Cumbria Cycle Routes
Cumbria is a beautiful county with some of Britain's most spectacular scenery.
One major attraction in the region is the popular Lake District National Park with its awe inspiring views. There are also some lovely coastal rides particularly on the Hadrian's Cycleway which is mapped in full below in the Ravenglass to Tynemouth route.
Please use the links below to view full route information including descriptions, elevation profiles, interactive maps and GPS downloads.
You can also view an overview map of all the routes in the using the Cumbria Cycle Map
There are several National Cycle Network signed routes in the county many of which have been mapped and can be viewed and downloaded below.
For more information on NCN routes in the county (including free cycle maps) please click here
For more information on cycle routes in Cumbria including tips, advice and free cycle maps please click here
|Carlisle to Cockermouth||34 miles (55 km)||This challenging route follows NCN route 7 from Carlisle to Cockermouth.|
The route starts just outside the city of Carlisle on the River Caldew and then follows the river along the largely off road Cumbria Way before a section on quiet country lanes leads you into Cockermouth on the edge of the Lake District. Highlights on the route include the lovely Over Water, views of the River Derwent and the backdrop of the beautiful Lake District Fells.
|Carlisle to Gretna||20 miles (32 km)||Follow NCN route 7 from England into the Scottish borders and enjoy views of the Rivers Eden and Esk.|
The ride takes place mainly on quiet country roads passing through Longtown on your way into the Scottish borders from Cumbria.
|Coast to Coast Whitehaven to Tynemouth||137 miles (220 km)||This is the complete C2C NCN route crossing the country from east to west along a number of cycle tracks/paths and minor roads. You will see some spectacular scenery as you pass through the Cumbrian Lake District and Northumberland before the last leg through County Durham and the finish point at Tynemouth Pier on the east coast of England.|
Click here for the C2C from Whitehaven to Sunderland
Click here for a comprehensive guide to this popular route.
|Cockermouth to Workington||12 miles (20 km)||Starting in Cockermouth head west to the coast along NCN route 71. Highlights include lovely views of the River Derwent along the way and a lovely off road stretch towards the end of the route that begins at pretty Camerton. You finish at Workington Harbour.|
|Coniston Water||4 miles (6 km)||This easy cycling and walking trail runs along the western shoreline of the beautiful Coniston Water in the Lake District National Park. The route starts at the car park at Lake Road and runs through Coniston Hall Park to Hoathwaite Farm. It's perfect for beginners and families looking for a safe, waterside ride. Bikes can be hired from the Coniston Boating Centre.|
If you'd like to continue your outing you could head to the nearby Grizedale Forest where you will find miles of way-marked cycling and walking trails. You could also follow the Cumbria Way a couple of miles to the north east where you will find the beautiful Tarn Hows.
|Ennerdale Forest||12 miles (20 km)||Enjoy miles of traffic free cycling and walking trails in this super forest in the Lake District National Park. The route starts at the Bowness Knott car park next to the beautiful Ennerdale Water. You then head east into the forest along the lakeside path. After leaving the lake behind the track follows the River Liza into the forest to Ash Crag before returning along the south side of the river. The forest tracks are quite uneven in places so a mountain bike is required for cyclists. |
The views of Ennerdale valley are fabulous with some of the highest and best-known fells in Cumbria forming a spectacular backdrop - Great Gable, Green Gable, Brandreth, High Crag, Steeple and Pillar are all visible on the route.
|Fred Whitton Challenge||109 miles (175 km)||Follow the route of the Fred Whitton Challenge cycle ride through the Lake District. It is a circular route which starts and ends in Grasmere. There are many steep and challenging climbs with the route visiting the following locations:|
|Great Dun Fell||11 miles (18 km)||This walk takes you to the second-highest hill in the Pennines, and makes use of Britain's highest road.|
You start in the village of Dufton and follow the Pennine Way along Hurning Lane to Cosca Hill where you cross Great Rundale Beck. You continue the ascent, crossing Swindale Beck and passing a series of Cairns before arriving at Green Fell. Here you turn left and head to the summit of Great Dun Fell where you will find a a large radar station at the 848 m (2,782 ft) high point. There are also wonderful views across the Eden Valley, Cross Fell and North Pennines AONB.
From the summit you descend on Britain's highest road which takes you all the way to Knock Village, passing Green Castle and Knock Pike on the way. The final section follows a country lane from Knock to the finish point at Dufton.
The complete route below is designed for walkers but Great Dun is a very popular climb for cyclists as you can make use of the tarmac road that runs from Knock to the summit (it is essentially the descent section of this route). It is considered by many cyclists to be the greatest climb in Britain. Click here for the gpx file which just includes the tarmac road climb for cyclists. Also see the video below to see what you can expect!
