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The perfect ride for first-time adventurers – Bay Cycle Way

Pat Neary (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The perfect ride for first-time adventurers – Bay Cycle Way

Bike Touring Collection by Amy

2-3

days

3-4 h

/ day

94.8 mi

4,425 ft

4,400 ft

Majestic egrets dart in and out of the rocky coastline, their silhouette reflected onto the wet, sandy shore. Boats bob peacefully in the harbours of historic fishing villages, long forgotten in time. Mighty rivers wind through evergreen valleys completing their journey towards the sea. Life slows down as you follow the Bay Cycle Way around the edges of Morecambe Bay – relax and enjoy the ride.

This Collection presents the spectacular 95 mile (153 km) route from Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria to Glasson Dock in Lancashire. Each stage varies in length from 8.7 miles (14.1 km) to 19.7 miles (31.7 km) with no more than 885 feet (270 m) elevation gain in one day, making it the perfect choice for your first bike tour or a trip with the whole family.

As this route is ideal for novice riders, I’ve broken it down into seven easy stages. However, if you are a more seasoned tourer, you could easily complete the route in one weekend. Just don’t forget to leave enough time to visit the sights.

You will ride mostly on quiet lanes, minor roads, and cycle paths. However, traffic can sometimes be busier than you would expect for a National Cycle route so you should be fairly confident on roads. Don't worry though, as you can usually hop onto the pavement and push for short, busier stretches.

The nature around Morecambe Bay is spectacular and varied as you alternate from maritime scenes to leafy countryside. Narrow lanes twist through ancient farmland and marshy nature reserves, along gushing rivers, and to the edges of the Lake District National Park. You are bound to lose yourself in the incredible nature around every corner.

The route has a good road surface and little mud, so any bike is a suitable steed for this adventure, even your city bike. It is also e-bike friendly, with charging points located around the bay.

As you ride, a coffee and slice of cake are never far away. Foodies will be in heaven here – ice cream shops, artisan bakeries, oysters and the locally caught fish of the day will all tempt you on the way. If that isn’t enough, you also visit Cartmel village, the birthplace of Sticky Toffee Pudding!

En route, you will discover fascinating history in Cumbria and Lancashire as you visit medieval manor houses, crumbling castle walls, historic train lines, the cobbled streets of historic fishing villages, beautiful Georgian architecture and the impressive city of Lancaster.

There is a train station in Barrow-in-Furness, making it easy to reach the start of your adventure by rail. Just don’t forget to book a (free) ticket for your bike. You can also return home by train from Lancaster at the end of your adventure.

For train tickets and timetables, visit: thetrainline.com/stations/barrow-in-furness
For more information on the Bay Cycleway, visit: sustrans.org.uk/find-a-route-on-the-national-cycle-network/bay-cycle-way

On The Map

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Bay Cycle Way

80.8 mi

3,300 ft

3,325 ft

Last updated: December 22, 2021

Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Stage 1: Barrow-in-Furness to Scales – Bay Cycle Way

    Intermediate
    01:59
    19.7 mi
    9.9 mph
    500 ft
    350 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Crashing waves hugging rugged cliffs, fishing boats bobbing in the harbour, wild coastal islands and crumbling castles rising above the sea – stage 1 is a salty adventure from Piel Castle to Sales. Today is a relatively flat 19.7 miles (31.7 km).

    

    From Piel Island, take the causeway to Walney Island, the

    by Amy

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  • Intermediate
    01:17
    12.1 mi
    9.4 mph
    850 ft
    925 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Stage 2 is a wonderful ride through Furness Peninsula, leading from Scales to Greenodd. With 853 feet (260 m) of elevation gain, today is fairly easy riding.

    

    The day begins through tranquil countryside: dry-stone walls, patchwork fields and grazing sheep line the way.

    

    At Birkrigg Common, veer off the

    by Amy

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  • Intermediate
    00:54
    7.94 mi
    8.7 mph
    625 ft
    600 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Stage 3 bids goodbye to the Furness Peninsula as you ride an easy 7.9 miles (12.8 km) from Greenodd to Cartmel allowing you plenty of time to explore the area.

    

    From Greenodd, a bridge takes you over the River Leven and into Roudsea National Nature Reserve. Extending around the Leven Estuary, Roudsea

    by Amy

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  • Intermediate
    01:37
    15.3 mi
    9.5 mph
    900 ft
    875 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Forgotten forests, wildlife-rich nature reserves and the rocky crags of the stunning Lake District National Park – stage 4 is a beautiful day on your bike.

    

    From Carmel, the route heads slightly uphill before dropping down into Grange-over-Sands.

    

    Located between the mountains and the sea on the southern

    by Amy

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  • Intermediate
    01:28
    14.4 mi
    9.9 mph
    725 ft
    775 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Magnificent castles, stunning shoreline and beautiful views – today you will discover more of Cumbria’s delights as you ride 14.4 miles (23.2 km) from Levens to Silverdale.

    

    From Levens, take a 1.8 mile (3 km) detour to visit the spectacular Sizergh Castle. The mirage of the medieval house reflected onto

    by Amy

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  • Difficult
    01:31
    14.5 mi
    9.5 mph
    675 ft
    725 ft
    Expert bike ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    From tranquil canals to stunning 13th-century manor houses, stage 6 showcases the very best of Lancashire. Today you will ride 14.4 miles (23.3 km) from Silverdale to Morecambe.

    

    From Silverdale, the route twists and turns towards Leighton Moss Nature Reserve, a beautiful stretch of saltmarsh landscape

    by Amy

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  • Easy
    01:03
    10.9 mi
    10.3 mph
    175 ft
    175 ft
    Easy bike ride. Great for any fitness level. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The final stage of the Bay Cycleway takes you on a magical journey from Morecambe Bay to the wonderful city of Lancaster and along the River Lune. With almost no climbing, today you ride an easy 10.8 miles (17.5 km).

    

    From Morecambe, follow a cycle path through the urban surroundings all the way to Lancaster

    by Amy

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    7
  • Distance
    94.8 mi
  • Duration
    09:49 h
  • Elevation
    4,425 ft4,400 ft

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