What I love about this ride is the fantastic variety of single track conditions it incorporates despite its compact size. Add to that it happens to be in one of the country's most breathtaking and under visited corners and is topped off by one of the Britain's finest inns. My mate Phil and I rode it for the first time last Boxing day and are heading back with a larger party this year.
Mountain bike required
Level: intermediate/difficult in places
Park at the Inn at Whitewell (53.917584, -2.521362)
Head north on the road towards Dunsop Bridge. After a mile take a left onto the road immediately after crossing Burholme Bridge. The gradient steepens considerably and you pass one farm entrance on your right. After half a mile, towards the top of the hill is a second farm track on the right with a cattle grid and a bridleway sign. (53.916567, -2.53943).
The road snakes and undulates for a third of a mile. Just after the hen huts on your left make sure you bear right on the road where the left fork takes you to a farm.
After another 200 metres the bridleway should be signposted to your right, guiding you right up a great little climb through a conifer forest
On exiting the woodland the conditions change again, initially to open moor singletrack and then to a semi-technical descent down a rocky path incorporating one or two stream crossings.
At the bottom of the descent navigation isn't all that easy but you should be able to pick out the track as it crosses rough grazing land heading up towards a gate in the corner of the field (53.937874, -2.546529).
This is the top of the ride and a good time to replenish on snacks if you manage to find shelter from the inevitable wind.
Passing through the gate, you head diagonally right for 500 metres, the sketchy track becoming more defined as it turns right and begins the descent.
The descent itself is a real surprise, the track leads you down through undulating pasture where the grass is so tightly grazed it's more like carpet. The geological humps and bumps of the field present too great a pull and you end up abandoning the track altogether until you arrive at the farm at Hareden next to a brook.
You then have to make a decision, head back the way you came and enjoy it all in reverse or turn right onto the public road back towards Dunsop Bridge and the Inn at Whitewell.
Finally to the inn, dry yourself in front of one of the open fires while soaking up the jaw dropping views, the newspapers and of course the real ale. Only leave the two club chairs by the door, they're reserved.
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