Difficulty: Difficult (Requires Advanced Skills & Fitness)
Distance: 16 - 20 Miles
Maps: OS Landranger 90 & OS Landranger 97
Region: Lake District and Lancs
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This mountain bike route of 19.3 miles is a great ride for those who like technical Lake District riding. It climbs the Garburn Pass from the Troutbeck side, which is mainly rideable but with a few difficult sections that only the best will clean. Descending the Garburn Pass into Kentmere is for those who like steep, loose, boulder strewn, technical descents. Although the Garburn Pass is the first and best descent the rest will not disappoint with a good mixture of pick your way down boulders and fast blasts.
1. Start from the car park behind Wheelbase cycles in Staveley (GR471983). Exit the car park and go past the first lane on the right to a junction with the main road through the village. Turn right and follow the road a short way to the next junction. Turn left and follow the road through the village, in the direction of Windermere, towards a junction with the A591. At the edge of the village, where the road turns left to meet the A591, go straight on up the dead end lane following the signs for Cycle Route No 6. When the lane ends follow the cycle track through the trees, then along the right hand side of the main road. Continue along this track to a junction with the third lane on the right, just on the far edge of the village of Ings (GR442988).
2. Turn right, following the cycle track that turns up the lane before coming to an end, and climb the lane all the way to the top. Go past junctions with two lanes on the left then, after the crest of the climb, go through a small wood and past a third lane on the left. On the far side of the woods turn right up a wide gravel track (GR423006). Climb the rocky track past Dubbs Reservoir to a junction at the far end, halfway up the Garburn Pass climb (GR420031).
3. Turn right and climb the track to the top of the ridge. There are a number steep, loose and rocky sections on the way up to try and clean. To clean them all you must be a good rider and very fit. When the track reaches the ridge go through a gate then follow the main track left then right to reach the top of the Garburn Pass (GR436043). Drop your saddle if you need to as this descent is steep and covered in loose boulders, a real technical challenge. Go through the gate at the top of the descent and drop all the way down to the village of Kentmere. At the bottom the descent turns right to finish at a lane (GR454044).
4. Turn left on the lane then, a short distance later, follow it right and descend to the church. Bear left around the church and continue descending to a bridge over the stream at the bottom. At the junction just after the bridge turn left and climb a thin lane (GR458039). Climb steeply to a T-junction, then turn left and climb the lane past a track on the left. Go through the gate at the crest of the lane and descend to a Byway on the right signed to Sadgill, which is on a left hand bend, just after a private track on the right (GR465050).
5. Turn right and climb the loose, rocky track through a few gates, to a gate at the top in a saddle between the peaks. Go through the gate then bear slightly left for a descent that drops steeply over big, loose rocks and pointy bedrock. Just after a couple of loose switchbacks turn right at the junction before the gate and go through a stream (GR481051). Climb the singletrack away from the stream to a gate. After the gate continue climbing on a wide grassy track that crosses the left hand flank of the hill. The track bears right and eventually reaches the top of Cocklaw Fell for a moorland crossing that can be quite boggy. The track then descends left around Skeggles Water before flattening out and coming to a junction by some large boulders and a bridleway marker post (GR473034).
6. Turn right and climb the thin rocky track up the left hand flank of Green Quarter Fell. Once over the top go straight on down a loose, rocky track to a gate in the drystone wall ahead. Go through the gate and follow the rutted grassy track. The track soon bears right and descends across the side of the fell towards Kentmere, going through a couple of gates on the way. The track is fast and soon becomes quite rocky. Continue straight ahead all the way to a gate and a lane at the edge of Kentmere (GR461040).
7. Turn right on the lane and climb to the next junction, then bear left and descend to the following junction (GR461042). Turn left and descend the previously climbed lane to the junction at the bottom. Turn right and go over the bridge then climb to the church. At the church take the BW on the left and descend to Kentmere Hall (GR451042). At the Hall / farm go across the stream then bear left and climb the wide rocky track above Hall Wood. At the top of the climb the track bears right to follow a drystone wall on the left. Go through three gates on this undulating trail to a junction at a ford directly after the third gate (GR443027).
8. Before the ford turn left and follow the hard pack track on the left of the stream. After going through a couple of bends and a ford the track reaches a gate. Go straight on through the gate for the Sawmill Cottage descent that starts grassy but becomes rockier as it drops. Follow the obvious trail and go through a few gates before finally coming out to a lane and some buildings. Follow the lane straight ahead for a while, then go through a left hand bend to a junction just before the bridge (GR455012).
9. Turn right and go through the gate to follow the rocky track along the right hand side of the river. The track eventually bears right to a house. Climb up past the right hand side of the house to a junction with a lane a short distance later (GR454007). Turn left and follow the lane, generally downhill, to a junction with a bridge on the left. Go straight on and follow the lane back into Staveley. Follow the lane straight on through the village then go right at the forked junction (GR470986). A short distance later, at the main junction in the village, go straight on. Turn left at the following junction to return to car park at Wheelbase cycles.
Not only is there a bike shop at the start of the ride, which has a hose you can use to clean your bike post ride, there is a café, Hawkshead Brewery and an ice cream shop. Not far away in the village is a Spar and a local shop, both good for buying trail food.