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image for Cycle Route item typeTour of Yewdale and Tilberthwaiteadd to shortlist



The little side valley of Tilberthwaite was once a thriving centre for slate quarrying. Numerous clean-cut walls and deep-water filled hollows bear testament to this. They have been idle for many decades and nature has pretty much reclaimed them blanketing them in wonderful deciduous woodland and softening them with undergrowth. They are mostly of interest to rock climbers and divers. One of their legacies is a network of tracks and bridleway that interlink them and connect with the main valleys of Yewdale and little Langdale. These tracks vary from rough stony single track to smooth vehicle width access tracks and make ideal mountain biking routes. Coniston is a good start point to take advantage of these tracks. It’s a great base with lots of facilities and its lead-in valley Yewdale, has a nice section of lakeside road to enjoy and a pleasant old bridleway. The leg along Yewdale is an out and back section whilst the loop around Tilberthwaite is anti-clock wise. You could do it clock-wise but this way takes best advantage of the descents.

Route Information

Time/Effort 2 out of 5
Navigation 3 out of 5
Technicality 3 out of 5
OS map OS Landranger 90 & 98, OS Explorer OL6 & OL7

Route Essentials

Cycle Route: Coniston - Tilberthwaite - Coniston

Duration: 2 - 3 hours

Miles: 10

Route Details

1. From the main car park in Coniston take the Hawkshead (B5285) road out of the village. Follow it around the head of Coniston Water to a junction. Turn L (for Hawkshead) and follow it for 300m. Turn L again onto the lane/bridleway past Boon Crag Farm. It climbs slightly then gives a nice little decent down to Low Yewdale. Past Low Yewdale turn R onto the A593 and follow it N towards Ambleside. Ignore the first turning on the L to Tilberthwaite, instead carry on around the bend and turn L on to the second turning to Hodge Close.

2. The road climbs steadily up into Tilberthwaite on the E side of the beck. Follow it first past the buildings at Holme Ground then on round to the huge holes of Hodge Close Quarry. Take a peek into the quarries but don’t get to close too the edge! Just past the quarries the track forks. Take the L branch and follow it down the pleasant bridleway to the narrow road at Stang End. Turn L and follow it down to the ford on the River Brathy.

3. Now the fun begins. The leg back from the ford over to High Tilberthwaite is the best bit. It is real mountain biking with a challenging climb then a swooping descent. To start it you take the bridleway that climbs S away from the ford. There is a fork after about 1km, you take the R branch and then continue to climb generally SW to the farm at High Tilberthwaite.

4. From the farm join the road and follow it SW then SE down through Tilberthwaite on the W side of the beck to join the A593 after a steep descent. Turn R on to the A593 and retrace your outward route back to Coniston

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