Saddle up: Best cycle routes in the Forest of Bowland

From walking to riding, there are many ways to explore the beautiful Forest of Bowland, but one of our favourites has to be on two wheels. From gentle country lanes to heart-pounding mountain trails, there’s plenty to discover out and about on your bike. Whether you’re dreaming of gliding across untouched moorland, admiring chocolate box villages or even braving the mountain trails, don't miss our five best cycle routes in the Forest of Bowland….

Cycling is a fantastic way for the family to get out during your glamping break

Grizedale & Bleasdale

  • Distance: 27 miles
  • Time: 1 - 2 hours
  • Start postcode: PR3 1BU

This lovely circular bike route starts in the charming village of Scorton, just 20 minutes’ drive from our Bleasdale site (and home to the popular forest of Bowland pub, The Priory). From here you’ll journey through the small town of Oakenclough, which grew up around the historic paper mill. From here travel across to Bleasdale and then carry on to the historic town of Chipping. This is a great place to stop off and enjoy a break, perhaps by popping into one of the many inns serving delcious home-cooked food. When you’ve had your fill, jump back on your bike and continue on through Beacon Fell country park, where you can enjoy some breathtaking views of the Ribble Valley.

Salter Fell – Cross O’Greets Circuit

  • Distance: 31 miles
  • Time: 3 – 4 hours
  • Start postcode: BB7 3EP

If you’re after a more adventurous bike ride, the moors in the north of the Forest of Bowland are just the place. This is another circular route, about a third of which takes place across Salter Fell. The Fell is part of the North Lancashire Bridleway and still includes sections of the old Roman road, which provides an uneven, yet exillerating route for keen cyclists. Thanks to this exciting off-road section, mountain bikes are essential! The rest of the circuit is on-road, and takes you through the quintessentially traditional village of Wrey. This, like the starting point of Slaidburn (40 minutes by car from our site), is a great place to stop off for a break and perhaps a well-earned cup of tea… or even a pub lunch!

Mountain bike trails are a great way to explore Lancashire

Gisburn Forest

  • Distance: 35 miles
  • Time: 3 – 4 hours
  • Start postcode: BD23 4QZ

This is another challenging route which starts in Long Preston village, about an hour’s drive from our Bleasdale site. However, we think it is certainly worth the journey! It’s a magnificent circular route, taking in quiet country lanes wither side of the Lancashire and North Yorkshire border. The trail includes a challenging climb over Keasden Moor, where you can enjoy some of the best views in the region – make sure to pack a camera (and maybe a picnic)!  Once you’ve enjoyed the amazing landscapes, head back downhill and take the route back through Gisburn Forest, where there’s a chance for the daredevils amongst you to test their nerve on the mountain bike trails. Here there are some more beautiful views to enjoy, taking the Stocks reservoir and St James chapel at Dale Head.

Pendle Hill

  • Distance: 15 miles
  • Time: 1.5 - 2 hours
  • Start postcode: B12 9JX

If you haven’t had enough hills, why not tackle one of the Forest of Bowland's highest points? At 557m, Pendle Hill is something of a landmark in Lancashire, and popular with both walkers and cyclists who like to challenge themselves! Starting at Barley village car park (55 minutes by car from site) It’s certainly a tough bike ride, with a couple of 20% slopes and several at 10%. This route is bound to make your legs ache, but the sharp descents are truly exhilarating! The beautiful views and the inevitable feeling of accomplishment are also well-worth the challenge.

Pendle Hill is a challenging, but beautiful cycle route in Lancashire

River Lune

  • Distance: 30 miles
  • Time: 3 - 4 hours
  • Start postcode: LA1 1AY

The route starts at Lancaster’s Millennium Bridge, 40 minutes’ drive from our Bleasdale site, and includes steep climbs, road sections and cycle paths. From the bridge, you'll be able to reach the River Lune Cycle Path and follow it Crook O’Lune, where you'll cross the Conder Valley and start the ascent to the Jubilee Tower. Once you reach the top, make the most of the opportunity to stop and admire the beautiful views… not to mention a chance to catch your breath! When you’re ready, enjoy a downhill ride to the valley and take your time returning to Lancaster by the Lune Estuary Path.

Start your cycle ride on Millennium Bridge in Lancaster

You can find more information, including directions, for all the above routes at the Forest of Bowland website.

For those who prefer to stay close to home, our Bleasdale site is surrounded by several local cycle networks and bridleways. Jump on your bike and head to Beacon Fell Country Park, or to the pretty village of Chipping with its pubs, cafes and ice cream shop! Or simply head out and explore the forest at your leisure, taking in the peaceful woodland and enjoying some time together in the fresh air.

After a long day tackling the cycle paths and hills of Lancashire, there’s nothing better than heading back to your comfortable safari tent to relax and rest those tired legs! Why not plan tomorrow’s route with a glass of wine around a flickering firepit? With hot showers, cosy beds and much more, our Bleasdale glamping site is the perfect base for your adventures…. Book your stay today!

A couple spending time together while biking in the Forest of Bowland

Summary: Best cycle routes in the Forest of Bowland

  1. Grizedale and Bleasdale – 27 miles
  2. Salter Fell – 31 miles
  3. Gisburn Forest – 35 miles
  4. Pendle Hill – 15 miles
  5. River Lune – 30 miles



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