Distance: Approx 24 miles
Time: About 3.5 Hours
Some good climbing and two long descents. Bridleway disappears at one point.
Make sure you have a Map, Compass or a good GPS with map.
The loop I did, started from Hawes and headed out of Town on the Sedbergh road past Cotterdale, before turning right towards Kirby Stephen at the Moorcock Inn. Then after a couple of miles riding along side the railway line, turning off the road at Shaw Paddock Farm following the bridleway, it’s just before the road goes under the railway line.
Now follows a long descent on a hardpack farm track down to the main road nera the Thrang. Bear left on the road and after another quarter mile take a left at the bridleway sigh through the farm yard uptowards the gate at the top right of the yard. Now follows a muddy climb up before the track peters out into rough grass. Don`t work keep heading in the same direction parallel to the road below and you shold hit a small fenced forestry planting. Head staight through and hopefully from here the track becomes fairly apparent (keep looking ahead for gates and styles). Once found the track mainly follows the wall and can be a bit muddy, depending upon the time of year before the track comes out about a ridge and then onto Helgill for a quick stop to look at the Force and lunch.
From here I headed to the railway bridge and the main road, as the track up to Helgill and the Lady Ann Highway from here is a Public Footpath and NOT a Bridleway so no bikes but you could walk the last bit if you wanted. Anyway along the road and then under the railway line at Shaw Paddock Farm again turn up the same track. This time before getting to Helgill tunr back on yourself (right) to the Lady Ann Highway heading back to Cotterdale and Hawes.
The bridle way has some good fast sections and one trick little climb up a narrow stony section, which some far I`ve never managed to climb (although good to decend in the other direction), along the track are some good water spashes and some great views. Eventually you come to the end of the climbing at the end of Cotterdale before a nice fast descent back to the road. Just watch ahead for hikers and other bikers coming up!
Then its back onto the road and where ever you have left the car.