Merlin Rides: The Wondrous Walna Scar Loop of Coniston!

Merlin Staff and friends ventured to the heart of England’s stunning Lake District. Exploring a route around Walna Scar, whilst taking in the breathtaking beauty of Coniston Old Man and it’s surrounding landscapes. This area is a must for off road riders, especially those seeking an adventure off the beaten path.

The route began in Coniston, taking the lads from Station Road straight up to Walna Scar, past the car parks and over the left shoulder of the Old Man up to 2000ft… After stopping to take in the views many descents were thoroughly enjoyed over varied terrain (including dodging loose rocks and techy lines).

The surrounding area, which encircles Coniston Old Man, was historically used for mining and quarrying activities. The remnants of these industries can still be seen along the trail, adding a historical flair to the ride. Following both trail and the odd road, the whole loop remained quiet and open throughout.

The loop provides various access points to Coniston Old Man, one of the most iconic peaks in the Lake District. At 803 meters (2,634 feet) tall, it’s a challenging but rewarding climb. The summit offers 360-degree views of the entire region, making it a favourites among photographers and outdoor enthusiasts. There is plenty of designated routes from the peak for Mountain Bikes so you can be assured you are permitted without worry. Just be cautious of walkers and other people using the trails!

As the lads continued on the trail, they came across many remnants of the area’s industrial past. Old mining buildings, quarries, and abandoned mine shafts serve as a reminder of the region’s history and its transformation into a haven for nature lovers. The Walna Scar Loop is teeming with diverse plant and animal life. Keep an eye out for rare bird species, including peregrine falcons and red kites!

Practical Tips for Your Adventure

  1. Trail Difficulty: The Walna Scar Loop offers a range of riding routes, from relatively intermediate to challenging descents. Choose a trail that suits your fitness level and riding experience before you ride.
  2. Weather Awareness: The Lake District is known for its changeable weather, so be prepared for sudden rain or temperature drops. Dress in layers or carry spares and essential gear, including a first aid kit and emergency supplies.
  3. Parking and Facilities: There are limited parking spaces nearby, so arrive early to secure a spot. Additionally, facilities such as toilets and refreshment stops may be limited along the route, so plan accordingly.
  4. Leave No Trace: As with any natural area, practice Leave No Trace principles. Dispose of waste responsibly and respect the environment to help preserve its beauty for future generations.

The Walna Scar Loop off Coniston Old Man is definitely a must when it comes to the best rides in the Lake District, offering a captivating blend of natural beauty, history, and outdoor adventure.

Let us know where your recent off road adventures have taken you recently!


  • Alex Cowie

    Outdoor Leadership and Coaching BA (Hons) Keen cyclist, runner, and outdoor enthusiast. I have been cycling since I was very young and always had a love for the outdoors. I have completed many long distance events including ultra marathons such as the Chester 100, Berkeley Marathons UK and Gravel Century rides.

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