Gatescarth Pass copyright LDNPA

Gatescarth Pass

Changes to Gatescarth Permit Scheme 2017

We have been working with User Groups to improve administration of the Gatescarth Permit scheme. During 2017 we will release the dates you can apply for permits on, on a quarterly basis.  Dates for the next quarter will be released at the beginning of February, May, August and November.  This, it is hoped, will reduced the number of amendments made following an application for a permit.

Please could all applicants have the correct information including names, addresses and registration numbers of ALL permit users prior to applying, as we may refuse applications which do not hold the required information.

Many thanks for your help in making Gatescarth Permit Scheme run smoothly.

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, 4x4 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. 4x4 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. 4x4 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. 4x4 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.

Associated routes

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

We have been working with User Groups to improve administration of the Gatescarth Permit scheme. During 2017 we will release the dates you can apply for permits on, on a quarterly basis.  Dates for the next quarter will be released at the beginning of February, May, August and November.  This, it is hoped, will reduced the number of amendments made following an application for a permit.

Please could all applicants have the correct information including names, addresses and registration numbers of ALL permit users prior to applying, as we may refuse applications which do not hold the required information.

Many thanks for your help in making Gatescarth Permit Scheme run smoothly.

Horse riders and Off Road wheelchair users:

Download the: Gatescarth Pass Horse Riders/Off Road Wheelchair users permit application form

Email the filled-in version as an attachment to pmadminsouth@lakedistrict.gov.uk or by post to:

Lake District National Park Authority
Murley Moss
Oxenholme Road
Kendal LA9 7RL

Applicants MUST provide details of all permit holders - names, addresses and registration numbers.  We may refuse applications which do not have the correct information.

4x4 and Motorcyclists

4x4 drivers apply online here

Motorcycle riders apply online here

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 pmadminsouth@lakedistrict.gov.uk or write to:

Lake District National Park Authority
Murley Moss
Oxenholme Road
Kendal LA9 7RL