Claife Heights mountain bike trail

Harrowslack near Windermere

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
View of Wray Castle, Windermere © National Trust

View of Wray Castle, Windermere

St Margaret's Church © Stuart Graham

St Margaret's Church

Moss Eccles Tarn © Stuart Graham

Moss Eccles Tarn

Route overview

This route invites you to learn about the history of Beatrix Potter and the landscape that she was so determined to protect. The trail is fairly easy and is suitable for all ages. There are phenomenal views along the trail and plenty of historical sites to keep you entertained.

Route details

See this step-by-step route marked on a map

Route map for Claife mountain bike trail
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Harrowslack car park, grid ref: SD388959

  1. Turn left out of Harrowslack car park (SD388960) and follow the road, with Lake Windermere on your right. You will eventually reach a cattle grid - here the road turns into a rough track (SD387970).

  2. Continue along the track past Strawberry Gardens Campsite (SD387973), after which the track gradually rises into woodland and then descends back along the lake. Continue for approximately 2 miles (3.2km).

  3. You will reach Belle Grange (SD387989) on your left. Continue to the end of track where it meets the road by Red Nab car park (SD386994).

  4. Go through Red Nab car park and take the track at the end, which continues along the lake. Follow the track for about one mile, until you reach High Wray Bay (SD376005) on your right.

  5. Turn right through the gate and follow it round Eppley Head to Wray Castle (SD376011). From the west side of Wray Castle, take the main drive and follow this past St Margaret's Church (on your left) to the road junction.

    Show/HideWray Castle

    Wray Castle, was built during the 1840s by Dr James Dawson. The Potter family would often holiday at the Castle. Here they met Hardwick Rawnsley, who became one of the founder members of the National Trust. It was Hardwick who also encouraged Beatrix Potter to publish her first book.

    View of Wray Castle, Windermere © National Trust
  6. Turn left at the junction and follow the road back up to High Wray. Go past the first left-hand turn until you see a sign for National Trust Basecamp up a track on your left, opposite High Wray Farm (SD373999).

    Show/HideSt Margaret's Church

    The church was built in 1856 by James Dawson as part of the estate. Its purpose was to provide spritual enlightenment for his family and employees. In 1877 Hardwick Rawnsley took up the appointment of vicar to the parish.

    St Margaret's Church © Stuart Graham
  7. Take the track and continue until you see National Trust Basecamp on your left (SD372996). The bridleway starts by the gate to Basecamp. (Do not take the right hand track through the padlocked gates on your right.)

  8. Head up the bridleway until it levels off at Nor Moss (SD376992) and continue to the crossroad at Scab Moss (SD379987).

  9. Go straight across the junction and continue past Wise Een Tarn (SD373976) to Moss Eccles Tarn (SD373968).

    Show/HideMoss Eccles

    The Tarn was bought by Beatrix Potter in 1913. Moss Eccles became a favourite place for her and William Heelis to spend time together in the evenings. They kept a boat here and planted a red water lily and a white water lily in the shallow waters.

    Moss Eccles Tarn © Stuart Graham
  10. From Moss Eccles Tarn (SD373968) head downhill, keeping left at junction (SD373962). Go down over the ford at Wilfin Beck and onto Cuckoo Brow Lane to the junction with the B5285.

  11. Turn left onto the B5285 and continue past the Claife Crier Pub and Sawrey Hotel on your left. At the end of the hotel car park, there's a public telephone box. Turn immediately left here and head back uphill, with the hotel on your left.

  12. Continue up the bridleway as it bends round to the right and descends back down to Lake Windermere and turn right, back to Harrowslack car park.

End: Harrowslack car park, grid ref:SD388959

  • Trail: Cycling
  • Grade: Moderate
  • Distance: 10 miles (16km)
  • Time: 4 hours
  • OS Map: OL7: English Lakes, South-Eastern area
  • Terrain:

    This is a 10 mile (16km) bike ride on mixed terrain of gravel, tarmac, grass and rock. The route can be taken as a loop or can be shortened, as required. There are some uphill sections, however these are not very steep.

  • How to get here:

    By foot: 1.5 miles (2.4km) from Bowness-on-Windermere, via lakeshore footpath and car ferry

    By train: Windermere station linked to Oxenholme station on main West Coast line. Bus connection to Bowness Bay Stagecoach 505/506

    By car: From M6 Junction 36, head towards Ambleside on A591 then follow signs for Hawkshead. Continue to Far Sawrey and down the hill towards the lake until you reach Ash Landing National Trust car park on your left

    By ferry: Windermere car ferry operates all year (except in high winds). Cross Lakes Shuttle (Windermere Lake Cruises) from Bowness Bay Pier 3 (pedestrian and cyclist operates Easter to October)


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