Gatescarth Pass copyright LDNPA

Gatescarth Pass

Dates for 2024

  • Saturday 13 January: motorcycles only
  • Sunday 04 February: motorcycles only
  • Friday 01 March: motorcycles only
  • Saturday 06 April
  • Sunday 05 May
  • Friday 07 June
  • Saturday 06 July
  • Sunday 04 August
  • Friday 06 September
  • Saturday 05 October
  • Sunday 03 November
  • Friday 06 December: motorcycles only

What's new...

  • There will always be three permit dates live on the website at any one time.
  • Dates for the next permit day will go live at the end of each month. This will hopefully reduce the number of amendments made following an application for a permit.
  • All applicants must have the correct information including names, addresses and registration numbers of ALL permit users prior to applying.
  • We will refuse applications that do not submit the required information.

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

How you can help...

Running the permit scheme comes at a cost, both in administration, volunteer time to marshal the event, checking of the route following permit days and ongoing maintenance costs, which can often be considerable. If you feel you would like to make a one-off donation to help support us in running the scheme and maintaining this route for others to enjoy in the future, please click on the link below.

Everything really does help. Thank you.

Donate to help maintain Gatescarth Pass

What you need to know before applying for a permit

The permit system applies to all motorcyclists, 4x4 drivers, horseriders and off road wheelchair users. The pass is open for vehicles one day a month. Please look at:

4x4’s and motorcycles…

  • 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.
  • Gatescarth Pass is open one day per month to users of recreational motor vehicles issued with an authorising permit by the Lake District National Park Authority (subject to conditions outlined). Permit days are the first Friday, Saturday or Sunday of each month.
  • To reduce damage on the track 4x4's can only proceed North to South.
  • For 4x4s and quad bikes the permit allows one pass of the route in one direction only - North to South.
  • 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.
  • A maximum of 12 4x4s or quad bikes (in groups of two, three or four vehicles) will be permitted on any one permit day.
  • A maximum of 18 motorcycles (in groups of two, three four, five or six vehicles) will be allowed on each permit day.
  • Users are not allowed to use the Pass as a single user, they must be part of a group of at least 2 motorcycles or 2 4x4s.
  • 4x4 vehicles are not permitted from December-March inclusive each year to safeguard the most vulnerable sections of the Pass from disturbance.
  • Sections of Gatescarth Pass have a fragile and vulnerable surface that is very difficult to maintain. If use is to continue, riders and drivers must 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/drivers in his/her group read the Driver and Rider Guidance before the permit day.
  • 4x4 vehicles with a wheelbase of 100 inch+ are not permitted to drive the Pass  because of damage caused by larger 4 x 4s.  Please read Driver and Rider Guidance for information. You will be refused access on permit day if your vehicle does not meet these requirements.
  • 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.
  • In the event of bad weather and poor ground conditions, permit days will be cancelled. Any 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 and/or sent by email to permit holders. The ultimate responsibility to check if the permit is valid and the permit day is to go ahead, lies with the permit holder.
  • The gate-lock combination number issued to permit holders will apply from 9am to 4pm on the permit day. It is the permit holder’s responsibility to lock the gate behind them. All users should be off the route by 4pm at the latest.  The gate-lock combination number will be changed after 4pm.
  • 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.

Horseriders and off-road wheelchair users

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. Please send an email with your details to:  

Mountain Bikers

Mountain bikers can use the Pass at any time. They can access the Pass using the kissing gates adjacent to the locked gates, or by lifting the bike over the locked gate on the South side (Brownhowe Bottom).

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

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

Details of what information we hold and why can be found in our Privacy Notice or upon request.

Gatescarth Pass copyright LDNPA

Use the button here to access the Gatescarth Pass 4x4  application form.

Apply for a 4x4 permit
Gatescarth Pass copyright LDNPA

Use the button here to access the Gatescarth Pass motorcycle  application form.

Apply for a motorcycle permit

Important: The permit holder must ensure that all drivers and riders named on the permit have read and understood the Driver and rider guidance.

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. Once you apply for a permit your application will be assessed and you will be notified when it has been approved.

What to do once you have received your permit

On the Thursday before a permit day permit holders must phone the Lake District National Park Authority Contact Centre on 01539 724555 to be given the combination code for the gate locks, if you have any problems contacting the Contact Centre please ring Suzy Hankin on 07799 075114 .

The codes will apply from 9am to 4pm 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.

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

Lake District National Park Authority
Northern Office
Old Station Yard
Keswick  CA12 4TT