Points of Interest

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This page lists the points of interest found in all of our mountain bike routes here at Fat Tyres. These could be mountains, rivers, towns, castles, lakes, even ancient stone circles! If anything takes your fancy on these pages, simply click on the photograph for a list of routes featuring that particular item.

Blea Tarn

There are two tarns named Blea Tarn in the Lake District. This is one located on Watendlath Fell, between the Thirlmere valley and Borrowdale, and sits close to the bridleway between Dob Gill and Watendlath Tarn. The trail climbs through the woods from the banks of Thirlmere, past Harrop Tarn, before dropping down and descending past Blea Tarn to Watendalth. From Watendlath a short climb gets you to the beginning of the excellent technical descent of Birkett's Leap.

The Howtown Hotel, near Ullswater

Howtown is a hamlet with a small harbour on the south-east bank of Ullswater in the Lake District. Via road, there is only one way in and out and that is the minor road that leads here from Pooley Bridge in the north, and on to dead ends at Dale Head, Boredale Head and Sandwick to the south and west.

The bridleway to the north-east leads uphill towards the stone circle The Cockpit, and is best ridden in the opposite direction as a sweet singletrack downhill section dropping down the flank of Barton Fell. Following the same route to the west leads via Bannerdale and Sandwick to the Ullswater lakeside trail, in our opinion one of the best technical rocky routes in the country, with superb views across the lake itself - eventually leading to Patterdale and Glenridding.

Track Through Heather on Blakey Ridge

Blakey Ridge is a rigg in the North York Moors between the dales of Rosedale and Farndale. The road that runs its length runs north to south between Castleton and Hutton-le-Hole.

The area offers a huge array of mountain biking route options with the main road, as mentioned, running north to south. Then there's the dismantled old mining railway, which meanders across High Blakey Moor to the west, to Bloworth Crossing and beyond. This was once off-limits to mountain bikes but has recently been upgraded to a bridleway. To the east, the same rail route skirts around the head of Rosedale leading past the old mine buildings to Hill Cottages.

Low and High Sprintgill, with Wandale Hill behind

Wandale Hill is a 497m (1,631ft) fell in the Howgill Fells in Cumbria, it sits just outside of the Yorkshire Dales park boundary. A track follows the contours around the hill on both east and west sides from the farm at Adamthwaite to the north. The eastern side follows the field boundaries and is the most direct route to Narthwaite to the south. The western path takes a longer route that follows Adamthwaite Sike, curves around the fell and also meets at Narthwaite.

Boredale

Boredale is dale near Ullswater in the north-eastern Lake District, it runs from north to south between Place Fell, High Dodd and Beda Fell. The road from Howtown runs most of its length before turning into a bridleway at boredale head.

The afformentioned bridleway is the only one in the valley, but plays an important part in many routes as it lead up to (or down from) Boredale Hause where several routes meet. These allow access to Hartsop, Patterdale and Ullswater to the west, or up and over Beda Fell into Bannerdale to the east. It is rideable in both directions, save a short section of boulder-field you may have to carry for.

North leads, via road, to a fork where left gets you to Sandwick and the lakeside trail and right gets you to Howtown for either a pleasant quiet road saunter along the banks of Ullswater to Pooley Bridge, or to The Cockpit, by riding its descent to Howtown as a climb.

Watendlath Fell

Watendlath Fell is 515m fell in the English Lake District that sits between Borrowdale in the west, and the Thirlmere valley in the east.

There is one bridleway that crosses the fell and it is best ridden in the SSE direction. This is accessed from the road to the north with climbs from Derwent Water in the Borrowdale valley to Watendlath Tarn, via the well-known and oft-visited Ashness Bridge and its stunning viewpoint.

From the tarn, the road turns to bridleway. You can cross the stream to the right, just before the tarn. This would take you away from Watendlath Fell, climbing Bowdergate Gill before dropping off for the well-known technical descent of Birkett's Leap.

Instead of crossing the stream, turn left and climb the steep track to the left of the buildings. After about 200m of climbing, pass through a gate and turn right. Now, heading in a SSE direction, the trail flanks Middle Crag with Watendlath Fell across Bleatarn Gill to your right. The track gradually steepens before topping out at about 500m before the descent starts. From here the track first drops to the banks of Blea Tarn (popular for fishing), then continues its descent in a easterly direction towards Harrop Tarn and Dob Gill, for an excellent woodland section that eventually will regurgitate you out onto the banks of Thirlmere and the minor road hugging its western bank.

