Duration: 4 – 6 hours / Distance 39.5km / Height Gain 1545m / Map OS Explorer OL19

Warning: This is a serious mountain route which goes into some very remote terrain with no mobile phone signal. Weather on the Howgill summits can be cold, wet and windy so go prepared!

Starting from the central car park on Main Street, Sedbergh turn right onto Joss Lane then take the 2nd left onto Fairholme. At the T junction turn right onto Howgill Lane and follow this for about 1.5km to the top of the hill. Here a bridleway turns right and heads up a track towards the fell. Go through the fell gate and turn right to follow the grassy track that zigzags up the west ridge of Winder to the summit at 473m.

From Winder continue north east along the ridge then follow the bridleway which climbs gradually across the southern flank of Arant Haw. After crossing over the shoulder an enjoyable stony descent leads to an area called Rowantree Grains. From here there is a very steep and stony climb to the next summit, Calders (674m).

The track continues more gently northwards passing just east of Bram Rigg Top before a quick descend followed by a short steep pull leads to the high point of the day at The Calf (676m). From here there are fine views to the Lakes in the west, the Pennines to the north and the Dales to the east.

Care is needed to navigate the next section correctly. From The Calf head northeast for about 500m to a small tarn (sometimes dried up). Keep to the right of the tarn and turn east to pick up the start of the bridleway into Bowderdale. The track descends and swings northwards until you can see the head of the Bowderdale valley below you on the right. Here you are crossing a steep slope and in places the track runs in an awkward washed out trough, requiring some skilful riding to avoid tumbling down the hill.

Follow this famous single track for the next 6km first along the side of the valley, then beside the river before a gentle climb leads to a junction with a larger track near the foot of the valley. Turn right and head downhill until you reach a minor road at Bowderdale Foot.

Turn right here and follow the minor road until you reach an underpass at the A685. Do not go through the tunnel but instead turn right and on the next corner take a very small lane on the right (Gars Lane). At the end of the tarmac continue straight ahead through a gate onto a track. Follow the track for just over 1km until tarmac reappears at Cow Bank.  Go down a steep hill and across a bridge and keep following the lane to the next junction. Fork right here and continue for about 600m until a bridleway sign points up a track on the right, past a house.

Follow the bridleway until you meet a road (Greenside Lane). Turn left, then right at the T junction to cycle into Ravenstonedale. When you reach The King’s Head turn right (or stop!) then turn right at the next junction by the primary school.  Cycle through the village swinging right past another fine pub, the Black Swan. At the southern edge of the village the main road goes off to the left. Take the right fork here, signposted Artlegarth & Adamthwaite. Follow this road, climbing steeply then dropping down to the farm at Adamthwaite.

From Adamthwaite take the bridleway through the farmyard, heading south down Wandale to pass through Narthwaite farm. After the farm a rough track swings steeply down and right to a ford (this can be quite deep!). 500m further on a diversion can be made to the Cross Keys. This temperance inn does not serve alcohol but will provide a fine cup of tea and plate of scones. Bikes should be wheeled along the footpath and across the footbridge to reach the inn.

Continue, following the bridleway which runs along the right bank of the river Rawthey. Ahead of you the waterfall of Cautley Spout comes into view up the valley to the right. It can be reached by footpath only so if you wish to investigate you will need to leave your bike and walk to the falls.

To return to Sedbergh cross the footbridge on the left the follow the bridleway which heads south along the side of the valley, with some very fine stretches of single track, to Fawcett Bank. Here a track is joined which becomes a tarmac lane at Thursgill. Follow this lane to the A683 and turn right to return to Sedbergh. At the mini roundabout by the church turn right, then right again along Main Street to your starting point.


This route description is only to give you information and ideas and its accuracy cannot be guaranteed. Please satisfy yourself that the route is suitable for everyone in your group. Make sure that your bike is in good working order and that you carry a proper paper map, tools, clothing and refreshments. Check the weather forecast and make sure someone knows where you are going, and when you expect to be back.