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The fells just west of Ambleside are gentler than the higher fells and offer a good introduction to those new to the Lake District. This circular mountain bike tour takes in the pretty mix of lakes, woodland fells and lanes that surround the base of Loughrigg Fell. Originally when doing a mountain bike tour, Loughrigg cyclists had to follow a narrow road down the western leg past Loughrigg Tarn. A newly opened section of bridleway makes this no longer necessary. Instead the pleasant track on the eastern side of the tarn past The How can be followed, adding greatly to the quality of this ride. It's a fairly easy route in Lakeland terms but you will need some mountain bike experience as there are some short technical sections over rocky bits and there are a few hills to tackle.
Ambleside - Rydal Water - Loughrigg Tarn - Ambleside
2 - 3 hours
1. From Ambleside follow the one-way system as if heading for Coniston until you reach Rothay Bridge. Cross the bridge then turn immediately right and follow the lane for Under Loughrigg North, North West then North East alongside the River Rothay to Pelter Bridge.
2. Do not cross Pelter Bridge - instead turn left onto the track and follow it West as it climbs then descends to the side of Rydal Water. Continue West and follow the bridleway as it leaves Rydal Water and climbs to a low col overlooking Grasmere.
3. At the col the bridleway forks. The left Branch is Loughrigg Terrace. Follow it South West as it climbs then traverses the fellside high above Grasmere and joins the road at Red Bank.
4. Turn left on the road and follow it up hill to a fork. Take the left branch which leads down hill to another junction after 650m. Turn left again (new bridleway) and follow the pleasant track overlooking Loughrigg Tarn South East then South to a gate (by a cottage). Go through the gate the turn immediately sharp left to join a bridleway (signposted for Ambleside).
5. The bridleway climbs steadily North East, South East then North East to a col on the South East side of Loughrigg Fell just past a dip and beck. From the col the bridleway provides a fine descent East towards Ambleside. It regains the Under Loughrigg road which is then followed South back to Rothay Bridge from where you can follow the A593 back into the centre of Ambleside.