Points of Interest

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.

The Derwent is a river in the English Lake District, with its source at Styhead Tarn near Skafell Pike and its mouth at Workington on Cumbria's west coast.

The river meanders down the Borrowdale valley and flows into the southern end of Derwent Water. Exiting near Keswick it then heads west and flows into Bassenthwaite Lake and from there to Workington via the town of Cockermouth.

Mountain bike routes along the Derwent are mostly limited to near its source and the Borrowdale valley. Here is what we have.

Paved route of Cleveland Way

The Cleveland Way is a long distance footpath which is named after the county of Cleveland, but in fact is mostly based the North Yorkshire Moors National Park.

The route starts in Helmsley in the south-west of the national park and makes its way north along the western edge of the moors. From here it flanks the Cleveland escarpment - which makes up the northern edge of the moors, heading generally north-easterly towards the coast at Saltburn. From Saltburn, the route hugs England's north-east coast until its end and Filey Brigg, over 100 miles from the start.

Unfortunately for us mountain bikers, as is the case for most long distance trails, it is not possible to ride the whole length of the Way. A lot of it is footpath. Despite this, as a lot is also bridleway, many routes in the area are made up of, at least in part, the Cleveland Way.

Footpath Down Cold Moor

Cold Moor sits above Bilsdale, just south of the Wainstones, in the North Yorkshire Moors. It is accessed by either from the south via Cold Moor Lane in Chop Gate, or one of several bridleways in the north. The trail traverses the length of the moor from one to the other, including the flowing singletrack of Carlton Bank.

Swaledale sheep and the Howgill Fells

The Howgill Fells are in the often overlooked area of Cumbria between the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. And they benefit from it too in that riding around here gets you the best of both worlds - a strange mix of the rocky peaks of the Lakes and rolling grassing hills of the Dales.

The fact that there's a bridleway running right down the ridge, crossing the highest point at the summit of The Calf just serves to enhance the Howgill Fells as a mountain biking destination even more. The descent beyond the calf is stunning wilderness singletrack for miles.

If you're heading this way then head for Sedbergh, which is the best base to start from for any Howgill rides.

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.

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.

Styhead Tarn

Styhead Tarn sits close to the top of Sty Head, a mountain pass between the valleys of Wasdale and Borrowdale in the Lake District. The descents into either of these valleys are technical but rideable and fun. As ascents they're both tough, but surprisingly mostly rideable.

Another bridleway heading roughly east passes Sprinkling Tarn and then Angle Tarn before decending into Mickleden at the head of Great Langdale, where it meets the Cumbria Way.

The viewing area at Clay Bank carpark

Clay Bank is one of the main road routes onto the northern edge of the North York Moors. The road that runs up it is the B1257, which leads through Bilsdale and eventually to Helmsley in the south of the national park.

Close to the top is Clay Bank carpark, ideally situated to start a ride from. At the top of the pass there's a gate on either side of the road where the Cleveland Way long distance footpath crosses the road. It leads up towards the Wain Stones to the west, no bikes allowed up here (and you wouldn't want to if you'd seen the steep steps to the top) but there's a wonderfully serene forest track that runs below it, passing below the Wainstones that's available for use.

On the other side of the road (the east), it is a bridleway. This climbs steeply onto Carr Ridge and Urra Moor. From the top the trail forks off with the Cleveland Way (still in bridleway form) leading off to the east across the Urra Moor, eventually meeting the dismantled railway at Bloworth Crossing and the Ingleby Incline. The other fork leads south across the edge of the moor, high above Bilsdale, with various crossings onto and off the moor.

Cleveland Hills

The Cleveland Hills are a bit of a Mecca for mountain bikers in the area. They mark the northern and western edges of the North Yorkshire Moors and are literally littered with awesome trails.

There's Guisborough Woods in the east which is full of forest tracks and tons of hidden singletrack short-cuts through the woods. Then there's Clay Bank of course, with its popular car park making it a great base for a great selection of rides. And of course you've got Carlton Bank where there's a downhill course, and that's just a small taste of what's available round here.

Dob Gill Woods

Dob Gill drains Harrop Tarn into the south-west of Thirlmere in the Lake District, as it descends through Dob Gill Woods.

A bridleway climbs from Watendlath Tarn, 2 or 3 miles to the north-west, up to Blea Tarn on Watendlath Fell, before passing over the top and dropping back down, through Dob Gill Woods, passing Harrop Tarn, to the quiet road on Thirlmere's western bank.

Watendlath Tarn

This small tarn nestled between the fells of High Seat, Watendlath Fell and Grange Fell in the Lake District and sits at the top end of the Ashness Bridge road climb. In the summer there's a cafe at Watendlath Farm.

The routes in and out of here are the road climb to the north (which would be a waste of altitude if ridden as a descent), the bridleway to the west which turns into one of the most fun technical sections in the Lake District eventually spitting you out at Rosthwaite and the third option which is the bridleway headed SSE. This route climbs a little more to Blea Tarn before dropping into Dob Gill Woods and eventually Thirlmere.

