Routes: North West, Pennines, Lake District and Forest of Bowland

Manchester: Pennines and Plains

From Manchester you have a great choice of routes, into the hills or across the plains of Cheshire and Lancashire. For routes from the Peak District, check out our Peak District page.

Cheshire Plain

The flat Cheshire Plains are full of history and cycling cafes. This is great route from Alderley Edge taking in Jodrell Bank and Mow Cop. Cafe stop at Jodrell Bank.

Lancashire Plain – Southport

The Lancashire Plain offers great coastal cycling easily accessible from across the North. Heading to Southport you can take in some forgotten back lanes, with viewpoints back across the plain. It’s possible to do this route from Wigan, or from Manchester for a 120km+ ride.

The South West Peak

From Macclesfield you can explore the South West or Cheshire Peak, with some lumpy riding – perhaps the greatest climbing per elevation of any of our rides, but worth it! Lunch at Tittesworth Reservoir.

The Pennine Moors

The central part of the Pennines offers wide open moorland, best tackled in good weather but simply stunning. Hebden Bridge and Glossop are both great starting points.

From Hebden, on this ride you’ll take in Bronte Country, famous for the bleak and dramatic moors of Wuthering Heights. From there, you’ll climb Cragg Vale, the longest continuous climb in England.

Glossop offers the Pennine ‘Ring of Fire’ taking in some of the biggest climbs in the region including Holme Moss and Snake Pass.

Forest of Bowland

The Forest of Bowland is one of the North West’s hidden secrets. Much of the area is owned by the Duke of Lancaster, farmed traditionally with lowland rivers and upland fells, a cycling paradise. Rides are usually centered around lunch at the famous Puddle Ducks Cafe in Dunsop Bridge – but do check if it’s open! Whalley and Clitheroe are great starting points with direct trains from Manchester Victoria.

On this first route from Whalley, we take in the Trough of Bowland, Dunsop and Waddington Fell, ideal if you don’t fancy the slog up to the Cross o’ Greet.

This ride from Whalley takes in the Nick of Pendle alongside Waddington, ideal as a shorter day in the shoulder season.

Finally, the classic Tour of Bowland from Clitheroe takes in the Trough and the Cross o’ Greet, a tough but rewarding day in the saddle and the “one to do” if you have the time.

Lake District

The Lake District needs no introduction. It’s an excellent place for cycling especially in the shoulder season and the late autumn, weather permitting. Windermere has direct trains to Manchester and a very good hostel, ideal as a base for a weekend.

On this first ride you’ll take in two of the largest lakes, Thirlmere and Ullswater, before ascending the Kirkstone Pass.

Take on Wrynose Pass, one of the hardest in the UK, on this ride before riding back alongside the stunning shores of Coniston Water and across the chain ferry to Windermere.