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Cycling at Tarn Hows

Cycling at Tarn Hows

Between Ambleside and Coniston is an intricate network of low fells and twisting dales. Amongst them are some of the most cherished landscapes in the Lake District including Tarn Hows and a Handful of Beatrix Potter’s farms. This ride follows a meandering course exploring the best bits the area has to offer. Along the way there a few steep hills to climb and some off road sections to deal with.

Route Information

Time/Effort 3 out of 5
Navigation 3 out of 5
Technicality 3 out of 5
OS map Landranger 97, Explorer OL 7
Toilets Ambleside, Tarn Hows, Coniston, Elterwater
Refreshments Cafes at Ambleside, Coniston,Elterwater, Skelwith Bridge and Monk Coniston. Pubs at Ambleside, Elterwater, Little Langdale and Skelwith Bridge.

Route Essentials

Cycle Route: Ambleside-Tarn Hows-Coniston-Hodge Close-Little Langdale-Elterwater-Ambleside

Duration: 2.5-4 hours

Miles: 19

Route Details

1. From the far end of Rydal Road car park take the cycle path West firectly out of the car park to cross the River Rothay and join the Under Loughrigg Road. Turn left to the A593 Coniston Road. Carefully go diagonally across through the gap in the wall opposite onto the cycle track, signed Bowness and Coniston. Continue SW, joining the cycle lane on the A593 through Clappersgate.

2. In a little under 0.5km turn left after the footbridge, following the cycle sign for Bowness and Coniston. Turn left after the footbridge, following the cycle sign for Bowness, along a narrow lane to a T junction with the B5286. Avoid this road by using the cycle path to the right of the road, following the Bowness cycle sign. Stay on this path following the cycle route as it joins then leaves the road again until a T junction. Rejoin the road here and carefully turn right, following the sign to Coniston and Tarn Hows up a hill. Follow the lane as it climbs to a cross roads at the Drunken Duck. Head straight ahead to Knipe Fold. At the triangle take the right fork for Hawkshead Hill.

3. From Hawkshead Hill take the lane that climbs west to Tarn Hows. In the car park at Tarn Hows there is an information centre and toilet. To continue follow the one-way road steeply down hill to join the B5285 at Monk Coniston. Turn right and follow the cycle path beside the B5285 to Coniston.

4. At the T junction with the A593 turn right and immediately left beside the Black Bull, following cycle route sign Ambleside route 37. Follow the lane to the end of the tarmac and turn to join the cycle- path, again signed route 37, which is followed through woodland to the Tilberthwaite Road, Pass the Tilberthwaite road, continue on the cycle track to the next road.

5. Turn left signed Hodge Close. The lane climbs past huge quarries at the junction of tracks following the byway to Stang End. Turn left and follow the surfaced road down to Little Langdale ford. Cross using the footbridge and follow the narrow road to the T junction at little Langdale. Option 1: Turn L then after 200m turn right onto a narrow lane, signed Elterwater- challenging option. Warning this lane climbs slightly, then after Dale Head, it becomes a track and descends to Elterwater. The descent is the roughest section of the whole route and may need to be walked down. At the junction with the road turn left and proceed to Elterwater.

6. Option 2: At the Little Langdale T junction turn right to Colwith, then turn left to Elterwater. After the bridge turn right through the car park, following blue cycle route 37 markers along the riverside path. After woodland and meadows comes Skelwith Force, turn right over the millennium cycle bridge continuing to follow the 37 markers to arrive at the A593.

7. Turn left onto the A593 after 100m turn right with caution signed Ambleside, Route 37 to Skelwith Fold. At the T-Junction turn left downhill to the church. After the church turn left and cross the bridge over the River Brathay to join the A593. Turn right and retrace your route back to Ambleside, following the blue cycle route signs.


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