Trail submitted by Jason Thomas
Long, technical, varied ride through beautiful scenery, including some excellent downhills en route; Single Track
To the Start:
Start/finish from Biketreks on Millans Park; Ambleside is easy to find - just follow the numerous signs from the M6 in. If you're not coming from the motorway, you should know where it is anyway!!
From Biketreks, follow the one way system round town to the South and follow road signs for Coniston & Hawkshead through all junctions. When you have crossed the River Rothay, follow the signs for Hawkshead (first main road left). Ride for about 1.5 - 2 miles up this road (sorry for the amount of tarmac, but it's worth it!!) until you reach a junction signposted for Wray. Follow this road for 1 - 1.5 miles until you reach a left junction onto a gravel fireroad signposted for Base Camp. From here, ride up the hill, through the gate and onwards and upwards. When you reach the top of the hill you will notice that the road drops round a right hand bend, on this bend is a 'Y' junction; you need to follow the right trail until you reach a bridleway signpost for Hawkshead. This is the bridleway that you now follow all the way down into the village itself (it's one hell of a descent, believe me - fast, gnarly and technical an if it's been raining, you may get a bit wet!!). From Hawkshead, head North out of the village in the direction of Ambleside for about 1 mile until you reach a left junction with what appears to be a mill on it. Turn up here and take the next right. At the top of this road is an extended crossroads; you want to take the opposite trail up the back of the cottages and onto the B O A T. This byway is no mean feat to traverse as the surface on the descent is made up of millions of baseball-sized boulders, but it is great fun trying to steer!!
At the end, cross the road and follow the lane for Hodge Close (good place to rest). Head North out of Hodge Close past the cottages and onto another lane. From the lane, take the obvious slate-covered descent and follow down into the woods. Keep to the main path through the woods until you reach the ford in the river. I, and many others have attempted to ride across the ford, although few make it with dry feet (don't worry, there is a footbridge). Follow the lane up into Little Langdale turning left at the top, ride for about 1/4 mile and turn right onto the farm track. Follow this until you reach the second gate (after about 1.5 miles). You will notice a badly maintained trail going up through the woods; scramble up to the top and then follow down. Cross the road and ride through quarry (care needed if they're working); veer left after main buildings and onto singletrack slate path descent. Follow to bottom, across the footbridge and turn left, following the road past the pub. Take the next right after the village store and follow the lane round behind the village heading west for about 1 mile. Keep on this lane up the winding hill past High Close YHA and to the junction. Go straight on and take the bridleway on the right of the road onto Loughrigg Terrace - for me, this is the jewel in the crown of this ride, with Loughrigg to your right and the view over Grasmere, Rydal and fairfield on your left - this and the fact that the swoopy bridleway is an absolute cracker.
After a while, there is a junction in the path; take the left one and follow the bridleway down to the lake, where it follows the shoreline (with the added surprise that the bridleway runs through the edge of the lake at one point!). Climb up to the gate and follow the trail out and onto the metalled road. At the bottom of this lane turn right and follow the lane until the end; you will now find yourself at the river bridge again. Turn left over the bridge and follow the one-way system back to BikeTreks - well worth a visit!
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.