4 - 6 hours
Ever since mountain biking started in the Lake District the welcoming network of trails through Whinlatter Forest Park have been popular with riders. Recent developments with the construction of the Altura and Quercus Trails have turned it into a world class facility. The two trails offer over 26km of dedicated off-road riding, providing routes suitable for both expert and beginner. The trails start at the well-serviced Whinlatter Visitor Centre which is located on the road towards the top of the Whinlatter Pass.
Lots of mountain bikers head to the forest park by car but if you are based in Cockermouth a much more pleasant approach is to cycle to Whinlatter Forest Park. The approach from Cockermouth takes advantage of part of National Cycle Route 71 following quiet lanes through neat Lakeland hamlets, a winding mountain pass and well-graded forest trails. The ride out and back is worth doing in its own right particularly if you are new to the area as you get to explore the lovely Lorton Vale and the shores of Bassenthwaite Lake. Combined with the single track rides in Whinlatter Forest it makes an outstanding mountain bike adventure.
1. Take the B5292 south out of Cockermouth and follow it under the A66 and along Lorton Vale all the way to Low Lorton.
2. Through Low Lorton at the second fork (GR NY 153 256) turn left and join National Cycle Route 71. Follow it east through Boonbeck and up the climb of Whinlatter Pass to a car park on the right just below the top of the pass.
3. At the car park National Cycle Route 71 leaves the road and is followed along the forest track as it loops back east and climbs through the trees. It then descends to rejoin the B5292 at Comb Bridge. Turn left and head west up Whinlatter Pass for 250m to the entrance to the Visitor Centre on the right.
4. From the Visitor Centre you can either tackle one of the forest routes (Altura and Quercus Trails), or start your return to Cockermouth.
5. To return to Cockermouth follow (National Cycle Route 71) east along forest tracks as it descends by Comb Beck to join the road at Thornthwaite. Turn left onto the road and follow it north through Powter How to a bend and T junction with the A66.
6. Do not join the A66; instead turn left onto the track just before the T junction (signed National Cycle Route 71). Follow this north through the trees passing Beck Wythop then turning west to climb up through Wythop Woods and to join a road at GR NY 199 288. Continue heading west on the road following National Cycle Route 71 signs all the way back to Cockermouth.
|Time/Effort:||3 out of 5|
|Navigation:||1 out of 5|
|Technicality:||1 out of 5|
|Height gain/loss (metres):||910metres (2,986feet)|
|OS map:||OS Landranger 85 & 90, OS Explorer OL4|
- Start point: NY 122307 (near Cockermouth)