The Bridge across Great Langdale Beck at Elterwater

Great Langdale Beck runs along the Great Langdale valley in the Lake District national park. It flows through the villages of Chapel Stile, Elterwater and Skelwith Bridge. Eventually it flows into the River Brathay.

For the section between Elterwater and Skelwith Bridge it has a bridleway running along its banks. (Please note this was recently upgraded so if you are looking at and old map it may be marked as a footpath.)

Rosthwaite

This small settlement in the Borrowdale area of the Lake District is set amongst dramatic scenery in a spectacular area of the Lakes.

The village itself sits at the foot of Birkett's Leap, a superb technical descent that drops down from Watendlath Tarn. It also lies directly on the route of the Cumbria Way and close to the route of the Allerdale Ramble, making it a popular place with mountain bikers and walkers alike.

In Rosthwaite you'll find the usual refreshment stops - a shop and a couple of pubs, with beer gardens with a view.

Hayeswater

Hayeswater is a small reservoir close to Ullswater in the north-eastern Lake District. Nestled between Gray Crag, The Knott and High Street, its single bridleway leads down a fast hard-packed double track descent of Hayeswater Gill to Hartsop (best ridden in the other direction to access the High Street range). And to the north east the bridleway leads up to The Knott and on to the High Street range, although the actual whereabouts of the bridleway on this section is not clear and you'll probably end up pushing the bike through the middle of the field until it joins the footpath near the top.

Path junction near Bram Rigg Top, Howgill Fells

Little Dummacks is a fell in the Howgill Fells range, which sits quietly between the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales. Its big brother, Great Dummacks, sits alongside. Both fells are a short detour from the classic Bowderdale route, but worth it if you're a peak bagger with a list to complete!

The Allerdale Ramble through Setmurthy Plantation

The Allerdale Ramble is a long distance footpath in the Lake District. It runs from Seathwaite in Borrowdale the very heart of the Lakes to Grune Point on the Solway Firth. It takes in an amazing variety of scenery including Derwent Water, Skiddaw and Bassenthwaite Lake as well as the coastal scenery in the west.

Most of the trail is public footpath and therefore off-limits to mountain bikes but parts of it are bridleway and play an important part in a lot of routes. Most notable of this is the section around Cat Bells and Derwent Water.

Leaving the Cleveland Way at Bloworth Crossing

Bloworth Crossing is the site of a crossroads on the former Rosedale Ironstone Railway in the North York Moors. What were once rail lines are now public bridleways, so Bloworth Crossing forms a major junction for many mountain bike routes. It also sits on the Cleveland Way long distance footpath.

The northern track follows the Cleveland Way, staying close to the edge of the moors and overlooking the Tees Valley. After about three miles there's a junction for the Bank Foot descent.

The eastern trail follows an easy, meandering, dismantled railway route across the moor to the Lion Inn on Blakey Ridge, and gives access to the Rosedale routes.

South traverses Rudland Rigg, an easy climb and descent good for either beginners or for joining up other route sections.

The west path soon forks. The left fork follos the Cleveland Way across Urra Moor. The right leads to the Ingleby Incline, which although would make blisteringly fast descent, would be a bit of a waste of altitude and is best ridden as a (tough!) climb onto the moors and up to Bloworth Crossing.

Grange is a small village in Borrowdale in the Lake District. It sits just off the main road by the picturesque River Derwent, surrounded by impressive mountains including High Spy, Grange Fell and Ashness Fell.

In terms of mountain bike route options, Grange lies on a part of the Cumbria Way that is classified as bridleway, and forms part of many popular routes around here. The Cumbria Way to the north contours Cat Bells' eastern flank, affording stunning panoramas across Derwent Water to Keswick and Skiddaw beyond. Taking a left from this route would take you over Hause Gate, the mountain pass between Maiden Moor and Cat Bells.

South from Grange, also along the Cumbria Way, at first follows the river before climbing onto the flanks of High Spy then High Scawdel. The bridleway eventually comes to an end in this direction as it meets Honister Pass on its eastern side, about 50m below the the high point.

Overlooking Ullswater from Long Crag on Barton Fell

Barton Fell, at the northern end of the High Street range of mountains overlooks Ullswater in the north-eastern Lake District. The High Street roman road descends south to north from Loadpot Hill to The Cockpit on Askham Fell.

There are numerous route options from here leading in all directions: west gets you on the descent to Howtown, and Ullswater beyond; north heads to Roehead and Pooley Bridge, or the Celleron roman fort; north-east leads across Askham Fell to the village of Askham; and south-east crosses Moor Divock to drop you on the road near Helton.

Beyond Loadpot Hill to the south, traverses the High Street ridge, eventually crossing its summit and leading to Windermere far beyond.

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.

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