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Merlewood

Cumbria, England

Merlewood Mansion - Three of the best local cycle routes

Posted by Luci Ackers on Oct 20, 2015
The best local cycle routes
The best local cycle routes

Situated at the foot of the Lake District, Merlewood Mansion is surrounded by beautiful countryside and stunning scenery. Travel five miles north and you’ll stumble across England’s largest natural lake, Windermere. A mile in the other direction and you’re met with views of Morecambe Bay and the Irish Sea. It’s the perfect spot for a relaxing British getaway.

Should you want to burn some energy during your trip, though, you have some of the country’s best cycle routes right on your temporary doorstep. Why not jump on two wheels and tackle one of the following?

The Broughton Wheelers Lakes Loop – Road / approx. 40 miles

Cumbria has terrain for every kind of cyclist, but if road biking is your preference, you’ll want to have a go at the Broughton Wheelers Lakes Loop. Devised by local riders James Hodgson and Lindsay, the 40-mile course takes in a good chunk of the Lake District’s beautiful surroundings, and was voted ‘Britain’s Best Ride’ by readers of Cycling Plus at the end of 2013.

As Cycling Plus editor Rob Spedding points out, James and Lindsay’s route has a bit of everything a road cyclist could want: “stunning scenery, quiet roads and, in Wrynose Pass, a proper cycling challenge."

The whole route is paved, and the biggest climb comes at just over halfway through the ride, with heights reaching around 1,300 feet.

Map image courtesy of bikemap.net

Barrow in Furness to Coniston Circular – Road / approx. 50 miles

This route, just as beautiful as the last, offers cyclists the chance to explore countryside and a bit of urban Cumbria too. Starting at Roose Conservative Club in Barrow-in-Furness, the journey takes riders north along the area’s quieter roads towards the Lakes. As much of the course runs alongside Coniston Water, the scenery never gets boring, and there are plenty of chances to stop for some snacks and a breather.

Once at Coniston, you’ll come back on the other side of the lake, heading south back towards Barrow-in-Furness. Once again, expect smooth roads, perfect for road and hybrid riders.

Map image courtesy of cycle-route.com

The Loughrigg Loop – MTB / approx. 14 miles

So you’re more of a mountain biker? Why not have a go at the Loughrigg Loop. The ride begins near Ambleside and follows – as the name suggests – a loop, up through Rydal before taking in Elterwater and Little Langdale. You’ll then come back round through Oxen Fell and Skelwith Bridge before making it back to Loughrigg.

One of this circuit’s biggest highlights comes at its northern-most point, where riders can get fantastic views of one of the Lake District’s most stunning features, Grasmere Lake. Head out early in the morning to beat the tourist rush, though!

Skelwith Bridge is the best place to stop for refreshments; be sure to grab some carbs for help up the climbs to come. The ascent reaches 2,150 feet in total.

Map image courtesy of Google Maps / pedalnorth.com

A cycling paradise

As cycling hotspots go, Cumbria is up there with the best. The routes above are just three examples of what this region has to offer riders – there are plenty of other routes to explore. While the Lake District might be associated more regularly with mountain biking, there’s plenty of tarmac for the road riders among us.

Just be sure to do all of the appropriate checks before you get going, and pack the necessary gear and food. Happy riding!

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Luci Ackers
Author: Luci Ackers

Luci loves getting out and about for a good cycle ride or easy-going walks in the countryside, and thoroughly enjoyed the time she previously spent working for the National Trust. Her love of writing started from a young age and on rainy days nothing beats curling up in a secret corner with a good book.


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