Howtown (Ullswater) Mountain Bike Routes

About Howtown (Ullswater)

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.

Map of Howtown (Ullswater) Routes

All Routes for Howtown (Ullswater)

Hause Crag above Boredale
Distance: 20mi / 33km
Ascent: 1,034m / 3,392ft
Offroad: 67%
Difficulty: 79%

This route is a variation on our Ullswater & Bannerdale Figure of Eight route and takes in some of the best Ullswater, in the Lake District, has to offer. From our preferred starting point in Patterdale, we start the ride with the climb of the mountain pass, Boredale Hause, before we drop into the fast singletrack descent into Boredale.

A section of road brings us to the next part of the ride, a climb to The Cockpit stone circle and then the amazing Cockpit to Howtown descent.

But the fun never stops! Up next we have yet the infamous Ullswater Lakeside path, you will either love it or hate it, but this is a section of trail you really must do. The trail roughly follows the lakeside from here, with lots of undulation, and it is an absolute rock-fest!

Into Bannerdale
Distance: 21mi / 34km
Ascent: 1,130m / 3,707ft
Offroad: 60%
Difficulty: 81%

This Lake District route is a variation on our Ullswater & Boredale Figure of Eight route and takes in some of the best Ullswater has to offer. From our preferred starting point in Patterdale, we start the ride with the climb of the mountain pass, Boredale Hause, and traverse of Beda Fell, setting us up nicely for the fun and fast descent into Bannerdale.

A section of road brings us to the next part of the ride, a climb to The Cockpit stone circle and descent of the popular and awesome natural singletrack descent to Howtown.

But the fun isn't over yet, we have yet to tackle the infamous Ullswater Lakeside path, the marmite of mountain bike trails... will you love it or hate it?! Although this trail follows (roughly) the lakeside, don't be fooled, there are plenty of undulations to keep you entertained, and lots of rocks!

Ullswater Mountain Biking
Distance: 15mi / 23km
Ascent: 481m / 1,578ft
Offroad: 57%
Difficulty: 59%

This is a fantastic route starting at Pooley Bridge in the Lake District. Despite relatively little climbing (for the Lake District!), this route delivers amazing scenery and one of the best natural descents in the country, from The Cockpit stone circle to Howtown, offering breathtaking views across Ullswater for its entirety.

The climb from Pooley Bridge onto Askham Fell is the toughest of the two climbs and is followed by a crossing of Moor Divock and a nice descent to the south through open moorland. A brief road section leads to Askham and the start of the second climb back on to Askham Fell, forming a figure-of-eight as you drop down onto the main descent from here to Howtown on some combination of loose rocks and singletrack all the way. Oh, and did I mention the incredible views?!

Distance: 20mi / 32km
Ascent: 453m / 1,486ft
Offroad: 45%
Difficulty: 62%

This route is perfect if you fancy something technical, but without too much effort because it involves hardly any climbing and yet it still manages to take in what is probably the best technical bridleway in the country – the Ullswater lakeside path from Howtown to Glenridding. Not only is the technical riding superb, it also affords breathtaking views across Ullswater.

The only downside of this ride is the long road section it starts with. The first 11 miles are on-road but this just serves as access to the ride itself, and it’s over in no time anyway and the scenery is fantastic.

High Street
Distance: 23mi / 37km
Ascent: 1,467m / 4,812ft
Offroad: 89%
Difficulty: 92%

This difficult route takes in not only the High Street summit but also 4 (or more with a few detours!) other summits and the Ullswater lakeside bridleway. As you can imagine it blends tough climbing and technical riding with long sections of singletrack and fun technical sections.

Starting at Patterdale, the route soon heads skywards, taking in Hartsop and Hayeswater before summiting the 828m High Street itself. Follow this with an epic singletrack crossing of the ridge with views across Ullswater and the north-eastern Lake District, and the descent from The Cockpit to Howtown and you'll soon see that you're on a huge adventure. But that's not it, the ride ends on the famous technical bridleway back to the car for even more thrills and (probably) spills.

It’s not for the fainthearted, but it’s definitely worth it!