If you're looking to continue your walking in the area then you could climb Cross Fell - the highest hill in the country, outside of the Lake District. Also nearby is the lovely Cow Green Reservoir and Cauldron Snout waterfall. You can also visit High Cup Nick waterfall set in a spectacular glacial valley.
|Grizedale Forest||4 miles (7 km)||This huge forest in the Lake District has several way-marked cycling and walking trails to enjoy. There are six way-marked mountain bike trails of varying lengths and difficulty. These include a moderate (blue) 2 mile trail which visits the Goosey Foot and Juniper Tarns. The Hawkshead Moor Trail is graded red and visits the western side of the valley, overlooking Coniston Water. For an exciting rollercoaster ride try The North Face Mountain Bike Trail. The singletrack trail offers an adrenelising descent through oak woodlands and conifer forest. |
Walkers can enjoy 8 super, way-marked trails. These include the moderate Bogle Crag Trail which runs for 2.5 miles and features numerous sculptures along the way. The Silurian Way is a longer, more challenging walk which visits the summit of Carron Crag, the highest point in the forest. The walks offer great views of the Lake District mountains and lakes such as Coniston Water, Windermere and Esthwaite Water.
There's a great visitor centre at the start of the route where you can hire bikes and find out more information on all the cycling and walking trails in the forest.
|Hardknott Pass||19 miles (30 km)||Tackle one of Britain's toughest climbs on this spectacular cycle ride in the Lake District. Hardknott Pass shares the title of steepest road in England along with Rosedale Chimney Bank in North Yorkshire.|
This ride starts in the village of Grasmere and heads around the lake towards Eltwerwater before heading into Great Langdale. You pass Lingmoor Fell and Blea Tarn before beginning a steep ascent through Wrynose Pass to Hardknott Pass where you will pass the Hardknott Roman Fort. You then descend into Eskdale, passing along the River Esk before finishing at Eskdale Green. It's an extremely tough ride but with stunning views of the Lake District mountains throughout.
If you would like to shorten the ride you could park at Blea Tarn car park and cycle to Hardknott Pass from there.
|Hartside Pass||16 miles (26 km)||Travel from Langwathby to Alston via Hartside Pass on this tough cycle ride in the North Pennines AONB. The ride starts in Langwathby, near the train station, and follows the C2C cycle route to Hartside Cafe - the highest cafe in England. From here there are magnificent views of the Solway Firth, Scotland and the Lake District mountains including Helvellyn, Great Gable, Skiddaw. You then descend to Alston, crossing the River South Tyne, before finishing in the town cente. Alston is known as the highest market town in England, at about 1,000 feet above sea level.|
|Kendal to Appleby-In-Westmorland||37 miles (60 km)||Travel through Cumbria along NCN route 68 on this challenging route. There is some truly beautiful scenery along the way with splendid views of the North Pennines and Howgill Fells to enjoy. There are also runs along the Rivers Lune and Eden with some lovely off road stretches as well.|
|Kendal to Settle||43 miles (70 km)||Follow NCN route 68 on this challenging but rewarding route which takes you from the Cumbrian Lake District National Park, through the Yorkshire Dales National Park to Settle. You start by the River Kent in Kendal and follow country roads to Oxenholme and onto Sedbergh. This section has some challenging climbs but splendid views of Lambrigg fell and the River Lune. From Sedbergh you continue on minor roads crossing the rivers Rawthey and Dee as you enter the Yorkshire Dales National Park. You then pass through Dent and Ingleton where you can see the lovely Ingleton Waterfalls Trail. The final stretch takes you to the finish point in Settle with a lovely spell along the River Ribble.|
|Kendal to Windermere||10 miles (16 km)||This short but attractive route takes you through the Lake District National Park and along NCN route 6 from Kendal to Windermere.|
The scenery on the way is fabulous with a lovely stretch along the River Kent at the start and some beautiful countryside scenery near Stavely (below). The route finishes on the banks of Lake Windermere with its stunning views and variety of tourist attractions.
|Keswick Railway Path||6 miles (10 km)||Enjoy an easy cycle or walk along the Keswick Railway Path in the Lake District National Park. The tree lined path runs along the trackbed of the old Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith railway, following the River Greta from Keswick to Threlkeld. It's great for families as it's a nice easy cycle ride with a flat and well defined path. Walkers can enjoy the path too as it makes for a super riverside stroll.|
The latter part of the video below gives a good commentary on the railway path and shows the lovely scenery you can expect to see on the route. This includes the beautiful tree-clad Greta Gorge and views of the magnificent Blencathra mountain.
