Lakeside to Near Sawrey
Matt Carroll, author of Escape Routes, picks his favourite rides…
fter jumping on your bike outside The Knoll – a smart bed and breakfast with all the trimmings of a boutique hotel, but not the prices – head left, along the edge of Lake Windermere.
Within minutes you pass by Stott Park, an old bobbin mill that did a roaring trade in the golden years of the Industrial Revolution, spitting out cotton reels for the Lancashire cloth factories.
The mill’s red-brick chimney pokes above the trees, an incongruous totem pole to mass production, something to think about as you continue pedalling, onto a secret little lane that hugs the lake shore.
It’s little more than a narrow strip of tarmac through the woods, but eventually it brings you out at the hamlet of Far Sawrey. You’ve now got two choices: A: instant gratification in the Sawrey Hotel , opposite – or B: turn left and cruise downhill to the Tower Bank Arms (01539 436334) in Near Sawrey. I tend to opt for the latter: the shoulder of lamb they have on the menu just melts in your mouth…
15 miles approx.
Stop and see
Hill Top (01539 436269) is the farm that Beatrix Potter bought with the royalties from her first books. In many of the rooms it looks as though she’s just nipped out for a walk – leaving sketches of her most famous characters lying around.
Eat, drink, sleep
At The Knoll (01539 531347) you’ll find smart rooms, sumptuous sofas, and delicious food on tap. After a pre-dinner G&T, enjoy treats like spiced parsnip and apple soup.
Rent a bicycle
Country Lanes (07748 512286.
This route and over 50 others feature in a book entitled Matt Carroll’s Escape Routes , a hand-picked selection of stunning cycle rides around England. Published by Punk, priced £16.95.
Messing about on Lake Windermere.Watersports in the Lake District