The Lancashire Cycleway
The tour and 17 day rides
By Jon Sparks
A guidebook to the Lancashire Cycleway, a figure-of-eight shaped route that visits Morecambe Bay, the Bowland Fells and the West Pennine Moors. The two distinct loops are around 130 miles (225km) each and meet at Whalley in the Ribble Valley. Also includes 17 day rides of 13¾ to 46 miles (22 to 74km).
SeasonsYear-round possibilities, although poor weather in winter is to be avoided.
CentresWhalley, Clitheroe, Burnley, Wigan, Preston, Lancaster, Blackpool, Lytham St Anne's and Kendal are all within easy reach or on the route.
DifficultyEasy through to fairly challenging. All within the range of a moderately fit cyclist. Access by rail at numerous points means that less experienced cyclists can do it in shorter sections.
Must SeeCrossing the Forest of Bowland, exploring the villages of western Lancashire.
The 265 mile (425km) Lancashire Cycleway showcases the idyllic scenery of England's historic Red Rose County. Comprising of two distinct loops that intersect at Whalley in the Ribble Valley, the Northern Loop contrasts the quiet lanes and peaceful countryside of northwestern Lancashire with the thrill of the open moors of the Forest of Bowland AONB; the Southern weaves its way between the villages and towns in the south of the county, an area rich in social history.
Easily accessible from the region's rail network, the route - which is all on-road - can be cycled either as a tour or a series of day rides. This guidebook presents the Lancashire Cycleway in 11 stages of 16.5 - 30.9 miles (26.6 - 49.7km), plus two short connections to link the loops to the major regional stations at Lancaster and Wigan, as well as 17 varied day rides for those wishing to explore the county further.
Detailed route description and 1:100,000 mapping is presented alongside a wealth of information on local points of interest and facilities, and the magnificent colour photography offers a small taste of what the routes have to offer. The guide also includes useful advice for those new to cycling or cycle touring.
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Jon Sparks is a photographer and writer based in Garstang. He has been a lover of cycling, especially cycling in Lancashire, for many years. His background includes riding road races and hill climbs very badly, and time trials not quite so badly. More recently he’s become a dedicated mountain biker and has also ridden a number of road sportives.
Jon is also a walker and (now very occasional) rock climber and mountaineer. He is a member of the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild.
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