Bucken to Semer Water

Route Information

Stats: 23 miles, 3257 feet of ascent

OS Map:


There is a pub and Buckden, just beside the National Park car park, where you’ll also find toilets. The best pub for me though is in nearby Kettlewell – The Racehorses – ample cafes in the area. If you break halfway at Bainbridge, and there’s also good places to grab a bite.


I don’t know if you’d noticed, but it rains a lot in the UK. This ride was planned as a great year round trip, with tracks that’s stay good when the air is slightly damp…and when it’s lashing down, as it was when I rode it last week! Excellent climbs and great descents, twisting their way across the Dales, this ride will leave you with big grins all round. If you’re brave, let it all go as you descend back down to Kidstones on the route home, and you’ll get a flavour of real Dales mtbing – rocky, fast, and fun!


1. From the National Park car park head through the wooden gate and BW that signs you to Buckden Pike. This climbs easily at first, before steepening up. The track is good old fashioned limestone rocky, so will be dry. At a point where this track turns up right, a further BW leads off slightly left/ ahead. This skirts across the escarpment, looking out towards the road at Kidstones, which is where we’re heading.

2. After crossing some softer meadow grass, enter the road and turn right for about 400 yards before a further Byway is seen to the left by a large open area and gates. This is Kidstones. Go through the gate and head up the track, as it weaves its way steeply across rocky ground to the moor top and Stake Allotments. Keep in mind that albeit steep, you’ll be whizzing down this track in a few hours.

3. As you reach the top and the track evens out, a wooden BW/ Byway sign indicates the junction of tracks. Ensure that you take the left hand Byway signed to Stalling Busk. This twists and turns down on a loose rocky track before straightening out and taking you at speed alongside the valley, with some great lines to pick and enjoy.

4. As Stalling Busk and Semer Water come into view a turning to the left indicates a track down to the village. This looks innocuous enough, but as it twists right further down it becomes technical and great fun – take this track for maximim route enjoyment! It will eventually spit you out onto the road with a grin on your face. Turn right and cycle along the road, heading over the bridge of Semer Water, Water. At the give way line and T junction turn right then immediately left, climbing Crag Side Road until a BW is seen to the left on a bend in the road. This crosses soft ground as it climbs steadily to the Cam High Road.

5. On reaching the Cam Road turn right and whizz downhill all the way to Bainbridge, taking care as the Cam Road is crossed by High Lane (to Burtersett). At Bainbridge take a break if you want to. The Corn Mill tea room is very nice and you can sit happily in all your grime. Now suitably refreshed, head out on the A684 as it climbs steadily towards Leyburn for 1/4 mile. A junction is signed on the right ‘Semer Water & Stalling Busk’ – take this road. After approximately 3/4 mile a junction leads off to the left towards Carpeby Green and the Stake Road – take this. Initially tarmac, it eventually leads you through gates climbing on the BW of the Stake Road. This route climbs steadily on a good rocky surface, twisting its way back up to the top of the Moor. Ignore the tracks and BWs off the left as you climb, instead staying on this wide track until you reach the track junction again, where you turned down to Stalling Busk on the out route. Now stay straight ahead, with Kidstones as your return venue.

6. The track back down to Kidstones gives you the opportunity again to open things up and speed across rocks and skid around the corners as you negotiate your line back down. Once you reach the tarmac, turn right and locate the BW further down on the left that takes you back to Buckden again.
Now head to Kettlewell and grub at The Racehorses. 🙂

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