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Great North Trail vs Pennine Bridleway

Posted: Thu Apr 15, 2021 8:41 pm
by Chrisps
I'm thinking of doing the GNT, starting in Glossop (Manchester) and heading to Edinburgh (then another trip to do the north half), as from looking at sat images, the bit south of Castleton doesn't look that interesting to me (I prefer fells and remote land rather than fields).

People seem to rate the GNT, however as far as I can tell it seems to follow the same route as the Pennine Bridleway (until that finishes)... and people seem to describe the Pennine Bridleway with words such as "slog" and "boring."

I'm struggling to reconcile the different thoughts... any words of wisdom appreciated!

Re: Great North Trail vs Pennine Bridleway

Posted: Fri Apr 16, 2021 12:49 am
by In Reverse
I'd use the PBW as a loose basis for a route. There are definitely stretches where the better riding is away from the trail.

The stretch south of Castleton is pleasant but not particualrly dramatic. If you prefer fells then you'd be better heading more north out of Matlock and picking up the Eastern side of the Peaks 200 route and using some of that to plot your way across to Castleton and picking up the PBW from there. Be aware that it's the Peak District though (and obviously the PBW) so it's not hugely remote anywere really.

It's good riding from there up to the outskirts of Burnley at which point you'll probably find better trails off-route again. I think Chew has some decent options for getting from there up into the Dales.

Re: Great North Trail vs Pennine Bridleway

Posted: Fri Apr 16, 2021 6:46 am
by Bearbonesnorm
Yes, my understanding is that they're one and the same. The GNT is simply a combination of existing routes.

I think over the course of something that long and especially within the UK, there'll always be a few dull bits (subjective), it's just par for the course.

Re: Great North Trail vs Pennine Bridleway

Posted: Fri Apr 16, 2021 7:00 am
by whitestone
Much of the PBW was developed for horse riders rather than cyclists so there are sections that are there purely to avoid roads, in some cases the BW is right next to the road but with a fence or wall between them. At places like Gisburn you do this convoluted loop to avoid the busy roads in the village whereas for a bike you'd just roll down the hill and save about twenty minutes.

The section across the Craven Gap, basically Gisburn to Long Preston (maybe even Earby to Long Preston) is best avoided just use the nearest lanes. Two years ago it was very overgrown so it looks as if the horse crowd no longer use it - I chatted to one local rider and the reasons seem to be lack of parking and most people only doing local day loops rather than the longer overnight rides the route's creators hoped would come about.

An off-road alternative would be to pick up the Leeds-Liverpool canal just after Earby and follow it to Gargrave, there's BWs and a short bit of quiet lane to get back on the main PBW.

The Dales section is fine but again there are loops that make sense if you were on a horse but not so much on a bike.

Generally part of the problem is that the traditional packhorse routes were cross Pennine so the PBW is going across the grain as it were and it sort of zig-zags its way around joining things up.

Re: Great North Trail vs Pennine Bridleway

Posted: Fri Apr 16, 2021 7:15 am
by Chrisps
Excellent, that makes a lot of sense. I'll stich something together myself then based off the GNT.

Agree about parts always being less good... Just was concerned about some stuff I had read!

Thanks all :-bd

Re: Great North Trail vs Pennine Bridleway

Posted: Sun Jun 20, 2021 8:17 am
by fatbikerbill
What Whitestone says about the Earby to long Preston. The pbw is a depressing trudge especially when soft, where as the back lanes are actually quite pleasant and don't take too long.

The pbw from Glossop to hollingworth lake has its failings. This is my alternative which in my opinion is far more engaging for that section of the pbw.