Abbeys and Climbs Bike Route


    One of the most superb and scenic bike rides anywhere in the UK, with a few testing climbs along the way

Route Information

Stats: 53 km and 650 metre of ascent

Map Link:

Refreshments & Where to Stay

Easingwold has everything that you need, as does historic Helmsley. Porters tea rooms in Helmsley serve the very best cake and coffee. Helmsley would be a superb holiday location, with its castle, nearby Reivaulx Abbey and so many great places to eat. The roads nearby are ideal for all cyclists too.

Larisa at Newburgh Priory along this route


Heading from the calm flat roads of Easingwold, the route soon climbs and takes in some tough hills, passing by historic abbeys and buildings along the way. Riding on mainly quiet roads, this is one of the best rides you’ll find anywhere in the UK.


  1. Head out of Easingwold towards Crayke. However, at the edge of Easingwold take the road left (Oulston Road) signed towards Oulston and Coxwold.
  2. Climb steeply as you approach the village of Oulston, then descending at speed, passing Newburgh Priory as the exhilarating descent eases off. At Coxwold turn right on the rolling climbs towards Ampleforth.
  3. On reaching Byland Abbey, continue towards Ampleforth passing through Wass village. Continue towards Ampleforth and once through the main part of the village, then take the junction left and climb (Beacon Bank) towards Sproxton. The climb is tough, but once you summit, the descent down through the woodland lined road is straight and fast and epic. Take care, as this is a fast descent.
  4. On reaching the T junction and busy road, turn left and head towards the A170 road junction. At the A170 turn right and ride to Helmsley, descending fast as you approach. Porters tea rooms are on the right just before the market place.
  5. Once refreshed, ride along the A170 for half a mile. As you leave Easingwold, a junction on the right is signed towards ‘Harome’, take this road. It’s a quitre road with tight and twisting descents, so take care as they can surprise you. Once through picturesque Harome, take the minor road on the right signed towards ‘Nunnington.’ After 1.5 km further,turn right towards Nunnington.
  6. Climb gently out of Nunnington and then steadily climb to Hovingham, the childhood home of the Duchess of Kent. Hovingham is a superb place to take a coffee and a few more pictures before continuing on, with sublime meadows and woodland views as you climb steeply towards Brandsby. In particlar, look out for the stone bridge in the meadow on the right,seemingly leading nowhere, but looking quite beautiful.
  7. Just before reaching Brandsby, the seemingly endless steep climbs ease off and you descend on a superb twisting road into Brandsby village. Once through Brandsby turn off right at the junction in trees and climb easily to Crayke village.
  8. At Crayke, once you reach the high point on the main village road, it bends left, but take the junction on the right signed to Easingwold. Only a few easy kilometres now before cake and coffee in Easingwold’s Georgian Market Place.

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Hambleton Hills Road Cycling

Hambleton Hills Road Cycling

Route Information

Stats:  24.5 miles and 3002 feet of ascent

OS Map:


Lots at Sutton Bank. You can also drop into Osmotherley for a cup of tea and cake, and a great selection of Ales at the Queen Catherine Inn.


This route rises and falls around the Hambleton Hills, with a cracking climb at the finish, ascending the famous twists of White Horse Bank. Prepare yourself and fit a useful cassette. Along the way it crosses through the National Cycle Route at Silton woods, so is best suited to a touring/ hybrid or cross-bike.


1. Start the route at the National Park Visitor Centre at Sutton Bank. Take a slight left onto the Cleveland Road towards Hawnby.

2. Turn right at Sneck Yate Bank and descend to the bridge, before tackling the steep climb to Hawnby. Twist right at the village before heading left and taking the road (route 65) towards Osmotherley.

3. The roads rolls and climbs, all the way to ‘Square Corner, where you turn left and follow the well made track on the left, up to Silton Woods, going through the gate on the right and descending the track towards Nether Silton. At the minor lane junction turn right towards Kepwick.

4. Climb to Kepwick village and turn right at the junction, ‘signed for Cowersby’. After 1 mile a junction left is taken to Cowersby.

