Going: All on the road. Mainly gentle hills up to High Newton,
followed by a longer climb up to the Fell Road. Strawberry Bank is very steep, and the
worst is avoided by a detour, pleasant in itself. However the climb continues after the
Total distance: 14 miles
While the traffic thunders along the trunk road between Newby Bridge and High Newton, there is a parallel route, a secret network of lanes just made for pedal-power. Begin from the narrow bridge by the Swan Hotel, follow a short cycle path leading towards the roundabout, and cross the road to turn up Canny Hill. Keep to the right at a fork, and press on between encroaching hedgerows until a T-junction is reached, near the little hamlet of Seatle.
Go left here, and right soon after, as a wider road is met. Turn again towards Barber Green and High Newton there are some hills to overcome, but they are either gentle or short, so far at least. Cross straight over the A590, pass the Hotel to the left, and start to climb the appropriately-named Height Road, which eventually flattens out at almost 600ft, with a good view over to Whitbarrow Scar and the Kent estuary. Heres a spot to linger for a few minutes, if only to get your breath back!
Enjoy three miles of often downhill riding, turning left at a scissors crossroad. This whole section is a pleasing mixture of open views across the Winster Valley, and pleasant wooded interludes. A junction is finally met at the foot of Strawberry Bank bear left here towards the pub, and pass the buildings on their right. This is a detour which avoids the steepest part of the bank, although the height must inevitably still be gained.
Rejoin the road up the bank for the final part of the climb, which goes on long enough to become tiring, until the road finally flattens out between dark plantations. The best viewpoint of the trip is soon reached at Gummers How, high above Lake Windermere, the jetty and hotel at Lakeside looking like tiny models far below. The Coniston hills form an impressive backdrop beyond the dark hills of Grizedale Forest.
Incidentally, you might not feel like combining a cycle ride with a walk, but if youve never made the short scramble up to the top of Gummers How itself, youre missing one of the best scenic outlooks in the area. Come back another day for it!
Carry on down the long, steep hill, keeping your speed appropriately checked. Turn left at the bottom, although an easy detour to the National Trusts Fell Foot Park could be made here. A short section of busy road follows, although some of this can be avoided by bearing left through Staveley. Re-gain the cycle path back to Newby Bridge just before the roundabout, avoiding the need to mix with the traffic more than necessary.
The Winster Valley and Whitbarrow Scar, from the top of the ascent from High Newton.
The rural outlook over the Winster Valley, on the approach to Strawberry Bank.
Lakeside and Lake Windermere, seen from the hill below Gummer's How.
The Mason's Arms website.
A Cumbria photolibrary link, with a nice Gummer's How picture.
The National Trust webpage for Fell Foot Park.
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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