Helvellyn and the Old Coach Road

A big day out with a tough climb up to Helvellyn, a ridge-top adventure crossing the Dodds, fast grassy singletrack, and the great descent of the Old Coach Road to St John's in the Vale.

Mountain Biking Severe

Distance
26 km
Ascent
1 km
Descent
1.1 km
Duration
2-3 hrs
Low Point
145 m
High Point
877 m
Gradient
16˚
Helvellyn and the Old Coach Road Map

From Thirlspot Inn, follow the steep bridleway climbing up onto the fell, contouring around the side of Whiteside, and joining the Helvellyn ridge just below Lower Man. Take a quick(ish) diversion to the summit if you haven't been before to check out the view and stand atop the highest mountain you can legally ride in England with a bike, then retrace your steps and follow the ridge north past Stybarrow, Watson's, and Great Dodd. Small cairns guide the way down the steep grassy track over Matterdale Common, which gradually becomes more defined and less steep, turning to delightful singletrack all the way down to the Old Coach Road. Follow this great rough track predominantly downhill to St John's in the Vale, before a final road pedal back to Thirlmere. This route is best done after a period of dry weather as the descent from the ridge can be boggy when wet.

Difficulty

Severe

Widely variable, narrow trail tread with steeper grades and unavoidable obstacles of 15in/38cm tall or less. Obstacles may include unavoidable bridges 24in/61cm wide or less, large rocks, gravel, difficult root sections, and more. Ideal for advanced-level riders.

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