Rides: Winter coasting in Cumbria
Words Rebecca Charlton; Photos Andy Jones
Revelling in the opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of central London, where riding out to the lanes involves an initiation of one-way systems and a gauntlet of traffic, I headed north to the Lake District and the new family home.
Despite being southerners at heart, my family has re-located to Cumbria in all its glory, offering the chance to ride on quiet roads, wrapped up in beautiful Lakeland vistas.
I wanted to explore this place in more detail, so with my dad as my local tour guide we hit a rolling loop around Arnside and Silverdale.
Readers who follow my routes, will know that I always plan things around a cafe stop. Naturally, this ride takes in this essential factor, and it’s a good one too, especially at this time of year when you need a warming winter brew to defrost your frozen bones.
We started at Arnside by the waterfront, which is a great meeting point and sets the mood for things to come with a stunning view, and if you don’t fancy driving, the train links are good to the local station.
Starting with the coast on our left, we rode along through Arnside on a particularly fresh day, finding it gets very chilly by the waterfront at this time of year — so I’d recommend you dress for the elements if you’re trying this one.
Jenny Brown’s Point
We decided to take on a manageable loop that allowed us plenty of time to absorb all the beauty hot spots along the way and still be back in time for tea.
We rolled through Yealand, with my dad promising there were no ridiculously steep hills along the way, which I doubted given the typical Lakeland terrain. Thankfully, he was true to his word and the climbs were all short enough to be manageable, yet challenging enough to keep you warm. A lot of this route is rolling, meaning you can really use the momentum to your advantage and with lots of nice descents came some equally nice ups. There are a couple of decent rises on the first half of the ride, but they’re all very pleasant if you take them at your own pace.
What’s so glorious about this ride is that it’s incredibly quiet and we barely saw a car all day. The winding lanes are beautiful and every section has something new to offer in the way of unexpected visual treats.
We rode up towards the famous Jenny Brown’s Point where we found a unique little gem of a cafe with a gallery to stop off at halfway round our route.
The food here is great and when you’ve had a little break it’s worth taking the time to ride down to the viewpoint to look out over Morecambe Bay and take in the sights. You’re at the high point of the ride here, so you’ll encounter plenty of descending on the way home, including a pretty steep downhill as you head back into Arnside, so make sure you take it easy on that stretch.
Also, be aware of a couple of points in the road book where you hit a crossroads and make sure you don’t glide down the wrong branch — it’s easily done when enjoying the ride!
History and wildlife
There’s a lot to see and do in this area of Cumbria. You’ll pass the Leighton Moss nature reserve in the first half of the ride, which offers free entry to people who arrive by bike. Not only is there some great wildlife to be observed here there is also a brilliant tearoom, and although 10 miles may not warrant two tea stops and a fish and chip finale, you can give it a good go! Just blame the cold weather.
Arnside offers the famous Cross Bay Walk if you’re after other things to try. Be warned though, it’s incredibly dangerous to go it alone, so you definitely need to go with a guide.
The sands of Morecambe Bay have always appealed to tourists, and on a clear day the opposite side of the Bay can be seen, appearing to be very close, with the result that people have very sadly been caught out in the past as the tide comes in surprisingly fast, so it’s crucial not to cross unless you’re part of the guided walk, find out more at www.morecambe.co.uk/walk.html.
Pubs and grub
The RSPB Leighton Moss
LA5 0SW, 01524 701 601
The Wolfhouse Gallery
Lindeth Road, Silverdale
LA5 0TX, 01524 701 405
The Big Chip
The Promenade, Arnside,
LA5 0HF, 01524 761 874
Start at Arnside. On-street parking is available and the far end is free. To begin the ride, head north with the bay on your left and the shops on the right.
Follow Station Road onto Black Dyke Road, cross the railway line and the road now turns into a quiet country lane. This is a lovely undulating road with nothing very steep to worry about.
Continue as the road becomes Cold Well Lane and then turn left into Brackenthwaite Road. Keep riding past Keepers Cottage (Brackenthwaite Farm).
Bear right up a steepish incline onto Thrang Brow Lane, then it’s downhill before you turn right onto Storrs Lane. (Take care on the downhill as it meets the junction). Follow Storrs Lane past Leighton Moss then turn left after the railway line onto Slackwood Lane, then take the second left onto Hollins Lane towards Jenny Browns Point for a nice cafe stop, which you’ll see on the right.
JB Point is left down a narrow road. Here you have the option of riding down as a detour to look at the view across the bay, but to get back to Arnside you need to head in the opposite direction, back the way you came onto Lindeth Road, which turns into Stankelt Road as you continue along. Turn off left onto Emesgate Lane and bear left at the fork in the road onto Cove Road, then bear right at Stone Bower.
Go past Holgates Caravan Parks and keep on this road until it turns into Silverdale Road and takes you along the coast on the B5282 into Arnside. Watch out for the steep downhill slope.
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Nigel Wynn worked as associate editor on CyclingWeekly.com, he worked almost single-handedly on the Cycling Weekly website in its early days. His passion for cycling, his writing and his creativity, as well as his hard work and dedication, were the original driving force behind the website’s success. Without him, CyclingWeekly.com would certainly not exist on the size and scale that it enjoys today. Nigel sadly passed away, following a brave battle with a cancer-related illness, in 2018. He was a highly valued colleague, and more importantly, n exceptional person to work with - his presence is sorely missed.
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