Buy the OS Route Map and instructions for this route

The Langdales sit in the very heart of the Lake District, leading west from the tourist trappings of Ambleside and brushing up against the highest peaks in England. It’s a pretty innocuous area at first glance, especially as it’s quite literally buried beneath some of Britain’s finest mountain scenery; but the hillsides are scored with tracks and trails, and are blessed with some of the country’s best mtb’ing.
This ride starts in Ambleside and heads west making the most of the wonderful bridleway over Loughrigg Terrace to kick off. A word of warning: this gets very busy with walkers at peak times and isn’t worth riding in those conditions, so if you can’t avoid holiday periods and weekends, you’ll probably be better leaving this bit out, and out-and-backing it over Loughrigg Fell.
It’s a bit scrappy around Elterwater, with a short road section, but once over Great Langdale Beck and past Oak Howe, the more technical going kicks in, and this theme continues in short sharp bursts for the climb out of the valley into the neighbouring Little Langdale. Rock and rubble gives way to slate in Hodge Close, which is a wonderfully atmospheric place; and then, just to keep things varied, the broad tracks are replaced by a gnarly woodland descent in Tongue Intake Plantation.
The Knipe Fold track is undulating and fun, but this pales into insignificance after the left turn into Iron Keld Plantation, with one of the finest drops in the whole of the Lakes to follow. Particularly sweet are the short, twisty singletrack sections. It ends all too soon, but there’s still a good climb up onto Loughrigg Fell, and a short section of superb felltop, before the final plummet back into Ambleside for tea.