A great route with a subterranean flavour if you're looking for an interesting 1/2 day ride with plenty of rideable ascents and descents in the Lake District.
Starting from Coniston. Follow the MTB/Pedestrian path from Coniston to the Tilberthwaite Road then turn laft up the hill to Tilberthwaite.(17 mile route)
Starting from Tilberthwaite car park NY30568 01023(12 mile route) .
1. The trail bears right at the farm at the top of the Tilberthwaite road, steadily climbing passing the quarry area then dropping down to Little Langdale. You can pass through a 150M tunnel to find Cathedral Quarry from this road. (see note below)
2. Crossing a large ford you arrive at Little Langdale, (alternatively go left at the ford to Slater's Bridge if you want to avoid the Three Shires Inn at Little Langdale!)
3. From Little Langdale take the road towards Wrynose then take the track on the right marked 'Challenging Route' to Elterwater (Brittania Inn).
4. From Elterwater follow the main road through Chapel Stile for 2 miles to NY31178 06173. (There is a track marked as footpath to avoid the road if you don't mind being challenged.)
5. Cross the Langdale Valley and follow the track past the working quarry turning right in the woods rejoining the 'Challenging' Elterwater to Little Langdale Track.
6. Turn right on the road to Fell Foot. Turn Left accross the Little Langdale Valley following the Quarry Track keeping right at the fork back to Tilberthwaite for a technical ascent and excellent and challenging down hill all the way to Coniston. (I didn't get any photos as I was too busy enjoying myself!)
The pictures left show Slater's Bridge and below, the only flat section crossing the Langdale Valley.
If you fancy riding the tunnel into Cathedral Quarry the access is over a style on the track from Tilberthwaite to Little Langdale. NY 315 025 Push the bike up the path through the woods to a level shelf where you will find the tunnel entrance with it's warning signs! From this entrance it takes some man handling to get the bikes into the main chamber. However the main chamber can be accessed from the quarry road near Slater's Bridge NY 313 028. Beware of climbers in the quarry. Lights essential!