C2C - Route 71

Route Section: Start Point > Keswick

From Start: 16km (10m)

From Finish: 192km (120m) Tynemouth | 200km (125m) Sunderland


Keswick: 19km (12m)

Penrith: 54km (34m)


Into Cockermouth

  • You pass through Great Broughton with a few short hilly intimations of what is to come.

  • Continue through Papcastle and downhill towards Cockermouth making sure not to miss the Route 71 C2C sign at the next junction, where the path goes traffic free where you cross the A5086.

  • Turn right and cross the river, passing the wonderful Jennings mural near The Trout hotel.

  • Here you can go left (into town) or right to carry on to Keswick. This is signposted and bypasses one of the most handsome towns on the route.


Out of Cockermouth

Starting in August 2018 the Forestry Commission is carrying out a 6 month project to thin out the trees around Wythop Woods, so this charming route will not be back in commission until 2019.

  • There are 2 ways out of Cockermouth. Firstly Route 71, the C2C official route, now slightly amended to sidestep Wythop Woods.

  • If bypassing the town centre simply follow signs for the route (see above).

  • If not, then once you have visited the town and its fascinating brewery, you join the cycle path on the river just over the sandstone bridge before Jennings Brewery.

  • Take the footbridge over the river and follow the cycle path as far as the B5292 then take this, the Lorton Rd.

  • Follow the Lorton Road until it merges with the other branch of the C2C coming from Whitehaven. You will cycle over Whinlatter and down into Thornthwaite.

  • Take care: the descent from Whinlatter is steep in places, especially if you opt for the road rather than the off-road alternative.

The alternative route via Bassenthwaite

  • Head out of Cockermouth following the high street past the brewery, following Route 10 (Reivers Route) signs.

  • After 3km the route does a dogleg, heading right then left, before skirting Over Water.

  • At the cross roads near Over Water you should now follow Regional Route 38 signs bringing you past the southern shore of the lake down through Bassenthwaite village, Millbeck and Applethwaite before you reach Keswick.

About Cockermouth

This is one of the most attractive towns in the northwest and is one of only two places in the Lake District to be designated a 'Gem Town' by the Department of the Environment 40 years ago. That means it is protected and will, in essence, remain the same in perpetuity.

It is just outside the boundary of the Lake District National Park and perhaps for this reason is not inundated with tourists. Cockermouth is at the confluence of two great salmon rivers: the Cocker (which flows out of lakes Buttermere, Crummock and Loweswater) and the Derwent, which flows into the Irish Sea at Workington after flowing through lakes Derwent and Bassenthwaite.

The town got its market charter in 1221, and has retained its importance over the centuries. Later there was quarrying and mining for lead and iron outside the town, and a brewery at the foot of the castle mound, where the two rivers meet.

Whitehaven Cyclists

It has long fascinated writers, poets and artists and is the birthplace of William and Dorothy Wordsworth. One of the finest buildings here is Wordsworth House, the Lakeland poet's family home, which is now in the care of the National Trust. The architectural guru Sir Nikolaus Pevsner, in his 'Buildings of England', described the place as 'quite a swagger house for such a town'.

Built in 1745 it was bought in 1761 by Sir James Lowther, son of Sir John, who built Whitehaven and its port. John Wordsworth, the poet's father, moved to Cockermouth as agent to Sir James in 1764, and in 1766 married and moved into the house. Here four sons and a daughter were born. Their mother died when William was eight, and he went to live with relations in Penrith. The house thrived as a private residence until 1937, when it was put on the market.

Since it was in a prime location in the centre of town, bosses of the local bus company snapped it up as the natural spot for a bus depot. They applied for - and got - planning permission to bulldoze it, but there was such a national outcry that funds were raised for the town to buy it back and hand it over to the National Trust.

The old kitchen and the housekeeper's room now serve as a café/restaurant where you can get morning coffee, light lunches and afternoon tea.

Two other famous men were born in Eaglesfield, a mile from the town's centre: Fletcher Christian, the man who led the mutiny on the Bounty was born in 1764, and attended the same school as Wordsworth; then in 1766 came John Dalton, a brilliant scientist and originator of atomic theory.

Cockermouth Castle was built in the 13th century, but not much of it remains thanks to Robert the Bruce and his marauding Scots. Most of the remaining ruins are from a later period, between 1360 and 1370.

Places of Interest

Jennings Brewery Cumbria's most famous brewers offer fascinating 1½ hour tours explaining the processes involved in brewing traditional beer. 0845 1297185,

The Bitter End, 15 Kirkgate The first pub in Cumbria with its own working brewery - 'Cumbria's Smallest Brewery'. 01900 828993

Castlegate House Contemporary art exhibitions.  01900 822149

Tourist Information Centre, 4 Old Kings Arms Lane, Cockermouth CA13 9LS 01900 822634

Where to Eat and Drink

Beatfords CountryRestaurant, 7 Lowther Went. Popular tearoom. Good simple food. 01900 827099

Tarantalla 22 Main St, Cockermouth, Cumbria CA13 9LQ. Bustling, high quality Italian. 01900 822109

The Bitter End Brew Pub, 15 Kirkgate. Excellent value, great beer and great food. 01900 828993

Quince & Medlar, 13 Castlegate. One of the best vegetarian restaurants in Britain, featured in the Good Food Guide. Wood panelling, soft candle light, next to the castle. 01900 823579

Norham Coffee House & Restaurant, 73 Main St 01900 824330

Carlins Bistro Bar, Allerdale Hotel, 18-20 Market Place. 01900 823654

Lee's Chinese Takeaway and Fish & Chips, 47 Main St. Expert fish friers. 01900 827770

The Spice Club, 25 Main St. Upmarket Indian cuisine for reasonable prices. Underwent major renovations. 01900 828288

Where To Sleep


Run by: Rachel Habgood

Georgian home with comfortable beds, excellent breakfasts, local amenities, tea-trays and drying facilities plus bike lock-up. Short walk to the local bike shop and town centre where there are excellent pubs and restaurants. Free wifi and use of lounge. Breakfast vegetarian and continental options available.

Pubs: lots of choice nearby.

Dist from route: right on C2C & Reivers.

Pk lunch: £5.

B&B: £32-£35.

Rooms: 2T, 1S.

address : 12 Market St, Cockermouth, Cumbria, CA13 9NU

telephone : 01900 827504


Embleton Spa Hotel

Run by: Alastair Dixon

Pretty much bang on the route between Cockermouth and Keswick, this is a great location close to Bassenthwaite Lake and in the middle of the Fells. The bar is open all day so if you just fancy a pit stop it's a grand spot to admire the scenery. The food is excellent and the menu is entirely gluten-free. Also ideal for groups up to 40, offering en-suite double rooms and apartment-style suites for up to 8 adults. You can unwind in the pool after a day in the saddle and eat in the bar or bistro. Great seasonal local ingredients imaginatively cooked by an experienced kitchen. Hot tubs and views of Skiddaw, Sale Fell and Ling Fell. Ideal for back-up teams wishing to chill out.

meal : 6-9. 3-courses between £20-£30. FOOD GLUTEN FREE.


Lunch : 12-2.30.

Rooms : 12. 6D (2 of which are apartments); 1F (1D+2S); 2F apartments (1D+2S+kitchen) plus 2 apartments which each sleep 5 and a 3-bed apartment which sleeps 8.

B&B : £50-£60pppn.

address : Embleton, Near Cockermouth, CA13 9XU

telephone : 017687 76606