5. Ride through Cowersby to Kirby Knowle, then on to Felixkirk. Minor junction just before Felixkirk – turn right. At Felixkirk, when the Carpenters Arms Public House is seen on the right, turn left into the minor lane, which in turn leads to Sutton Under Whitestonecliffe. This is a super pub, so you may want to explore it!

6. At Sutton under Whitestonecliffe turn left onto the A170. Ride with care, through the village and out, before taking the minor (almost hidden turning) on the right towards Kilburn (home of Mouseman furniture).

7. Once at Kilburn, pluck up courage and take the imposing climb of Whitehorse Bank that twists up 25% to the Hambleton ridge, levelling out by the gliding club. Take a breath and cycle along the lane to the A170 and the visitor centre once more.

Give yourself a pat on the back if you got up White Horse without walking!

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Dalby Road Cycling Loop

Dalby Forest Road Cycling

Route Information

Stats:  30 miles and 1918 feet of ascent

OS Map:


Dalby Forest visitor centre.


A chance to use the quiet forest roads, and the lanes that link super Yorkshire villages, to grab a great forestry road ride.


  1. Either begin at the visitor centre, or park at Atherstone and ride from there. Follow the gpx and map, and keep turning right …

It’s a great ride for visitors to the area, and those who simply want a break from the trail riding. And, there’s Scarborough nearby for fish and chips 🙂

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Ayton Epic

Ayton Epic Road Route

Route Information

Stats:  41 miles and 6160 feet of ascent

OS Map:


Great Ayton, Kildale, Castleton, Danby, Rosedale Abbey, Hutton-Le-Hole, Lion Inn, Kildale


This is a Steve Tilly route, so it’s going to be a blast. Hard riding along fantastic roads, with some great views on route; if you can make all the climbs, you’ll love the downs…

A tough, challenging ride with a lot of Cat 4 & Cat 3 climbs. There are opt-outs throughout the ride and plenty of refreshment options along the way too. Despite taking in a lot of typical North York Moors countryside, it does tend to follow the major population & tourist centres in the area and is often never that far away from the railway either.

Start and finish: at the small car park beside the Tourist Information Centre in Great Ayton (NZ563106). This is easy to find a spot in at most times other than sunny weekend afternoons. Arrive early enough and there’ll rarely be any trouble.


1. Begin the ride by heading out of Great Ayton towards the railway station, aptly called Station Road. After crossing the bridge over the railway by the station the road becomes Dikes Lane, the first Cat 4 climb of the day. This is pretty steady at first but at a sharp left by some cottages it becomes a mite steeper, negotiates a tight right and then eases off again. The climb ends at the cattle grid by a small car park (you could even start and end the ride here if Great Ayton is full).

The road beyond here is a little un-made. Pot holes and gravel abound, so it’s best to take it steady to avoid punctures. You’ll eventually cross another cattle grid and arrive at a gate. Go through and turn right for the climb over Pale End Plantation, a nasty, tough little climb that’s too short to gain a category but is nonetheless testing. Again, the descent down the other side is a little un-made, though not as bad as what has gone before. Follow the road and it eventually emerges at a T junction beside the excellent Glebe Cottage Tea Rooms in Kildale. Turn left here, unless you’ve already had enough in which case you can turn right to get to Kildale Station and take the train the 4 miles back to Great Ayton!

2. After turning left at Glebe Cottage you’ll hit the main road. Turn left onto it and head towards Commondale. This is a 4 1/2 mile stretch with a few tough little uncategorized climbs in it. The first is a gentle drag up to the Percy Cross crossroads, with Westerdale off to our right (we’ll be coming back from that direction later). After this you’re “rewarded” by a speedy little downhill section, but payback comes in the form of the climb back out the other side. A nasty little hairpin prevents you carrying as much speed as you’d like into the start of the hill and you have to drag yourself up the other side, the 90 degree right-hander at the top marking the end of it and the start of another reward. This one is longer and ends with a full-on plummet into Commondale village, but once again there’s payback (isn’t there always?) and just as before a tight left forces you to lose some speed just as you hit the climb back out.

