Staveley 3 passes
This is a Beast of a ride (25 miles) but worth every pedal turn. It covers the 3 classic passes, it’s brutal with lots of hike-a-bike but you’ll be rewarded with some of the best technical descents in the Lake District.
You’ll be glad to know you have a choice of Wilfs Café, More Bakery and Hawkshead Brewery at the beginning or end of your ride to satisfy your every craving.
Start the ride at Staveley Mill Yard where parking is free. Wheelbase is here too so if you’ve forgotten anything for your spares/tool bag – now’s the time to get it. Head out of Staveley onto the A591 and follow the cycle path towards Windermere. Take the 3rd right after the speed cameras and climb the lane, follow this until you come to a wide gravel path on your right with a sign pointing to Dubbs Reservoir. Take that bridleway, keeping right and you’ll eventually climb all the way to the top of Garburn Pass. This is a real local favourite and the 3 short successive technical climbs will test the very best. Once you summit you’re in for a treat because the descent on the other side is super technical, rocky, bouldery and fast. Stay off the brakes and have the time of your life. Once you arrive in the valley you’ll be heading past the church and up the other side making your way to a Byway that takes you over the tops to Sadgill. From Sadgill you’ll ride along the valley floor before the climb up Gatesgarth Pass. This is a steady climb that quickly turns into a tough series of cobbled zig-zags. Once you’ve summited the Pass (and yes, I’ve seen people clean it) you head straight on through a couple of gates to some amazing switchbacks all the way down to Haweswater. Pretty epic.
At the junction at the bottom turn left and start climbing towards the waterfall, up the left hand side of the valley. This is the start of the Nan Bield Pass climb, a long technical hike-a-bike. You’ll hike past Small Water about half way up, then it gets serious. Near the top the trail heads left before turning right and reaching a stone shelter and junction in the saddle on the ridge, a good place to stop and regain some energy for the descent.
The descent starts with some steep, technical and very loose switchbacks. This leads on to a great section of boulder covered singletrack that traverses the side of the fell above Kentmere reservoir, on the right. Just sit back and enjoy the next hour or so because the gradual descent has a little bit of everything. It will eventually spit you out back in Kentmere village. Here you can road it back up the valley if you’re toasted, head up back over Green Quarter or cross the valley and head up Heartbreak Hill to finish in Staveley from 3 rivers.
As we said it’s a real big day out but it’s another variation on one of the Lake District’s hidden gems.