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The Devil’s Bridge – The Lune Valley – The Howgills

Starting from the Devil’s Bridge near Kirkby Lonsdale in Cumbria and situated between the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales, this all classic ride takes us on a magnificent journey exploring The Lune Valley, via the dales of Barbondale and Kingsdale.

In terms of eye candy there’s lots to see on this ride. Right from the start point, the picturesque Devils Bridge a historic bridge (1370) crossing the River Lune and according to local folklore built by the devil. There’s Bull Pot in Kingsdale, a cave popular with cavers, amazing views of the Howgill Fells a small group of hills marking the edge the Yorkshire Dales National Park and Cumbria.

The terrain, is all fairly easy riding in general so that you can focus on the amazing views. The tarmac climb up Fell Road is a bit of killer. The off road descent into Barbondale is technically probably the hardest section a very rocky and pitted track which probably stops it from being a family friendly ride.

Probably the high point of the ride are the sections past Barbon Beck and the bridleway through Barbon Woods, it is strikingly gorgeous and a real pleasure to ride. The Ford over Barbon Beck looks easy to navigate, but unless you fancy riding the second half of the ride drenched, take care or use bridge crossing. The second half of the ride is mainly pleasant bridleways and quiet B road tarmac.

Keep a look out for the Andy Goldsworthy sculptures on the Wandales/Bent Lane bridleway sections, there’s eight of them, hidden at various points.

Without a doubt, one of my favourite rides in The Dales.

Statistics

Total distance 13.6Miles
Difficulty
Grin Factor

Total Distance: 13.6 Miles
Total Climbing: 3418.6 ft
Time: 3.21 hrs

Off-road: 5.6 mi
On-road: 8 mi

Climbing Distance: 3.3 mi
Descent Distance: 3.9 mi
Flat Distance: 6.4 mi

Terrain: Bridleway, forest paths, tarmac, difficult rocky section in Barbondale prevents this from being family friendly.

The Route

Start Point:  Start point – Devil’s Bridge – Kirkby Lonsdale.

  • Follow the one way street directly opposite the devils bridge free car park, approx 100 yards on the left take the climbing tarmac path towards Chapel House Lane.
  • Climb the tarmac of Chapel House Lane for a few miles, at the tarmac T junction in the Hamlet of High Casterton turn right onto Well Lane and continue under the railway bridge.
  • A couple more miles of tarmac gentle climbing and a the next T junction turn left onto Well Lane.
  • At the tarmac road fork, turn right onto Fell Road a steep long meandering climb, it’s a tough cookie but rewarded with stunning views. There are a couple of miles of level tarmac at the summit.
  • At Bull Pot farm take a left turn onto bridleway and sign posted Barbondale. Blow your mind with the magnificent views ahead of the Howgill Fells.
  • Continue along the track through a couple of gates, there’s a very rocky pitted and quite technical descent finally hitting tarmac at Barbon Beck.
  • Right onto the Tarmac (Barbondale Road), a couple of hundred yards and then left crossing Barbon Beck using either the bridge, or if your fool hardy like us and fancy falling in and getting wet this early in the ride try crossing the ford into Barbon woods. Barbon Beck is an excellent spot for a lunch with a view.
  • Follow Barbon Beck through Barbon Woods, a visually stunning section of the ride.
  • When you hit a gate (not literally) and the end of the woods, go left onto a short steep tarmac descent, a section used annually for the Barbon Hill Climb.
  • At the T junction with St Bartholomew’s church on your right, turn left towards the Banneriggs Brow. For those following our GPS we messed up a bit and rode right into the village of Barbon at this point, don’t bother, you will end up having to come back on yourself.
  • A short tarmac climb and right onto Bow Bents Lane.
  • A Mile or so of tarmac, just after the woods on your left (Tuplot Wood) look out for a climbing bridleway on your left (signposted Bridleway Wandales Lane) your going up here. This section has eight Andy Goldsworthy art installations to look out for.
  • Continue on Wandales Lane bridleway, after a while you should cross the tarmac of Fell Lane which you climbed earlier in the ride, continue straight on the bridleway (signposted Bents Lane.
  • Take the right through the gate following the very grassy bridleway, a few hundred yards and then left through another gate between a tree and the stone farmhouse.
  • Right onto tarmac at the T junction a few hundred yards of tarmac and then left at the barn onto Well Lane, It might not feel like it but your back onto Well Lane/Chapel House Lane the section you started the ride on. It’s a short downhill blast to your start point.

Route Photos

The Devils Bridge Bike Route
Start Point - The Devils Bridge.
The Devils Bridge Bike Route
Take the one way street directly opposite The Devil's Bridge.
The Devils Bridge Bike Route
Climb left.
The Devils Bridge Bike Route
Right onto Well Lane.
The Devils Bridge Bike Route
Left Wandales Lane.
The Devils Bridge Bike Route
Right, Fell Road to Bull Pot.
The Devils Bridge Bike Route
Fell Road climb.
The Devils Bridge Bike Route
Left at Bull Pot farm, The Howgills ahead.
The Devils Bridge Bike Route
Right onto Barbondale Road.
The Devils Bridge Bike Route
Cross Barbon Beck, taking care not to fall in.
The Devils Bridge Bike Route
Barbon Wood, Barbon Beck on your left.
The Devils Bridge Bike Route
Left, down Barbon hill climb tarmac.
The Devils Bridge Bike Route
Left at St Bartholomews church.
The Devils Bridge Bike Route
Right, Bow Bents Lane
The Devils Bridge Bike Route
Left Bridleway Wandales Lane.
The Devils Bridge Bike Route
Straight on, Crossing Fell road.
The Devils Bridge Bike Route
Right.
The Devils Bridge Bike Route
Through Gate.
The Devils Bridge Bike Route
Right onto tarmac.
The Devils Bridge Bike Route
Left, Chapel House Lane. Downhill to your start point.

Food & Stuff

You must be kidding, Kingsdale, Barbondale and The Lune Valley in general are pretty remote areas. there’s a pub, The Barbon Inn about halfway round in the village of Barbon. It seems to be always closed during the day.

At the Devil’s Bridge at your start/end point there’s a burger van which is very popular with bikers (the ones with engines attached) which is open all year round.

If it’s warm enough to be hanging about do yourself a favor and bring a nice picnic. There’s a beauty spot at Barbon Beck / Barbon Woods, about a third of the way round. Scenic spots don’t get much more picturesque than this, definitely a little taste of heaven.

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