Going: Normal tarmac roads throughout. Moderate hill to climb near
Netherhouses, with a more sustained and steep ascent out of Broughton Beck.
Total distance: 9½ miles.
Every cyclist should have a repertoire of local rides, each with varying scenery, some hilly and some not, to suit his or her mood and the changing seasons. Here is a foray between the meadows to the north of Ulverston, alive at the moment with ewes and their new-born lambs. Theres an optional short cut, and two or three hills to tackle on the full circuit, one of which is a real gasper!
We start at the bottom of Soutergate in Ulverston, and quickly bear off left onto Old Hall Road. The houses are soon left behind, and the route parallels the long distance Cumbria Way for the next couple of miles. For a short return, turn right at the first cross roads, and rejoin the full ride near Mansriggs.
The country lane is largely traffic-free, and much nicer to ride on than the parallel main road through Broughton Beck. Scattered farms lie to right and left of the road , and the first hill to overcome provides a fine outlook to the wind turbines high on the moor. Theres another little pull up into the tiny hamlet of Netherhouses, where our way turns to the right once, and then again opposite the farm entrance. Sweep down past the isolated church, and on reaching the main road turn left, and then right within a few yards.
This leads through the older part of Broughton Beck to a left at the T junction. Look out now for a right turn up a hill that is steep and long - if you can get up here without stopping youre doing well. Take the next right and enjoy four miles of pleasant riding, mainly downhill. The delightful Newland valley is soon entered, with its rushing beck providing a companion all the way to the A590.
Newland itself, at the bottom of the valley, is the site of a charcoal-powered blast furnace, built in 1747 for the Harrison Ainslie company, which eventually owned all of the iron furnaces in Furness. Cross the A590 with extreme care to the lane a few yards to the left of the junction. Go right at the T junction and follow the quiet lane all the way to the supermarket on the outskirts of Ulverston.
For those with spare energy, a left at that last turning leads the ¾ mile down to Plumpton, crossing the path of the abandoned railway to Lakeside. The Hall dates in parts from the 12th century, and has its share of ghost stories, one involving a brass lantern, used to guide travellers on the sands, that can now never leave the house.
None really, apart from the numerous cafes and pubs in Ulverston itself.
The old buildings at Newland, tucked away from the busy A590.
Plumpton Hall, close to the shoreline of the Leven Estuary. (Private
A BBC Radio Cumbria article about the Newlands Blast furnace.
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.
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