Coniston - Banishead Moor - Tranearth - Coniston
1 - 2 hours
The Coniston Fells not only hold the big classic mountain bike rides like the Walna Scar Road but also some less intimidating routes like this top class little descent that flits its way down Banishead Moor. It is the product of the packhorse men and the slate quarries and lies on the rough triangle of fells between the Walna Scar Road and the main A593 beside Coniston Water. This is an ideal route to get to know the Coniston Fells and to get to grips with the style of riding in the area. The lower section of the Walna Scar Road is used to access the descent as although it’s steep it is mostly rideable, the only exception being a series of rock gates and the bouldery sections around them. This takes you to the mouth of The Cove, an impressively situated stepped corrie at the foot of Dow Crag and the key landmark, Cove Bridge. This marks the start of the descent and all the fun. Once at the bottom there’s no need to tangle with traffic on the road back to Coniston, as there is a really nice right of way that winds its way back via the shores of Coniston Water.
1. From the main car park in Coniston turn left then left again past the church to the bridge over Church Beck. Just over the bridge turn right and follow the narrow road up to the hotel; follow it past the hotel round the bend to the foot of a very steep hill; and the start of the Walna Scar Road. Climb the hill, which eases after 300m, and continue along it to the fell gate – and the end of the metalled surface. Above the fell gate, follow the road/track South West as it gradually rises passing the quarry access track and Boo Tarn. Continue up as it steepens through a series of rock gates and heads to a junction at a large. Ignore the path on the right that heads up to Goat’s Water. Instead continue along the main track (Walna Scar Road) until you reach Cove Bridge.
2. Cross Cove Bridge then turn immediately left. This is the start of the descent down the bridleway that crosses Banishead Moor to Tranearth. It is vague to start with but basically follows the South West side of Torver Beck. It becomes far clearer as Banishead Quarry is approached. There is a precipitous path close to the quarry edges, which should be ignored. Instead follow the bridleway which passes the workings further right (South West). Once below the quarries the bridleway is followed into an enclosure and a lane. It is still quite rough and gives an excellent descent past the climbing hut at Tranearth and on down to Torver and the main road,
3. Once you reach the A593 turn left on to it and follow it North East towards Coniston for 400m to a minor road on the right. Turn onto it and follow it a short distance over the old railway bridge to the start of a permissive track on the left. This track is followed, passing Hoathwaite Farm to meadow by the side of Coniston Water. Near the lake shore follow the track (not the footpath) and head North by the lake and through the campsite to Coniston Hall.
4. From Coniston Hall continue North a short distance on the campsite access track then turn right and follow the track for 300m to another junction. Turn right again and follow the track to gain Lake Road (access to the Gondola pier). Turn left onto Lake Road and follow it back into Coniston.
|Time/Effort:||2 out of 5|
|Navigation:||4 out of 5|
|Technicality:||4 out of 5|
|OS map:||OS Landranger 90 & 98|
- Banishead Moor and Tranearth
- Start point: (near Coniston)