From the countryside to the coast – Lancashire Cycleway loop

Bike Touring Collection by Amy
3-5 days
3-5 h / day
171 mi
6,925 ft
6,825 ft

Imagine riding smooth twisting roads across fells and through forests in the morning and eating fish and chips on the beach in the evening – the Lancashire Cycleway takes you from the countryside to the coast and back again.

The Collection will guide you around the 172 mile (277 km) Lancashire Cycleway circular in seven stages ranging in length from 11 miles (17 km) to 38 miles (62 km). Mile crunchers can combine the stages together to complete the route in less time.

Lancashire is a beautiful area with plenty to see and do and is a delightful county to explore from your saddle. This Collection will take you through centuries of local history from fascinating medieval halls to industrial railways, and up to the modern-day at the Blackpool pleasure beach.

Outside of the pleasant towns and cities such as Preston and Blackpool, the Lancashire countryside is spectacular. Rare birds flock to its coastal nature reserves, moody green fells extend into the horizon and peaceful farmland flanks the road – it’s truly lovely.

At the end of each stage, you will find various places to stay and eat. Lancashire is known for its excellent food – don’t miss trying black pudding and Eccles cake – as well as its beer! You’ll find pubs brimming with friendly locals dotted along the route.

The Lancashire Cycleway mostly follows along quiet rural lanes and cycle paths. Any bike in good working order should be fit for the challenge, although slick racing tyres may struggle on some sections that become muddy after rain. Apparently it rains as much in Lancashire as it does in the Amazon, so don't forget to pack your waterproof gear.

In total, you will climb 6,890 feet (2,100 meters) over the seven stages, with one longer climb into the Forest of Bowland. However, you will be distracted from any burning muscles by the spectacular views here.

The route starts and ends in Lancaster, known as a "small city with a big story" thanks to its once gory past. Nowadays, the city is much more peaceful with over 43 miles (70 km) of canal to explore. Lancaster also has various bike rental and repair shops to help you get pedaling on your journey.

You can easily reach Lancaster by train as the city enjoys direct links to London, Leeds, Glasgow, and Manchester.

For train timetables and tickets, visit: thetrainline.com/live/departures/lancaster
For more information on Lancashire, visit: visitlancashire.com

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

  • Easy
    01:48
    18.9 mi
    10.5 mph
    450 ft
    500 ft
    Easy bike ride. Great for any fitness level. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Starting in Lancaster, the first stage of the Lancashire Cycleway is an exhilarating 18 mile (30 km) ride to Pilling. Along the way, you will discover some of Lancashire’s most charming attractions: from river-side cycling lanes to medieval castles. Stage one is an easy ride with no challenging climbs; you will gain 460 feet (140 meters) in elevation.You will follow the Lancaster Canal out of the town center, passing Fairfield Nature Reserve and woodland. At Aldcliffe, you leave the canal and join the River Lune as it meanders past Ashton Hall. Continuing through the wooded countryside, you will cross over the Lancaster Canal and River Cocker before arriving in Cockerham. A pretty village with medieval history, Cockerham has a great restaurant, farm shop, and all-important ice cream shop. From the Cocker estuary, you will follow quiet country lanes parallel to the water. The final flat 6 miles (10 km) will lead you past the peaceful Lane Ends Nature Reserve to Pilling. Once an ancient settlement founded between the sea and marshlands. Pilling is a quaint village with a unique charm. Unusual sites include the Damside Windmill and Pilling Pig Locomotive train. You will also find two friendly pubs and various accommodation options in the area.

    by
    Amy
  • Intermediate
    03:40
    39.0 mi
    10.7 mph
    750 ft
    725 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Stage two of the Lancashire Cycleway will take you 39 miles (63 km) from Pilling to Preston, passing through glorious countryside on the way. Today has 755 feet (230 meters) of elevation gain, with no challenging climbs.From Pilling, you will ride into the countryside across the Fylde coastal plain and past rural farms and fields of grazing animals. After 6 miles (10 km), Great Ecclestone village welcomes you with its strong agricultural tradition. The village holds weekly and monthly markets as well as its annual Great Eccleston Agricultural Show. After passing through Elswick and Singleton, the route takes a small detour to the coast and one of the most famous seaside resorts in the UK – Blackpool. The twinkling lights and twirling rollercoasters of Blackpool’s Pleasure Beach are bound to get your pulse racing. A cycle path will guide you away from the busy entertainment and back into tranquil nature. You will cycle through sleepy villages such as Wrea Green and Freckelton, before reaching the banks of the River Ribble. You will follow the river as it flows into Preston, your final destination. A lively city overflowing with culture and history, you will find many things to see and do here, from poetry nights to adventure parks. The city also has various accommodation options.

    by
    Amy
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  • Intermediate
    03:15
    33.4 mi
    10.3 mph
    925 ft
    650 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Delightful nature reserves, magnificent birds of prey and friendly pubs: stage three of the Lancashire Cycleway is a varied 34-mile (55 km) ride from Preston to Longridge. Your day begins with two small detours from the Lancashire Cycleway to visit the Turbary Woods Owl and Bird of Prey Sanctuary and the beautiful Brockholes Nature Reserve. You will ride along traffic-free bike paths to reach both spots. Next, you will rejoin the Lancashire Cycleway as it heads northwards. After crossing the Lancaster Canal, you will be surrounded by green countryside as you ride along country lanes. On the outskirts of Myerscough, you will gradually climb up to 394 feet (120 meters) over 9 miles (15 km) as you continue through the stunning Ribble Valley. The final destination of today’s adventure is Longridge. Perched atop a hill, the pleasant market town enjoys expansive views across the Flyde Plain and to the Welsh mountains. In the town, you will find a large range of restaurants, independent shops, antique galleries and accommodation to ensure you have a comfortable stay.

