Going: Mainly tarmac roads, apart from length of off-road track
between Hay Bridge and Hulleter Farm. This includes two fords across streams, and a
(possibly very) muddy track over a field.
Total Distance: 11.5 miles
The Rusland Valley runs for less than four miles, forming a graceful arc leading north from Haverthwaite. Its watercourse, Rusland Pool, is fed at its head by Force Beck, whose very name tells us something of the power of its waters. Our ride takes a circular tour of this area, using an outward route I suspect few will be familiar with. There are a lot of lanes and turnings in this area, so Id advise the use of an OS Map, by the way.
The starting point is Lane Ends, opposite the Cark turnoff on the A590. Heading away from the main road, a left at the T junction leads across the Causeway, where a narrow lane to the right rises up the valley side. This skirts Bouth and then rejoins the road out of the village on its far side.
At the next corner in the road, a sign to the right points to Hay Bridge, beginning a delightful 1¼ miles of surfaced track, which passes into Hay Bridge Nature Reserve. The footpaths and a small museum are only open to members, but this area is a hidden gem; more can be found at www.haybridge.org.uk.
The way ahead is not obvious at Hay Bridge, but passes above the car park, curving to the left, and onto a trail. A stream is crossed at a ford, and rises across a field. The target is the farm buildings of Hulleter ahead. This short off-road section can be walked or pushed, but dont hope to keep your feet free of mud!
Keep right after the farm, and join a wider road to continue up the valley to Force Forge, passing a Quaker meeting house along the way. At Force Mills the torrent drops steeply over rocks, and although our way ahead is to the right at the junction, a short detour to the left allows access to the edge of the beck.
Our route curves gradually around now for the return down the eastern side of the Rusland Valley. A swift descent quickly pays back those earlier efforts, as the road leads on to Crosslands. Woodland has featured on and off for much of this ride, but the last section leads past the famous Rusland beeches. Once over a hundred in number, there are less of these proud old trees now, but the survivors remain a magnificent sight.
Lane Ends is reached far too soon, but if youve not stopped here before, take a few minutes to explore the route of the old A road which runs on wide and empty for a couple of hundred yards.
None that I noticed.
Part of the Hay Bridge Nature Reserve.
The beck at Force Mills.
Some of the famous Rusland beeches.
The Hay Bridge Nature Reserve
An interesting article about Rusland Tannery
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
LA12 9RN, England