mountain bike route guide
This mountain bike route of 17.8 miles, North West of Bolton, takes in the many attractions of Rivington Country Park, including Rivington Pike. It also ventures outside the park to visit each of the reservoirs in the valley and the manmade trails in Healey Nab woods. The terrain is not generally too difficult but there are a few technical sections and some great views that make this route well worth riding.
1. Start at the car park by the Great House Barn café and the Information Centre (GR628138). Head out the back of the car park and go past the Go-Ape hut to a T-junction near the reservoir. Turn right and follow the track straight ahead to the next car park. Go straight on through the car park then past a school on the right, to a junction with a road (GR625144). Turn left and descend the road a short way to the next junction, at the edge of the reservoir. Turn right and follow the broken tarmac that soon bears right and climbs to a junction with a gated track on the left at a crest in the road (GR625148). Turn left and step over the stone stile then climb the wide, rocky track. Follow the track up a gentle climb, soon going past the grassy reservoir bank on the right, to the next junction with a track on the left. Turn left for a short descent that soon bears left and finishes at a road (GR621155).
2. Go straight on across the dam. A short distance after the dam the road comes to a junction with a lane on the right, by a house on a left hand bend (GR617154). Turn right and follow through a couple of bends then past the grassy reservoir bank on the right, where the lane straightens out. Just after the grassy bank finishes the lane come to a junction with a track on the right marked as a bridleway, leading to the farm (GR611164).
3. Turn right then at the junction directly before the farm, turn left on the singltrack between the fences. Follow the track up a gentle climb then after a while it kicks up and goes through some bends as it enters the trees. After the trail flattens off follow it to a triangular junction on the left in the next group of trees (GR611179). Turn left then left again and climb the rocky concessional bridleway. At the top of the climb follow the track through a right hand bend to a crossroad junction. Turn left and descend a short way to a gate, with a map of the Healey Nab trails on the right (GR608180).
4. Go through the gate and climb the track straight ahead, tackling the tricky rock sections on the way up. At the junction at the top follow the Red Route arrows right into the trees. This leads to the trailhead junction a short distance later. Turn left and follow the Red Route arrows down a fun descent. Continue following the Red Route until it returns to the trailhead junction. You could then attempt the Black Route descent, with a push up trail back to the trailhead. On returning to the trailhead junction from the Red Route, turn left and descend the trail that ends at the previously visited junction, with a gate on the left, at the edge of the woods (GR608180).
5. Go left through the gate then follow the track back to the previously visited crossroad junction. Turn right and follow the trail as it bears left then descends back to the triangular junction (GR611179). Turn left then left again and descend the wide track with the nicely profiled water bars to where it ends at a junction with a lane (GR612183).
6. Turn right and descend the lane through a couple of bends. At the bottom go across the dam then follow the lane left up a steep start to the road climb. After some time the lane goes left then right past the Manor House. It then continues up to a junction at the top of the climb, where the lane turns right and descends (GR623169). Go straight on along the dirt track and go through the gate. Descend gently along the dirt track through some gates. Just before the third gate, follow the bridleway as it turns right and descends steeply down a loose gravel track to another gate. After the gate descend the track left then at the bottom turn right and cross a bridge to a junction (GR630164).
7. Turn right and descend the wide dirt track that follows the stream on the right. Cross over the next bridge then bear right to a gate at a junction with a lane. After the gate go straight on and follow the lane to the junction directly at the far end of the reservoir (GR624160). Turn left on the concessional bridleway to continue following the edge of the reservoir. After a few gentle bends the trail starts to descend and comes to a previously visited junction. Go straight on and descend to the gated junction at the bottom (GR625148).
8. Go over the stone stile to the right of the gate then turn right and descend the tarmac. At the bottom bear left and follow the lane to where it ends at a junction with the road. Turn left and climb a short way to the entrance of the car park on the right (GR625144). Turn right and ride past the school then on to the junction at the back of the car park. Take the left hand track and climb gently to the road at the other end (GR628141). Turn left on the road and descend a short way to a junction with two tracks on the right, where the road bears left. Turn right then take the left hand tarmac track that climbs to the car park at Rivington Hall Barn (GR633145).
