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Most of the low fells east of Coniston Water are covered by woodland and forestry plantations. The extensive network of access tracks within the forest has some way marked and colour-coded mountain bike routes - which are particularly ideal for beginners and riders who enjoy constructed single-track (further route information can be obtained from the Forestry Commission at Grizedale).
For those wanting a challenge in a more open setting there is an excellent bridleway in the area that has a relatively easy ascent and a good descent, with lots of tricky terrain in between. The bridleway starts at the north end of Coniston Water and traverses south along the low ridge line formed by Crag Head, The Park and Selside to finish at High Nibthwaite. The Parkamoor descent is an established classic and is a perfect introduction to the big Lake District descents. There are a couple of short technical rock steps that newcomers to the area might want to dismount and walk, but other than these the riding gives an excellent long downhill run. The bridleway is shared by other users so it is important to be mindful of this, be fully in control and give way as necessary.
4 - 5 hours
Terrain: valley road, steep bridleway, forestry tracks and roads, open grassy fell with some outcrops and stony access track.
1. From the centre of Coniston take the Hawkshead road East for 1.6km to a junction at the head of Coniston Water. Turn right, and follow the road as it climbs to another junction. Continue past the Hawkshead turning and follow the road for 700m to the start of a bridleway on the left side of the road at a gateway (this is actually the second of two bridleways on the left).
2. Follow the bridleway as it climbs South then South East through woodland for 1.6km to meet a forestry track near Lawson Park. On the other side of the track the bridleway continues (sign posted to Grizedale). Follow the bridleway as it steepens and climbs South East to join another forest road - the track is boggy but its horrors only last for 300m. At the forest track turn right and follow it South for 350m to a left hand bend. At the bend the bridleway leaves the track, turn right and continues South East; follow it as it skirts high ground (lying on the East) for 800m to a wall near the summit of The Park.
3. The bridleway continues South; follow it amongst the bracken and low outcrops for 1.1km to Low Parkamoor. From Low Parkamoor an excellent access track heads South; follow it as it makes a brief climb then descends for 3.6km right into the centre of High Nibthwaite. From High Nibthwaite turn right and join the road; follow it North for 8.8km along the side of Coniston Water and back to Coniston.