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Cross Fell (Mountain Bike Ride)

Cross Fell and its near neighbour Great Dun Fell are ringed by an amazing network of high-level bridleways. They cross wild and Cyclist photo courtesy the Cumbria Photo Libraryexposed moorland and reach a considerable height making them the highest mountain bike routes in England, outside the Lake District. These routes are not for the fainthearted, particularly first timers to the area as they cross high and exposed moorland, and the distances and height gain involved in completing a loop are considerable.

The best introduction to the style of riding they offer is to tackle an out and back ride up the bridleway that climbs to the northern shoulder of Cross Fell from the lovely village of Garrigill. There is a fair amount of height to gain on this route but it is achieved over eleven kilometres which gives most of the climbs a moderate and mostly cycle-able gradient.

The majority of the riding is along access track which is stony but well maintained, with the balance being on stony single track and a final short section on open fell side. The climb is mitigated by superb wide ranging views and interesting old mine workings passed on the way up. The descent is world class and gives long and fast bursts interspersed with cruising freewheels. There are a couple of rock garden sections to deal with through the old mine workings, and some drainage channels to negotiate, but mostly the technicalities are at the softer end of the range.

Remember to always stick to the bridleways as this is a conservation area.

  • Start/Finish: Garrigill, GR NY 745 411
  • Distance: 13.7 miles (22 km)
  • Grade: Hard - Challenge
  • Refreshments: Café: Alston
  • Pubs: Alston, 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