In the summer there's a small cafe at Watendlath Farm, a lovely place to stop for refreshments.

Keswick

Keswick is a bustling community and self-proclaimed outdoor capital of England in the north of the Lake District. It is a highly popular spot for tourists, owing probably to its proximity to the A66 - one of the main routes into the Lakes.

There are a wealth of pubs, cafes, restaurants and museums to name just a few attractions. There's something for everyone. For the mountain biker, Keswick Bikes offer a very friendly service and stock pretty much anything you might need, they also provide hire bikes for those that don't fancy transporting their own rig halfway across the country.

As a base for mountain biking Keswick is perfect too, it is surrounded by a probably unparalleled amount of excellent mountain biking terrain. You have:

  • NorthSkiddaw, Skiddaw Forest and Lonscale Fell. Some amazing bridleways here, particularly the trail that skirts Lonscale Fell which has a truly alpine feel with a vertical drop off one side.
  • North-east – the mighty Blencathra. There's no legal bike route to the top (I don't think, correct me if I'm wrong) but you can do a circuit of the whole mountain for spectacular views and this route also takes in the Lonscale Fell trail.
  • EastMatterdale Common is packed full of riding opportunities and for those a little fitter, this direction takes you to the Helvellyn ridge (although usually you would begin a Helvellyn ride from a little closer).
  • SouthBorrowdale which again offers ample opportunity for exploring and is famous for the Borrowdale Bash route.
  • WestWhinlatter Forest where you can get your fix of man-made waymarked mountain bike trails.
Path from Winder to Arant Haw

Winder is a 473m (1,552ft) fell in the Howgill Fells near Sedbergh in the north-western corner of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. A bridleway climbs the steep-sided southerly aspect from Sedbergh to a point north-east of the summit where it meets the more major track that runs the length of the Howgill Fells. Turning right onto this track will take you eventually to Great Dummacks, The Calf and beyond into Bowderdale, via Rowantree Grains. Turning left and doubling back slightly on yourself takes you to the summit of Winder and then descends the opposite side, meeting the road north-west of Sedbergh.

High Raise Summit

High Raise is a 802m (2,634ft) high fell in the north-eastern Lake District. There are actually two fells named High Raise, the other is in the Great Langdale area.

High Raise forms part of the High Street range of mountains and the epic roman road bridleway that runs it's length skirts the High Raise summit. It'd be rude not to hop up to the top to say you've done it!

The Knott Summit

The Knott is a fell in the High Street range in the Lake District. It stands at a respectable 739m (2,418ft) and although there isn’t a bridleway route to the summit, the actual bridleway passes within a 20m or so, so if you’re a peak bagger then it's worth shouldering the bike and clambering up to tick it off the list.

The bridleway that we’re talking about is the one leading west to east up Hayeswater Gill from Hartsop and on to High Street summit or High Raise. The route down to Hayeswater isn’t exactly clear but as long as it’s not too wet you won’t go far wrong by just pointing yourself downhill and going for it.

Thirlmere

Thirlmere is a reservoir in the central Lake District national park and it sits nestled between the high mountains of the Helvellyn range to its east, and High Seat and the Wythburn Fells to its west. Wyth Burn feeds the reservoir at its southern end, and Thirlmere empties into St John's Beck to the north.

Mountain biking in the area is perhaps not as extensive as other parts of the Lakes but there are routes and bridleways dotted about, although they may involve some tough hike-a-bike climbs or slow, picky descents. At Dob Gill, to the southern end, a bridleway climbs steeply past Harrop Tarn and then Blea Tarn to cross Watendlath Fell, before descending very steeply to Watendlath Tarn. This takes you over to the west, on the east side at about the same point a steep, stepped bridleway climbs right onto the Helvellyn ridge. This is completely unrideable either up (and most likely down), but is probably the quickest way onto the ridge if you don't mind shouldering the bike and carrying for an hour or so.

Thirlspot, also on the east bank, offers a much more rideable bridleway (in both directions) which also gets you onto the ridge between White Side and Lower Man. Finally there's Sticks Pass which crosses the Helvellyn range from Legburthwaite at the northern end of Thirlmere, passes between Stybarrow Dodd and Raise and eventually descends to Glenridding. This is mostly rideable in both directions, with just a few push/carry sections along the way.

Barker's Crags, Scugdale

This popular rock climbing spot is set overlooking the sleepy valley of Scugdale in the North York Moors. A single bridleway climbs from the road in the valley through the crags, past Brian's Pond, and eventually to the summit of Whorlton Moor. From here it descends the fast stony track on the east of Carlton Bank, leading to the Lord Stones Cafe and Country Park, a great spot for refreshments, a bite to eat, and fantastic views across the Tees Valley.