    by
    Amy
  • Intermediate
    01:56
    20.3 mi
    10.5 mph
    825 ft
    850 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Stage four of your adventure takes you further into the heart of rural Lancashire as you ride 20 miles (32 km) from Longridge to Grindleton. Today, you will explore more of the Ribble Valley, a beautiful designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. On the outskirts of Longridge you will pass the Spade Mill Reservoirs and enjoy a downhill ride towards Ribchester. This small village has an interesting past. It once housed Bremetennacum, a Roman cavalry fort and was an important center for cotton weaving during the Industrial era. You can still visit Weavers’ cottages in the village.After crossing the River Ribble, you will continue through the green valley, skirting around Brockhall village and Billington before arriving in Whalley. Whalley is brimming with historic buildings, quaint cafes and shops. From Whalley, the route gently rises and falls as it meanders through the landscape on country lanes. After visiting the pleasant village of Waddington and West Bradford, you will arrive in Grindleton. You will find some accommodation options in and around Grindleton such as the 3 Millstones Inn and holiday rentals in Clitheroe.

    by
    Amy
  • Difficult
    02:49
    25.9 mi
    9.2 mph
    2,075 ft
    2,250 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Vast landscapes, giant glacial rocks and panoramic views – stage five guarantees you some of the best roads you will have ever cycled. Today, you will ride 25 miles (40 km), climbing a total of 2000 feet (610 meters). Setting off from Gindleton, you will follow country lanes that run parallel to the River Ribble before climbing towards Slaidburn village. This section of the route is simply stunning. Enjoy the scenery as you ride lonely roads through vast open moorland, past glistening lakes and along trickling rivers. Welcome to the Forest of Bowland, an area famous for its incredible beauty. We recommend stopping off for supplies in Slaidburn as you will not find many shops or cafes for the rest of the day and you have quite some meters to climb. After reaching 1377 feet (420 meters), the highest point of stage five, a spectacular downhill stretch awaits. You can stop off at the Great Stone of Fourstones along the way. Your final destination is Wray, a thriving village with two pubs, a cafe, tea rooms, shop and post office. Don’t be spooked by the scarecrows when you arrive – Wray is the Scarecrow village of Lancashire. You will find various accommodation in the village.

    by
    Amy
  • Easy
    01:01
    10.5 mi
    10.3 mph
    475 ft
    525 ft
    Easy bike ride. Great for any fitness level. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    From turreted medieval castles to ancient bridges and beautiful nature; stage six is a lovely ride through centuries of Lancashire history. This relaxing ride will take you 10 miles (16 km) from Wray to Priest Hutton. A couple of miles outside of Wray, you will reach Hornby, a small village on the banks of the River Wenning and River Lune. Here, you can visit the 12th-century castle or wander the cattle market that is held every other Tuesday during the summer. Next, you cycle over the historic Loyn Bridge and into Gressingham and continue on to Arkholme. A pretty village nestled in the Lune Valley, Arkholme has a pub where you can stop for lunch. The remaining 5 miles (8 km) are a peaceful ride through the Lune Valley countryside. You can expect meandering rivers and luscious countryside, as well as your first sighting of the Yorkshire Dales. Your final stop is Priest Hutton, a sleepy village on the border of Lancashire and Cumbria. Accommodation is limited, but self-catering cottages are located in the village.

    by
    Amy
  • Difficult
    02:28
    22.9 mi
    9.2 mph
    1,450 ft
    1,350 ft
    Expert bike ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    Stage severn takes you 24 miles (38 km) from Priest Hutton to Lancaster. You will ride through ancient forests, flourishing nature and chocolate-box villages as you enjoy your final day of adventure along the Lancashire Cycleway.From Priest Hutton, you will head westwards through farmland and beautiful forests, arriving in Silverdale after 7.5 miles (12 km). Standing on the edge of Morecambe Bay, Silverdale is popular with hikers, cyclists and climbers alike. You will find plenty of cozy cafes, restaurants and pubs to stop for a bite to eat. After exploring Leighton Moss nature reserve, you will continue through the countryside, passing Warton Crag, an impressive limestone hill with great climbing opportunities. Outside Millhead, you will meet the River Keer just outside of Carnforth and cycle into the town, famous for its feature in the 1945 David Lean film, Great Encounter. Next, you will climb into the countryside, enjoying a nice downhill stretch to the River Lune and Caton village. A final ascent will take you past Knots Wood Hill and drop down into Lancaster, marking the end of the Lancashire Way. A fascinating city with a Roman past, Lancaster has lots to see and do, as well as excellent restaurants and a range of accommodation. With direct train links with Leeds, London and Manchester, you can conveniently return home from your adventure. For train timetables and tickets, visit: thetrainline.com/stations/lancaster

    by
    Amy

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Comments

Collection Stats

  • Tours
    7
  • Distance
    171 mi
  • Duration
    16:57 h
  • Elevation
    6,925 ft6,825 ft

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