Ullswater & Bannerdale Figure of Eight Mountain Bike Route
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.
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!
Our preferred starting point for this route is the car park opposite the Patterdale Hotel in Patterdale, on the south-western tip of Ullswater in the Lake District. It can also be started from Pooley Bridge, or anywhere along the road on Ullswater's eastern bank.
Take a left out of the car park and head along the road, passing the Patterdale Hotel and the White Lion inn. After about 2km, take the bridleway on your left at Bridgend and, crossing Deepdale Beck, follow it across the fields before crossing another stream, Goldrill Beck.
Follow the clear path ahead as it zig-zags then heads in a northerly direction, climbing steeply onto the fell. This can be a tough climb, just keep at it until you reach the mountain pass, Boredale Hause. At this take a moment to notice the trail headed up Beda Fell to your right.
Once you have climbed and crossed Beda Fell the terrain starts heading a more favourable direction, down! This piece of singletrack is great fun, drop the saddle and enjoy it right the way down to the road in Bannerdale. Blast along the road as it takes you down to Howtown, but there's no need to stop there as we are to follow this along Ullswater right the way until we reach the crossroads near Pooley Bridge.
Take a right at the crossroads, climbing towards Roehead. At Roehead, go through the get and continue climbing the doubletrack for a km or so to the crossroads. Turn right here and shortly you will reach The Cockpit stone circle, a perfect spot for a lunch break.
The route from here heads towards the treeline you can see above Ullswater, over to your right. Take the path leading this way, taking the left fork rather than the right one that climbs Loadpot Hill. Ford the stream just before you reach the corner of the woods and get read for where the real downhill starts.
Drop you saddle and get ready for one of the UK's best natural trails. Enjoy the views over Ullswater as you enjoy this excellent blast. Just keep going all the way until you eventually reach a gate with a 'cyclists dismount' sign. Dismount and go through the gate, passing the house on your left and taking a left off the road when you see the ford to your left. Ford the stream and climb the trail ahead of you to the church, drop down the hill to the left of the church, bringing you out on the road. Turn left on the road and follow it, this time taking the right fork, towards Sandwick.
At Sandwick, take the bridleway on your left. This is the humble beginnings of the famous Ullswater Lakeside path. Continue to follow this path as it twists and turns through rocks, forest and lake. Ignore the turn on your left after about 3km. Keep to the lower trail as you round Silver Crag. Continue, past the small campsite, until you soon find yourself back at Patterdale.
Points of Interest
Forests make up the bread-and-butter for many mountain bikers, and here in the UK we have no shortage of forest with mountain bike access. Head for the woods if the weather turns wet, the ground takes longer to dampen.
I don't think many mountain bikers would say they don't like the idea of riding lakeside routes on their bike. The presence of a body of water adds an extra element to a ride, a feeling of adventure.
For me the scenery on a route is one of the major reasons for riding it. For this reason most if not all of our routes will be listed here in the scenic section.
Singletrack is what most of us mountain bikers wish for on a ride, which is a good thing, because most routes out there feature singletrack.
It's hard to imagine what life must have been like in the days that Stone Henge and the myriad of other stone cirlces in the UK were built, especially when tearing down trails on our modern suspension mountain bikes!