The Altura Trail is situated in Whinlatter Forest Park, just 5 miles west of the popular and scenic town of Keswick. This is a brand new trail which has been long overdue since I first went to Whinlatter in the ‘80s and thought, back then, that it was ripe for an MTB trail. Thank goodness there has been the investment of £500,000 and the will of the Forestry Commission and The Lake District National Park to build the trail. It now rivals Grizedale in the National Park making big claims. It is a multi use centre with Go Ape, walking trails, orienteering and The Siskins Café and Visitors Centre. The great thing about The Atura Trail is that it takes you out of the forest on some edgy parts of the trail with amazing views of the surrounding mountains and valley. This trail is a classic.
It couldn’t be simpler. Park in the car park; ride past the cycle hire shop and onto the trail! There are two loops the North Loop which is 6 miles and graded as Red and the South Loop also Red and 5.5 miles. The whole thing is going to take you about between 1.5 – 2hrs. Just follow the waymarked posts. There is some great switchback climbing and We did the north and south loop and repeated the south loop because it has such a fun fast twisty descending section. This is a very well designed trail and makes the most of the descents. Off the loops are some Black sections. These are very short and consist of North Shore kind of stuff, ramps and jumps and rocky sections. The Red grade is classed as difficult and I would say that it is more technical than other Red routes I have ridden, in equivalent trail centres. The technical parts are roots and small rocks but nothing insane. The roots can really catch you out in the wet.
A Blue graded section, also of 6 miles, is due for completion this summer.
From Keswick, in the Northern part of the Lake District, head west on the A66(T). After about 2.5 miles take a left turn onto the B5293 through Braithwaite. Follow the signs. The road climbs for about 2 miles and the Visitors Centre and car park are on the left.
The facilities are excellent at Whinlatter. A very well spec'd café with quality food and drink is in the Visitors Centre. The Bike Shop and Cycle hire is also good quality with decent bikes for hire including Cube Bikes. As said before it is a multi-use centre with a forest adventure park called “Go Ape”, many graded walking specific trails, orienteering including stuff for kids call The Fox Trot and Rabbit Run. There is some interesting Osprey info and general nature stuff here too.
For accommodation look at The Lake District Area of Mbpost.
When to Bike
This is year round biking and the trails seem very well built and made to withstand the rainfall experienced in this part of England. Parking is £1.50 for 1.5hr, £3 for 4hr and £4 for the day, which is pretty reasonable considering the amount of fun you can have here. There is also a bike wash.