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Nenthead and Garrigill

The high rolling fells of Alston Moor separate the two deep valleys which hold the upper reaches of the River South Tyne and the Cyclists near Hartside photo by Tony West courtesy of the Cumbria Photo Librarywaters of the River Nent. Both valleys display a classic North Pennine landscape; that magical mixture of walled, valley bottom pasture hay meadows backed by rough open fell and interspersed with hamlets. They are both a delight to explore, particularly by bike, as they are endowed with quiet roads and lanes that traverse differing levels allowing both intimate and far reaching views. Conveniently linking both valleys together are ancient traffic free tracks. 

The ride starts at the Nenthead Mines car park and kicks off with the stiffest climb of the day, up over the wild and lonely Flinty Fell. It then heads down to Garrigill and follows the River South Tyne by a valley side fell lane to Leadgate. A short detour on foot to see Ashgill Force Waterfall (between points 2 and 3) is well worth it. A brief encounter with the A686 leads on to an old high level track on the side of Brownside Moss with views down into Alston.

A visit to Alston allows a bit of a refuel at one of the pubs or cafes before another high level section leads back to Nenthead via the southern flanks of Newshield Moss and Wellhope Moor.

CAUTION: this route features a steep descent to Blackburn Bridge, approaching Leadgate. Care must also be taken on the final steep descent into Nenthead Village.

  • Start/Finish: Nenthead Mines car park, GR NY 781 435
  • Distance: 18 miles (29km)
  • Grade: Medium - Challenge
  • Terrain: Bridleway, country lane, ford
  • Refreshments: Cafés: Alston, Nenthead
  • Pubs: Alston, Nenthead, Garrigill

Download this Cycle Route and Map:

Further information

Alston Tourist Information Centre (Local Links), Town Hall, Alston
Telephone: 01434 382244
Penrith Tourist Information Centre, Middlegate, Penrith
Telephone: 01768 867466