Proposed permanent road closure in the Lake District puts cyclists in danger

View of section of Lake District road which is being threatened with closure on sunny day
The road in the Lake District is being threatened with complete closure
A section of the National Cycle Network in the Lake District is being threatened with complete closure, putting cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders in danger
  • Charity Cycling UK urges cyclists, ramblers and horse riders to oppose impulsive proposals which would permanently close part of the National Cycle Network in the Lake District
  • ​Perennial closure will continue to put vulnerable road users at risk
  • Quiet road has been closed since 2021 with no sign of reopening

The proposed Traffic Regulation Order will prohibit all traffic from travelling along the National Cycle Network route 6, which passes along the western shore of Thirlmere lake.

The only alternative is a busy route along the A591, a narrow section of major road, hemmed in by walls with fast-flowing traffic and heavy goods vehicles.

Charity Cycling UK, along with other groups, is submitting formal objections and calling on people to oppose the proposals before the consultation closes on 15 September 2023.

Sarah McMonagle, director of external affairs at Cycling UK, says: “Expecting vulnerable road users to divert to a busy and dangerous road is completely unacceptable.

“Following discussions with United Utilities, Cumberland Council is considering a permanent closure, when they should be exploring practical steps to re-open the road to non-motorised use. It’s unclear what, if any, consideration has been given to the safety of cyclists if they must use the alternative A591 route. The council needs to consider the risks they are creating by failing to manage the risk of falling rocks on an otherwise safe and beautiful route.”

The route was initially closed in 2018 after the ‘Beast from the East’ (Anticyclone Harmut) and Storm Emma brought heavy winds and snow to the north-west of England. Contractors worked to repair the damage and the road was re-opened, but in November 2021, Storm Arwen destroyed 1,500 more trees, resulting in another temporary road closure due to fallen trees and disturbed rocks on the crags above.

Temporary closures usually have a maximum time limit of 18 months, with some exceptions. However, since then road users have been forced to use the only alternative route, which is an unsafe diversion for cyclists, walkers and horse riders.

A freedom of information request to the council revealed that it still doesn’t have any predicted date for repair and reopening of the route, and a recent letter to local residents states that “further assessments are scheduled to gather more information relating to the condition of the hazardous area”.

Cycling UK is calling for people to object to the permanent closure to ensure that both locals and visitors are no longer denied the right to pass through this quiet and scenic route in the heart of the Lake District.


Notes to editors

  1. Cycling UK, the UK’s cycling charity, imagines a world where the streets are free of congestion and the air is clean to breathe, where parents encourage their children to cycle to school and everyone shares the exhilaration of being in the saddle. For more than 140 years, we’ve been making our streets safer, opening up new traffic free routes and inspiring more people to cycle more often.
  2. ​Traffic Regulation Order – Formal Objection.

Press contact information

For more information, please contact the national Cycling UK press office. If you would like to speak to a member of the press office during working hours (0900-1700) please call Joanne Clark on 07917 243925 or email Out of hours, call 07584 271 300.