Bridleway up Grisedale

Grisedale is the valley between Birkhouse Moor (to the north) and St Sunday Crag and Birks (to the south) in the Lake District. With Grisedale Tarn and the Helvellyn range at the head, and Patterdale and Ullswater at the bottom, Grisedale is about 5.5km (3.5mi) long.

A single bridleway stretches it’s length, forming part of a lot of Helvellyn routes, or over Grisedale Hause to drop down into Grasmere to the south-west. The path itself is fairly wide and quite rocky and can be ridden as either a ascent or descent just as well.

The path to Nethermost Pike

Nethermost Pike is 891m (2,923ft) fell in the Helvellyn range of mountains in the Lake District National Park. Its summit is just off the main bridleway that runs the length of the ridge, north takes you to Helvellyn itself and beyond. South takes you to Dollywaggon Pike before dropping into Grisedale and eventually ending up at Patterdale.

North York Moors Railway near Thomason Foss

The North Yorkshire Moors Railway is a popular steam railway and tourist attraction. It runs from Whitby to Pickering with stops at Grosmont, Goathland, Newton Dale, and Levisham on the way. The whole route is contained within the North York Moors National Park.

The train allows bikes (at least, it did when I rode it, it might be worth checking) so can be used as part of a ride, or for the return leg of a one way route.

Borrowdale

This picturesque valley in the Lake District is probably the finest example of a steep sided glacial valley in England. The higher southern end, the 'jaws of Borrowdale' is overlooked by steep imposing cliffs on each side. The River Derwent runs its length and empties into Derwent Water at the lower and wider nothern end of Borrowdale. At the far northern end of the valley is tourist favourite Keswick with its pubs, cafes, bike shops and museums. To the south, the road begins to rise as it lifts you up over Honister Pass.

The valley is home to several settlements. The largest of these is Rosthwaite, which has a couple of pubs and a shop for refreshments. Also in the valley are Stonethwaite, Seatoller and Seathwaite.

Borrowdale, as you might expect, is riddled with mountain bike route options. Bridleways, in some cases clinging to the rocky precipices, run the length of the valley as well as descending off the surrounding fells. One of the more well known routes is the Borrowdale Bash but its worth exploring because some of the other trails offer fantastic mountain biking.

Trig point on the Calf

The Calf is the highest peak in the Howgill Fells in Cumbria, it rises to 676m (2,218ft) above sea level and sits exactly on the national park boundary of the Yorkshire Dales. There are bridleways in all directions here. North-east follows the ridge for a little longer before dropping into Bowderdale on the amazing Bowderdale Singletrack. West descends White Fell before crossing Chapel Beck and ending at the road at Four Lane Ends. South leads to Bram Rigg Top where you can descend Bram Rigg, eventually coming out at Birkhaw. Or, stay on the ridge from here and continue to Little Dummacks and beyond, eventually dropping down into Sedbergh.

Loughrigg Fell/Grasmere/Rydal

Loughrigg Fell stands at 335m overlooking Grasmere, Rydal Water, Ambleside and Windermere in the Lake District. The main trail here is Loughrigg Terrace which is fast, fun and beautifully scenic.

Cairn, White Side

White Side is a fell in the Lake District which is part of the Helvellyn mountain range, situated between the Thirlmere and Glenridding valleys. Standing at 863m (2,831ft) above sea level, White Side sits between Raise and Lower Man and forms part of most Helvellyn routes.

Bridleways stretch out in four directions, with the main rocky trail that follows the ridge leading to Raise to the north and Lower Man and Helvellyn itself to the south. The westerly bridleway descends steeply via Brown Crag to the Thirlspot car park on Thirlmere. The eastern trail is also a steep descent dropping into Keppel Cove and leading past the youth hostel and eventually delivering you into Glenridding.

Both north and south directions make fast descents followed by a climb, and in the other direction make for perfectly rideable ascents. The easterly bridleway drops down very steeply for some very technical riding, and as an ascent requires shouldering the bike. The westerly bridleway is fast and steep but should be rideable at a push as a climb too.

Askham Fell

Askham Fell is a small (323m) hill near Pooley Bridge and Ullswater. It is criss-crossed with good bridleways leading to Pooley Bridge, Celleron roman fort, Askham, Loadpot Hill, and down one of the country's best descents to Howtown. All of these trails meet at a stone circle forming the central junction, known as The Cockpit.

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