|Keswick to Cockermouth||14 miles (22 km)||This lovely route starts in Keswick first taking you round the beautiful Derwent Water before a spell by Thornthwaite Forest
and then a stretch along Bassenthwaite Lake.|
There's plenty of wonderful scenery on the route including views of the River Greta at the start and the lovely Newlands Valley (below). Finish point is by the River Cocker in Cockermouth.
|Lancaster Canal||57 miles (91 km)||Follow the Lancaster Canal from Preston, in Lancashire, to Kendal, in Cumbria, on this splendid waterside walk or cycle. From the canal there are fine views of the Silverdale Coast, the Forest of Bowland AONB and the lovely Wyre countryside. The route passes Garstang, Lancaster and Carnforth before finishing at Kendal.|
|Lancaster to Kendal||26 miles (42 km)||Follow national cycle network route 6 from Lancaster to Kendal. This is a lovely route that takes you along various waterways, through attractive woodland and the beautiful countryside in Lancashire and Cumbria. |
Much of the route is traffic free including a lovely stretch along the Lancaster canal with views of Morecambe Bay. Please click here to find out more information.
|Northallerton to Appleby-In-Westmorland||62 miles (100 km)||This long but rewarding ride follows NCN route 71 through the Yorkshire Dales and into Cumbria. There's plenty of lovely scenery on this long route with views of the River Swale, Arkle Beck and the Pennines along the way.|
The first section takes you through Arkengarthdale in the Yorkshire Dales and past the pretty towns of Reeth and Arkle. You then enter Cumbria passing through Brough, before following the River Eden to Appleby-In-Westmorland.
|Penrith to Appleby-In-Westmorland||19 miles (30 km)||Ride along NCN route 71 through Cumbria and enjoy some incredible scenery. The ride takes you through the beautiful Eden Valley and has terrific views of the Pennines and the Cumbrian mountains. You will pass through the villages of Great Strickland and Kings Meaburn on your way to Appleby where you finish crossing the lovely River Eden.|
|Penrith to Carlisle||25 miles (40 km)||Travel along NCN route 7 on this attractive ride through Cumbria. You start in Penrith heading into the Cumbrian countryside towards Dalston on a series of quiet roads. You then join the lovely Cumbria way taking you along the River Caldew which leads you into Carlisle. Highlights on the route include the castles at Penrith, Dalston and Carlisle (below)|
|Penrith to Consett||53 miles (85 km)||Travel from Penrith in the Cumbrian Lake District along the C2C NCN route to Consett in Durham. This can be completed as the 2nd leg of the C2C ride following from Whitehaven to Penrith. Highlights on this ride include spectacular views of the Penines and a number of cycle friendly off road tracks. Also of interest are the Long Meg and Her Daughters Stone circles near Penrith and the beautiful scenery of the South Tyne Valley (below).|
|Penrith to Haltwhistle||37 miles (60 km)||Follow NCN routes 7 and 68 on this ride through Cumbria. The route starts in the Northern lakes and heads through some lovely countryside which includes runs along the River Eden and River South Tyne. There are also splendid views of the Pennines as you pass through Langwathby and Alston. Much of the route takes place on quiet roads but there are a few off road sections particularly along the South Tyne Trail which takes you into the finish point.|
|Ravenglass to Silloth||53 miles (86 km)||This route forms the 2nd leg of the magnificent Hadrian's Cycleway -a 174 mile National Cycle Network route running through Cumbria, Northumberland and Tyneside. |
The first part of this route follows the coast passing through the coastal town of Seascale. You then head inland to Egremont where you cross the River Ehen which you then follow to Moor Row. A mixture of off road paths and quiet roads then take you onto Whitehaven on the coast. You then pass through Workington and Maryport as you travel along the coast to Silloth.
|Ravenglass to Tynemouth||180 miles (290 km)||This is the complete route for the Hadrian's Cycleway which runs from east coast of England to the west coast passing through some fabulous scenery.|
For a comprehensive guide to the route including accommodation, guide notes and photographs please click here.
|Silloth to Haltwhistle||63 miles (102 km)||This route forms the 2nd leg of the magnificent Hadrian's Cycleway-a 174 mile National Cycle Network route running through Cumbria, Northumberland and Tyneside. Highlights on the route include the splendid views of the Solway Firth, a lovely run along the River Eden through Carlisle and of course the views of Hadrian's Wall particularly as you pass through the beautiful Northumberland National Park.|
|South Tyne Trail||23 miles (37 km)||Travel through the fabulous North Pennines AONB and enjoy some spectaular scenery on this shared walking and cycle path.
