Great Langdale, and its sister valley Little Langdale, are blessed with an extensive array of routes open to mountain bikers. In the mix are un-surfaced roads, acient packhorse routes, old quarry tracks, and a good smattering of singletrack designated as bridleways. There are lots of potential loop combinations to enjoy, but perhaps the best way to get your head round what's available is to do a circular tour of both Great Langdale and Little Langdale. Starting out with a climb to Blea Tarn gets all the hard work out of the way early on with an ascent on tarmac. After that, it's a delightful roller coaster of easy gravel tracks, followed by the odd technical bit of single track.
From the car park turn R and follow up the valley road, then around the bend to make the steep ascent to the top of the pass overlooking Blea Tarn. Continue along the road and descend to the T junction with the Little Langdale Road. Turn R and follow the road for 250m to a track on the L.
Turn onto the track and follow S across Greenburn Beck, then E as it climbs to a fork. Ignore the R branch, instead continue along the main track to Low Hall Garth. Continue on the track past the cottage for 600m to a ford across the River Brathay. Cross the ford (footbridge) and then follow the lane on the other side to a T junction on the Little Langdale Road.
Turn L and then first R and follow the road to Dale End. Beyond the road end is a track, this heads over to Elterwater, the first part is fairly simple, after which it steepens and becomes rougher. Follow it for 600m to a fork, take the R branch and follow this for a further 600m down to a junction.
Turn L and follow the access track through the trees to Baysbrown. Take the L branch and join the bridleway. This offers some more technical riding along single track with the odd rock step and boulder to negotiate. It leads through the trees and rough pasture to Oak Howe.
From Oak Howe, take the bridleway that heads NE to cross Great Langdale Beck and then climbs to the valley road. Turn L and follow the road for 100m to a track on the L. Turn onto it and follow it easily along the valley to the start at Stickle Ghyll Car Park.
Start/Finish: Stickle Ghyll Car Park Langdale (GR NY294064)
Distance: 9.3 miles (15km)
Height gain: 460m
Time to complete the trail: 3-4 hours
Lead Ranger for Great Langdale and the Lowther Commons.
I've worked in the Lakes for over 30 years now, with the last 28 for the National Trust! Originally I was involved with estate work and footpath maintenance. This lead on to a real interest in Public Access and the realisation that this landscape is so important to so many people around the world.
When not at work my interests are archaeology, geology, walking , mountain biking and now a (slightly nervous) novice sea kayaker!