The Trough of Bowland, located in Lancashire, England, is a hidden gem for cyclists seeking picturesque routes, challenging climbs, and delightful café stops. This Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) offers a diverse landscape characterised by lush valleys, heather-covered moors, and quaint villages. In this article, we will introduce you to some of the major climbs in the Trough of Bowland, recommend a few charming café stops, and highlight some of the area’s most interesting features.
Major Climbs in the Trough of Bowland
- Jubilee Tower Climb: The Jubilee Tower climb, also known as the Quernmore Climb, is a popular ascent among cyclists visiting the Trough of Bowland. Starting from the village of Quernmore, the climb covers a distance of approximately 3.5 miles and ascends 673 feet. The Jubilee Tower itself, a 19th-century folly built to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, sits at the top of the climb, offering panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.
- Cross O’Greet: The Cross O’Greet climb begins in the village of Newton and covers a distance of around 3.9 miles, ascending 1,010 feet. This challenging climb takes riders through the heart of the Forest of Bowland and offers stunning views of the area’s characteristic heather-covered moors. Upon reaching the summit, cyclists are rewarded with a dramatic view of the Ribble Valley and the Yorkshire Dales.
- Nick o’ Pendle: The Nick o’ Pendle is a short but challenging climb featured in Warren’s “100 Greatest Cycling Climbs” book. This climb is located just to the south of the Trough of Bowland, near the town of Clitheroe. The ascent covers a distance of 1.1 miles, with an average gradient of 9.1% and a maximum gradient of 14%. Although not a long climb, it is steep and will test your climbing abilities.
- Waddington Fell: Waddington Fell is another climb in the Trough of Bowland region that has been included in Simon Warren’s “Another 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs” book. Starting from the village of Newton-in-Bowland, the climb covers a distance of 3.9 miles and ascends approximately 840 feet. The ascent features a series of switchbacks and offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside, making it a memorable and rewarding climb.
- Trough of Bowland: Starting from the charming village of Dunsop Bridge, the Trough of Bowland climb covers a distance of approximately 4.6 miles, with an elevation gain of around 590 feet. The ascent is relatively moderate in terms of gradient, with an average of 2.5% and a maximum gradient of around 12%. This makes it accessible for most riders and allows cyclists to enjoy the stunning scenery at a more leisurely pace.
As you make your way up the climb, you’ll pass through a landscape characterised by rolling hills, heather-covered moors, and dry-stone walls. The route offers several viewpoints where you can stop to take in the breathtaking panoramas of the surrounding area.
At the summit of the climb, you’ll find a cattle grid that marks the highest point of the road and the boundary between the counties of Lancashire and North Yorkshire. From here, you can enjoy a well-deserved break and take in the views of the Ribble Valley and the Yorkshire Dales in the distance.
Charming Café Stops
- Puddleducks Café: Located in the picturesque village of Dunsop Bridge, Puddleducks Café is a perfect stop for cyclists exploring the Trough of Bowland. This charming café offers a selection of homemade cakes, sandwiches, and hot drinks, providing the ideal fuel for tackling the area’s challenging climbs.
- The Applestore Café: Situated within the grounds of the historic Wyresdale Park, the Applestore Café is another must-visit stop for cyclists. The café, housed in a beautifully converted Victorian building, offers a delightful setting for a well-deserved break. The menu features locally sourced produce and includes a variety of delicious options, from light lunches to indulgent afternoon teas.
Interesting Features of the Trough of Bowland
- Gisburn Forest: The Trough of Bowland is home to Gisburn Forest, a sprawling woodland that offers a range of recreational activities for visitors, including walking, mountain biking, and horse riding. Gisburn Forest features several cycling trails, including the Gisburn Forest Hub, which boasts a variety of routes suitable for riders of all abilities.
In addition to its cycling trails, Gisburn Forest offers a network of footpaths and bridleways for walking and horse riding. The forest is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, making it a prime location for wildlife watching. Some of the species you might encounter include roe deer, red squirrels, and various bird species, such as owls, woodpeckers, and birds of prey.
- Stocks Reservoir: Another noteworthy feature in the Trough of Bowland is Stocks Reservoir, a picturesque body of water surrounded by unspoiled countryside. The reservoir features a 5-mile perimeter footpath, which provides an excellent opportunity for a leisurely ride or walks while taking in stunning views.
The Trough of Bowland offers cyclists an unrivalled opportunity to explore the captivating beauty of this lesser-known corner of England. With its challenging climbs, charming cafés, and fascinating features, the area provides a memorable cycling experience that leaves visitors eager to return. So, whether you’re tackling the Jubilee Tower climb or enjoying a leisurely ride along Stocks Reservoir, the Trough of Bowland promises to captivate and inspire cyclists of all levels.