Cleator Moor & Ennerdale Bridge

Alternative First Night

Ideal stop-over places for those arriving later in the day at Whitehaven or St Bees. You can dip your wheels in the sea at Whitehaven (5 miles) or St Bees (7 miles) then have a gentle ride to acclimatise for those bigger challenges facing you over the next few days. This also gets around possible accommodation log-jams in Whitehaven or St Bees (or Workington, for that matter).

Ennerdale Bridge, a lovely rural village with two pubs, is about a mile to the east of the route at Kirkland (you can head straight there out of Cleator Moor or simply turn right at Kirkland). Cleator Moor, meanwhile, boasts a good Indian and Chinese restaurant plus lots of takeways and a fine budget cafe.

Ennerdale village spans the River Ehen and is close to Ennerdale Water, the most westerly of the lakes (and the most remote – it is the only lake which has no road running alongside). Here lies one of the largest forests in Cumbria in the Ennerdale Valley, with more than 20 miles of forest road plus a tangle of footpaths open to the public. The village is only a short hop from the C2C (also known as the West Cumbria Cyclepath). Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk travels through Cleator before reaching Ennerdale village, so the village is a popular stopping off point on the route.

Forged in the red heat of old technology, Cleator Moor is a creation of the Industrial Revolution. The era’s insatiable need for more coal, limestone and iron ore meant that the village became a town, which developed rapidly in the 19th century. As did the villages around it: Frizington, Rowrah, Keekle, Bigrigg produced the raw materials for iron works in Cleator Moor and Workington. To service this hive of industrial activity there was also an intricate network of railways, known as the Cleator & Workington junction railway.

The town’s nickname was ‘Little Ireland’, owing to the influx of workers from across the water. World War I and World War II saw a fresh influx of migrant workers from the ravages of mainland Europe and in 1938 Jakob Spreiregen founded the company Kangol in Cleator, situated across the road from St Mary’s Church. The original factory building still stands though manufacturing has since transferred to the Kangol factory in China.