The trail starts off at Tyne Head - the source of the River South Tyne. You then head north to Garrigill along the river passing the impressive Ashgill Force waterfall as you go (see video). The trail continues to Alston where you will run alongside the fabulous South Tynedale Steam Railway (see video).
From Alston you head through Slaggyford and Lambley where you will pass the striking structure that is Lambley Viaduct. The final section takes you through Coanwood to the finish point at Haltwhistle rail station.
This is a terrific riverside trail with moors, fells and beautiful countryside to take in.
|Thirlmere Reservoir||9 miles (15 km)||Enjoy a walk or cycle around the lovely Thirlmere Reservoir in the Lake District National Park. The route starts at Wythburn at the southern end of the lake and then follows the National Cycle Network route on the western side of the lake. On the return on the eastern side of the lake walkers can follow the woodland trail at the lower part of Helvellyn. Cyclists can follow the A591 which runs right alongside the lake for a couple of miles. |
You can get a bit to eat at the inn at Thirlspot.
|Wast Water||7 miles (11 km)||Enjoy a circular walk around one of the most stunning lakes in the Lake District National Park. Wast Water is the deepest of all the lakes and is surrounded by some of the highest mountains - Red Pike, Kirk Fell, Great Gable and Scafell Pike (England's highest mountain). In 2007 the public voted Wast Water Britain’s favourite view in an ITV television program. Although the complete route below is suitable for walkers, a quiet country road runs along the western edge of the lake so you can enjoy an excellent waterside cycle ride too.|
Wast Water is located about 6 miles north east of Ravenglass.
|Watchtree Nature Reserve||2 miles (4 km)||This super Nature Reserve near Carlisle has a series of cycling and walking trails to try. The area consists of reedbeds, lagoons, woodland, wild flower meadows and an elemental garden. Look out for a variety of birdlife including Skylarks, Meadow Pipit and Stonechat in the meadows. Curlew, Snipe and Oystercatcher can be seen around the wetlands area. You can also see Roe Deer, Fox and Red Squirell in the woodland. |
The reserve has an excellent visitor centre with information about the different interactive trails. Cycle hire is also available so you can explore the reserve by bike too.
|Whinlatter Forest Park||7 miles (11 km)||Enjoy some fantastic walking and cycling trails in this huge park in the Lake District. There are fantastic views of Bassenthwaite Lake, Derwentwater and Keswick as you make your way through the mixed species forest and peaceful glades. The park also has two fantastic purpose built mountain bike trails with cycle hire available within the park. The red graded Altura Trail is a challenging 19 km mountain singletrack, the Quercus Trail is an easier 7.5 km trail. The C2C cycle route also runs through the park so you could continue your ride on the Whitehaven to Keswick or Whitehaven to Penrith cycle route.|
|Whitehaven to Keswick||31 miles (50 km)||Starting on the West coast of Cumbria follow the C2C NCN route from Whitehaven to Keswick in the Lake District. This route can be completed as the first leg of the C2C crossing from Whitehaven to Sunderland/Newcastle. Highlights on this journey are Whinlatter Forest and the stunning scenery of the Lake District. This includes the beautiful Lowes water and Crummock water (below).|
|Whitehaven to Penrith||53 miles (85 km)||Starting on the West coast of Cumbria follow the C2C NCN route from Whitehaven to Penrith in the Lake District. This route can be completed as the first leg of the C2C crossing from Whitehaven to Sunderland/Newcastle. Highlights on this journey are Whinlatter Forest, the stunning scenery of the Lake District and the spectacular Cumbrian mountains - including Blencathra below. Particularly eye catching are the beautiful Lowes and Crummock water as well the popular and stunning Derwent Water (below). There is also a lovely off road stretch along the River Greta just after you pass through Keswick.|
|Whitehaven to Sunderland||134 miles (215 km)||This is the complete C2C NCN route crossing the country from east to west along a number of cycle tracks/paths and minor roads. You will see some spectacular scenery as you pass through the Cumbrian Lake District and Northumberland before the last leg through County Durham and the finish point at Roker Pier on the east coast of England.|
Click here for the C2C from Whitehaven to Tynemouth
Click here for a comprehensive guide to this popular route.
|Windermere-Circular||28 miles (45 km)||This circular route takes you through some lovely Lake District scenery as you travel around the beautiful Lake Windermere.|
The route passes through the villages of Ambleside, Grasmere and Elterwater and exposes you to some stunning views. Highlights are the spectacular lakeland scenery around Windermere including Rydal Water, Grasmere Lake, Esthwaite Water and the lovely wooded section through Hawkshead Hall Park.