Gatescarth Pass is one Greenlane that is most defiantly on everyone’s ‘To do’ list, a stunning lane that winds its way through some of the countries most beautiful scenery, in the east of the Lake District National Park. The greenlane runs from the north end of Mardale Head to the southern end at Sadgill in Longsleddale, north of Kendal.
It’s easy to see why its widely known as ‘One of the best’ featuring hairpin drops and some technical parts. This lane will require competent off-road driving skills along with an appropriately equipped vehicle, therefore not suited to everyone. There is no disputing that this lane is truly on of the all time greats which was almost lost due to storm Desmond in 2015.
Storm Desmond caused an estimated £10m of damage according to estimates by The National Park. GLASS and TRF pooled resources to repair Gatescarth, which is why it is still open today, although to access the lane with a 4×4, motorbike or horse you must apply for a permit.The Permit system has been been enforced for a number of years to protect the lane and now the ‘U5257 Gatescarth Pass permit’ system is being amended to allow more dates according to the following post on the Lake District National Park website:
Gatescarth Permit Scheme 2017
We are currently working with User Groups to look at ways to improve and amend the Permit Scheme system. This includes looking at what frequency we release the dates for permit booking, information required by permit holders and the potential to charge for administrative costs of the permit scheme.
On this basis you can apply for permits for January to March 2017. We will issue a further update in January with information on booking for additional dates in 2017.
The 2017 dates are:-
- Sunday 8 January 2017 – motorcycles only
- Saturday 4 February 2017 – motorcycles only
- Friday 3 March 2017 – motorcycles only
- Saturday 1 April 2017
- Sunday 7 May 2017
- Friday 2 June 2017
- Sunday 2 July 2017
- Saturday 5 August 2017
- Friday 1 September 2017
- Sunday 1 October 2017
- Saturday 4 November 2017
- Friday 1 December 2017 – motorcycles only
What you need to know before applying for a permit
A permit system applies to all motorcyclists, 4×4 drivers, horse riders and off road wheelchair users. The pass is open for vehicles one day a month. Please look at:
To reduce damage on the track traffic can only proceed North to South.
1. Use of Gatescarth Pass by motor vehicles is regulated by Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) in accordance with The Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. Contravention of a TRO is a motoring offence punishable by fine and / or penalty points.
2. Sections of Gatescarth Pass have a fragile and vulnerable surface that is very difficult to maintain. If use is to continue, riders and drivers have to use it with great respect and care. You must read the Driver and rider guidance before applying for a permit. It will be the responsibility of the applicant to ensure all the riders and drivers in his/her group read the Driver and rider guidance before the permit day.
3. 4×4 vehicles are not permitted from December to March inclusive each year. This is to safeguard the most vulnerable sections of the Pass from disturbance.
4. Mountain bikers can use the Pass at any time. However they will need to lift bikes over the locked gates.
5. Horse riders and off road wheelchair users can apply for a permit at any time. They can get the lock combination for the gates up until the next vehicle permit day.
6. Gatescarth Pass is open for one day per month to users of recreational motor vehicles who have been issued with an authorising permit by the Lake District National Park Authority (subject to conditions below). Permit days are the first Friday, Saturday or Sunday of each month. To reduce damage on the track traffic can only proceed North to South.
7. In the event of bad weather and ground conditions open days will be cancelled.
8. Decision to cancel will be based on the series of monthly inspections of route condition, previous weather conditions and weather forecasts. Information will be posted on this web page, by email, on the voicemail of Ranger Suzy Hankin on 01768 871409. However the ultimate responsibility to check if the permit is valid and the permit day is to go ahead lies with the permit holder.
9. The gate-lock combination number issued to permit holders will apply from 9 am to 4 pm on the permit day, and it is the permit holders responsibility to lock the gate behind them. All users should be off the route by 4 pm at the latest. Please remember the gate-lock combination number will be changed after 4pm.
10. 4×4 vehicles with a wheelbase of over 100 inch are not permitted to drive Gatescarth Pass. This is because of the damage caused by larger 4 x 4s. Please read the Driver and rider guidance for more detailed information. You will be refused access on the permit day if your vehicle does not meet these requirements.
11. It is each permit holder’s responsibility to prove and ensure that their vehicle falls within the wheelbase limits, that their vehicle is suitably equipped for the conditions to be encountered on the route, and that all persons listed on the permit know the Driver and rider guidance.
12. A maximum of 12 4 x 4s or quad bikes (in groups of two, three or four vehicles) will be permitted on any one permit day.
13. A maximum of 18 motorcycles (in groups of two, three four, five or six vehicles) will be allowed on each permit day.
14. For 4 x 4s and quad bikes the permit allows one pass of the route in one direction only – North to South.
15. Motorcyclists can return over the Pass if they wish and can start from either the North or the South side. Please be aware vehicles may be coming in the opposite direction; give way as necessary, particularly if they are ascending.
16. 4×4 users and quad bikes must be at the locked gate on the Mardale side no later than 1pm. Access will not be allowed after this time.
Since the enactment of the Natural Environment Rural Communities Act 2006 Katebarrow Lane at Garnett Bridge (off A6 north of Kendal, between Grid References. SD520998 and SD527993) is now closed to motor vehicles.
How to apply
Horse riders and Off Road wheelchair users:
Email the filled-in version as an attachment to [email protected] or by post to:
Lake District National Park Authority
Kendal LA9 7RL
4×4 and Motorcyclists
Please note: The permit holder must ensure that all drivers and riders named on the permit have read and understood the Driver and rider guidance.
21. Individual applicants will normally be issued only one permit in any calendar year. If demand is low and not all permits or numbers are filled, this could be increased.
22. Once you apply for a permit your application will be assessed and you will be notified when it has been approved.
After you’ve received your permit and before you visit Gatescarth Pass
23. On the Thursday before a permit day permit holders must phone the Lake District National Park Authority on 01539 724555 to be given the combination code for the gate locks. The codes will apply from 9 am to 4 pm on the permit days. Permit holders will be permitted to lock and unlock the gates themselves. Our staff will continue to carry out patrols. Permit holders must not share lock codes with others nor invite other users to join their permitted groups.
24. This system has been developed and agreed by the Gatescarth Pass Working Group. It consists of National Park Authority staff and representatives from motorcycle and 4 x 4 groups, Cumbria Bridleways Society and Friends of the Lake District. Any changes to this system will be recommended by the Group. Contravention of a TRO is a motoring offence punishable by fine and / or penalty points.
For more information
Contact Victoria Senior, telephone 01539 792646, email [email protected] or write to:
Lake District National Park Authority
Kendal LA9 7RL