Going: A gentle lane gives way to a steeper climb onto
Subberthwaite Common, not very long. Off-road is mostly fairly easily rideable, one
ascending section might be pushing. Top section is boggy and rutted here and there.
Total distance: 8.5 miles
This was my third visit to Subberthwaite Common this year, and this quiet area of low fells, so close to Ulverston, provided yet another interesting bike outing. Although short in overall length, this ride has a mix of tarmac and off-road over open fell.
Directly opposite Blawith Church a narrow road leads almost immediately to a sharp left onto Raisthwaite Lane, a narrow meandering way with frequent gates to open and close.
Ignore the Kiln Bank access track, and keep on to the first junction proper, where a sharp right is made. This climbs past the farm at Kendall Ground, bearing the name of a long-forgotten settler of the early 16th century, one of many at that time who made an accommodation with Furness Abbey to farm a small parcel of land.
Its a bit of a pull up here, but more gates provide an excuse to pause for breath! The flat expanse of the Common is soon reached, the road more of a causeway across the boggy surroundings. Turn right at the T-junction (not to Birch Bank), and carry on to a wonderful viewpoint over the Woodland Valley.
Beyond, the line of hills stretches from Wetherlam and the Coniston Hills, over the Dunnerdale Fells and on to Black Combe. A glance at the OS Map shows this area is studded with ancient features, a notable one being the Giants Grave a short way down the descent, by the side of the road.
Thought to be a Bronze Age barrow, perhaps 4000 years old, this looks like a headstone with a circle of stones on its southern side.
Continue down the long curving drop to the valley, but just before the junction bear right onto the bridleway. This starts to curve around the hillside, and yes, starts to edge its way back up! Keep right on the main track, which steepens before dropping down once more to join another rising bridleway.
Gazing over to the hills, you might frown at the wide grey scar of Broughton Moor slate quarry, below Walna Scar. Owned by Burlington Slate and still busy today, the discovery of the hidden slate bed was a tale of human endeavour. Claude Cann persevered on the bleak moor for months, digging test tunnels and hovering on the edge of financial ruin until his instinct was ultimately proved sound.
The final section of off-road is boggy and awkward here and there, but eventually eases until a surfaced lane is reached. Bear right here and follow the road downhill back to Blawith crossing an exposed area of common, where my summer clothing didnt cope well with an early autumn squall!
None en route.
Subberthwaite Common, soon after Crooked Birch.
Coniston Old Man, seen from the bridleway rising from Woodland.
Walna Scar and Broughton Moor, from the bridleway above Woodland.
Any comments on the cycling pages would be gratefully received!
Copyright J Chambers 2005. Unauthorised reproduction not allowed. May be printed for personal use only.
Open Country Prints, Main Street, Baycliff, Ulverston, Cumbria
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