The Trough of Bowland is a scenic valley in the Forest of Bowland AONB and at it’s highest point is 295m. With steep climbs, stunning views, woodland, green fields and quiet roads, it’s easy to see why Sir Bradley Wiggins trained here ahead of his Tour de France win. We’re also not far from the equally stunning Yorkshire Dales!
The route starts from the busy market town of Clitheroe, home to the tranquil River Ribble where we head out in a north-westerly direction, with the moors ahead of you.
The first climb is at around 4 miles in and heads up through Cow Ark with a descent into the village of Whitewell. It’s a right here following the River Hodder parallel to Dunsop Bridge where we’ll begin to climb the Trough of Bowland pass with the landscape rising around you. In places the gradient is around 15%, especially nearer the top, however you’re greeted with scenic moorland and great views once at the summit.
Continuing along Trough Road and following the Marshaw Wyre river we descent into Marshaw before the third climb onto more moorland and descening into the small village of Quernmore.
The next 20 miles or so of the route is relatively flat, passing through Caton and following the River Lune passing Claughton before crossing the river and entering the village of Hornby. We then continue through the small settlement of Melling, crossing the River Greta to Cantsfield and passing Burton-in-Lonsdale Castle.
We then briefly visit the village of Ingleton in North Yorkshire and turn to head south following the River Greta before heading off left towards Wennington, not far from the Yorkshire border and the small settlement of Wray.
It’s here we begin our fourth and largest climb of day up to the Cross of Greet at around 5 miles in length and elevation well into double figures here. You’ll know you’re at the top when you cross the cattle grid before descending into the pretty stone lined village of Newton-in-Bowland.
Now’s the final climb of the day and one to test those tired legs up Hallgate Hill, at around 2.5 miles in length. The climb starts steep at around 15% but levels out towards the top.
Thankfully now it’s all downhill to Clitheroe which you can see ahead of you for a well deserved refreshment stop!