks bridge. Through or over the ford depending on how much rain there is/how hard you are. Climb steeply up quiet tarmac road turning right at crossroads. After 200m turn right across the cattlegrid towards Bateman Fold. 14.2km
5. Tarmac road leading to steep rocky climb and another good quality descent.
Follow tarmac road through deer fencing and past scenic tarn until it becomes a tough rocky climb. Continue along quickly downhill along good bridleway keeping right at first track junction and left at the next to meet the A5074. (If you are thirsty by this time turn right to Brown Cow pub at Winster 1km) 17.2km
6. Green lane climb up and over towards Crook.
At the main road cross over and follow green lane to a further crossroads with another tarmac road. Go straight across here and climb up tarmac road which quickly becomes a dirt track with rock steps towards the top. At road junction turn left and meet the B5284 Crook road. Turn right and climb hill for 50m until a lane leads off right. Follow lane and onto green lane (not the bridleway which is rubbish). Continue along this to Milldam. At road turn left and continue along tarmac road to the Crook road. Turn right and return to Sun Inn. 23.8km
This route can be cut short in a number of places to give a shorter ride:
- Miss out initial loop around Underbarrow (it is worth doing though).
- At the end of Crag Lane in Winster valley turn right past the Brown Cow to rejoin the route at the A5074 (misses out ford and big climb but also a lot of good off-road).
Small Print: No author nor the editor shall bear any responsibility for any mishap, injury, death or other incident or inconvenience suffered whilst riding any of the routes described. Anybody following any such route does so entirely at their own risk. Anybody wishing to ride on footpaths or other non-permitted routes does so entirely by their own risk.