This past Easter weekend we fancied a long mountain bike ride away from our usual trails in the Lake District. For a while I’d had my eye on the northern section of the Pennine Bridleway running from the top of the Mary Townley Loop (MTL) back to Newby Head near Dent.
I marked up the route and worked out we could do about 50 miles per day with a stopover in Settle, travelling pretty light if we stayed in a B&B with just a change of clothes for the evening.
Good Friday evening we boarded the train at Oxenholme for Accrington and cycled to my parent’s house in the Rossendale Valley. Early Saturday morning we rode some trails from my youth to rejoin the MTL near Fearns School, Waterfoot. Start of the Rossendale & Pendle Mountain Rescue Team MTL Challenge.
We followed the MTL clockwise on a section I’d ridden a few times before and remembered for the sheer number of gates. Taking turns to open and ride through we soon got onto the open moorland trails and over Worsthorne Moor to Hurstwood Reservoir.
Not far along here the Pennine Bridleway North splits off from the MTL over Extwistle Moor. On the map this was just a featureless moorland with no trails marked so I was keen to see what we’d be crossing over, imagining shouldering the bikes and carrying over boggy moorland. I couldn’t have been more wrong, the new trails that have been built were nice wide gravel tracks, well drained and with great swooping bends to tame the steep contours. Fantastic!
We carried on to the quaint village of Wycoller, somewhere I’d heard of many times but never visited. There’s a great tea-room at the Craft Centre with a roaring fire and a great selection of local foods and cake. Unfortunately it was pretty full inside and we were a bit muddy so opted to sit outside in the weak sunshine. (more…)