9. Go straight across the car park to a junction at the far corner of the Barn. Turn left and go through the gate for a muddy and slightly cobbled climb that ends at a T-junction. Turn left and go up a short climb then bear right and follow the track to where it ends at a gate (GR637149). After the gate turn right and follow the lane a short way to the junction at the entrance to the car park on the left. Go straight on towards the two tracks ahead then take the track on the right and go through the gate. Climb the wide rock cobbled track to a forked junction then take the left hand track. Continue up this track for a while then go under the 'Seven Arch' bridge and on to a big open junction (GR638140).
10. Take the track on the left between the stone pillars and climb through the terraced gardens. Follow the concessional bridleway through a left hand hairpin, past a junction with a track on the right, and continue climbing through the gardens. Go straight on at the next junction and climb to the gated junction at the Pigeon Tower (GR639142). Once through the gate turn right and ride along the wide track towards Rivington Pike. At the next junction go through the gate on the left and climb the wide rock cobbled track towards the Pike. Climb through a couple of rocky bends then turn left past the junction with the steps to the next junction, at the back of the Pike (GR643138). Take the track on the right and climb to the tower at the top (GR643137).
11. After taking in the view turn so the main steps to the tower are on the right. Descend over the rocks slabs, then along the grassy ruts to a junction with a wide cobbled track. Bear right and descend the track to where it ends at a T-junction (GR644134). Turn left to follow the wide dirt track through a few bends, which eventually turns into tarmac by a house on the left. After the house follow the lane to a gated junction with a track, on the right, directly before the walled woods (GR650128).
12. Go through the gate and turn hard right to descend the track into the trees. The singletrack weaves through the trees before coming to a left hand bend that leads to a junction. Turn right and descend the wet, rocky track that ends at a junction (GR647126). Turn right and go up a short climb then follow the track between the fences to a house. Go straight on and descend the broken tarmac and concrete to a junction on the edge of the housing estate (GR641126). Turn right onto the road then, a short distance later, take the next right. Follow the track as it descends left around the field on the left to a bridge at the bottom. Go over the bridge then bear left up a short muddy climb to a junction with a lane by a school (GR638126).
13. Turn right and climb the lane as it bears left then comes to a junction with a wide dirt track (GR639128). Go straight ahead up the wide track to a forked junction a short distance later. Take the right hand track and climb to the next junction. Take the right hand track again and climb the rock cobbled track between the gorse bushes. Continue up this climb for some time to a wide three-way junction (GR638137). Turn right and climb the wide track to the junction at the other end below Rivington Pike. Turn left to follow the wide track across the hill all the way back to the junction at the Pigeon Tower (GR639142).
14. Go straight ahead along the left hand track that goes directly past the tower. Descend the smooth wide track through a couple of gentle bends to the top of the most technical part of the ride. It starts when the track turns left down a section of big stepped rocks that quickly gives way to a long section of loose boulders. If you don’t like big, loose rocks there is some singletrack up on the left hand side of the trail lower down. The trail eventually comes out to a junction at the car park at the bottom (GR637148).
15. Go straight ahead along the lane past the car park to the junction with the previously visited gated track on the left, directly after. Turn left through the gate and follow the track that soon bears left down to the previously visited junction (GR637147). Go straight on, over the stream, then bear right and follow the wide track downhill to the next gate. After the gate follow the trail as it bears left and descend to a triangular junction. Keep left past the triangular junction and descend to the next junction. Go straight on and descend a short way to the road (GR633134).
16. Go across the road and straight on down the track to the next junction a short distance later. Take the second left and follow the dirt track through the trees to the next junction (GR633129). Turn right and follow the wide track down to the castle (GR629130). Turn right at the castle and follow the track that leads away from the tower. At the next junction turn left then follow the track along the field on the right, and trees on the left. Keep following the main track, directly by the trees as it goes through a long right, left, right series of bends. This then leads to a three-way junction. Turn left and descend the rooty track through the trees. The track soon comes out of the trees to a field on the right and trees on the left. Continue along the main track then as it bears right stay to the right of the tall metal fence. Descend to a sharp left hand bend that leads on to a short sharp climb. At the top of the climb turn right around the Go-Ape hut and return to the car park at the Great House Barn cafe and the Information Centre to complete the ride (GR628138).
Not all of these trails are shown on the OS maps of the area but they can be found in a leaflet, available from the Information Centre, which details all the permissive trails.