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Making frequent stops and taking in all the attractions of an area is all part of the fun of being on a bike. The triangle of fells between Ambleside, Coniston and Hawkshead is the perfect venue for this sort of cycle tour. Each of the villages are packed with cafes, pubs and restaurants to enjoy, and in between the woods , dales lakes and rivers provide a delightful and ever changing landscape to explore. This ride has some off road riding and a few climbs.
The outward leg between Ambleside and Coniston follow a Cycle Routes 6 and 37 so just follow the blue cycle direction signs and numbered way markers, Similarly, the return from Lake Windermere onwards follows Cycle route 6 to Ambleside.
|Time/Effort||3 out of 5|
|Navigation||3 out of 5|
|Technicality||3 out of 5|
|OS map||Landranger 97 , Explorer OL7|
|Refreshments||Cafes at Ambleside, Elterwater,Skelwith Bridge. Pubs at Ambleside, Chapel Stile, Elterwater, Little Langdale. Shops at Ambleside, Coniston and Hawkshead.|
1. From the far end of Rydal Road car park take the cycle path west directly out of the car park (due to open Spring 2013) to cross the river Rothay and join the Under Loughrigg Road. Turn left and follow the road 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 South West, joining the cycle lane on the A593 through Clappersgate. In a little under 0.5km turn left over a stone footbridge, again following cycle signs for Bowness and Coniston.
2. Cross the bridge and then turn right, signed Coniston Route 37, to pass the church. Follow the lane as it heads west alongside the River Brathay. The lane then swings south west and climbs to a junction at Skelwith Fold. Turn right, then after 200m turn right again and descend to the A593 at Skelwith Bridge.
3. Carefully turn left onto the A593 then after 100m turn right, signed Coniston route 37 and join the cycle path. Follow the 37 signs turning right to the foot/cycle bridge over the River Brathay. Cross the bridge the turn left onto the riverside cycle path. As you head along the path and emerge from the trees the peaks of Langdale come dramatically into view. Continue easily along the cycle path and follow it north west up the valley to Elterwater.
4. Turn left and follow the lane as it climbs gently over to Colwith. Turn right and follow the narrow lane up into little Langdale. Just after passing the Three Shires Inn turn left and take the narrow lane down to the footbridge/ford on the river Brathay. Cross the footbridge and on the other side turn left, then after 300m of climbing at Stang End, turn right and follow the track over to Hodge Close.
5. At Hodge Close join the road and follow it south along Tilberthwaite. After crossing a stone bridge, before reaching the A593 turn right along a cycle path signed Coniston Route 37, Follow these signs to Coniston.
6. Take the B5285 (cycle path) east out of Coniston towards Hawkshead. At the junction at the ehad of Coniston Water turn right for Brantwood, after 600m take the road on the left that climbs up to re- join the B5285. Turn right onto the B5285 and follow it up Hawkshead Hill and down to a T junction where you turn right to Hawkshead. On approaching Hawkshead as the B5286 goes sharp left, go straight ahead into Main Street , through the village centre, straight ahead at the first junction to a second give way junction. Turn left.
7. Continue heading east on the B5285 from Hawkshead passing Esthwaite Water . Near Sawrey (look for Beatrix Potter’s Hil Top Farm) and Far Sawrey. Then make the descent down to Lake Windermere. Don’t head all the way down to the ferry, instead take the lane on the left, cycle sign Ambleside, that follows the western shore of Windermere. This lane and then the subsequent cycle track should then be followed north all the way to the road at the entrance to Wray Castle.
8. Turn right and follow the cycle direction signs for Ambleside, retracing your route from Clappersgate.