3. Once you’ve dragged yourself up this hill there’s just a gentle incline left all the way to the cross roads at Three Howes Rigg. There’s a handily placed bus stop here if you want to take shelter and grab a drink or a bite to eat. Turn right at the crossroads and head to Castleton, a nice fast descent with just a little kick back up to the village centre at the end of it.

4. Turn left by The Castle Tea rooms (popular with cyclists and lovers of 1940’s music) and head towards Danby. At the crossroads in Danby go straight ahead (actually a slight right-left dog leg) to climb slightly and then descend again towards The Moors Centre and past its expansive and expensive car park (over £4 to park!). Continue on this road, under the railway through a tight little tunnel bridge, then turn sharp right just a little way on. The road here crosses a ford, but there’s a handily placed packhorse bridge if you don’t fancy risking it.

5. Turn left after the ford/bridge and head up past Danby Castle (visits by appointment only). You’re now in Little Fryup Dale and ahead of you lies New Way, a Cat 3 climb. It feels tough enough right from the start, there being a bit of a kick just by Danby Castle, but this levels off for a while and eventually you reach a road junction, you’ll want to take the right hand option. Now the climb starts in earnest. The steepest bit (the first mile) is Cat 4, after which it levels off a bit, but continues climbing for another 2 miles to get Cat 3 status overall. If you have the strength to do so, take in the views to your left of Great Fryup Dale, they’re stunning.

6. The climb eventually ends at a crossroads. How are you feeling? Sick of climbing? Fatigued? Up for a challenge? If you turn right here you’ll miss out 15 miles, the toughest climb of the day and a long, long, 7 1/2 mile uphill drag. Think about that if the wind is gale force from the North… Turn left and you get the usual – reward followed by punishment. The reward is a fabulous 4 mile descent into Rosedale Abbey where you’ll be cursing Sunday Drivers for keeping you below 30mph (two actually pulled over and let us by on our last excursion this way). Actually the rewards keep coming, as Rosedale Abbey is a charming little place with a number of decent refuelling stops. Our favourite is Graze On The Green, with its little outside garden area.

7. After having tea & scones, or maybe just having topped up your drinks bottles, continue on through the village a short way and then turn right. Immediately signs will let you know what is ahead (Chimney Bank, 1 in 3, Cat 3), with a list of things the road is unsuitable for (buses, lorries, caravans, but thankfully not bikes – though strangely the sign at the TOP of the hill says “Cyclists Dismount Now”). You begin by thinking “it’s not THAT bad, this”, but you’re not REALLY there yet. A second warning sign looms next to a tight bend. NOW you’re really there. The road rears up to its 1 in 3 and it’s a strong rider who can continue on up without leaving the saddle. In fact it’s a strong rider who can make it up at all. The 1 in 3 only lasts a hundred yards or so (get off and run, you’ll be back on the bike before anyone ahead turns round and sees you) and after that it’s only ooh, 1 in 4, 1 in 5 maybe. Child’s play.

8. At the top there’s another lovely downhill run, 30mph+ all the way with a favourable wind until eventually you end up in Hutton Le Hole. Turn right and begin the long, long 7 1/2 mile drag mentioned earlier. This is a Cat 3 for the full length, with two Cat 4’s tucked up inside it. Along the way you’ll pass The Lion Inn on Blakey Ridge, probably the most famous pub in this part of Yorkshire. When you reach that, you’re almost there, there’s only another mile and a half of climbing.

9. So, just under a mile and a half after The Lion Inn, watch for a turning on the right (signed Rosedale Abbey). That’s where you’d have come out if you’d decided not to go to Rosedale Abbey. Still happy with that decision? Good, press on, turn left, zip up your jersey and prepare to plummet down into Westerdale.

The descent into Westerdale is one of the craziest, full-on descents around here. It lasts for about 3 miles, initially you have to pedal to carry your speed but eventually it drops dramatically and only wind resistance stops you breaking the sound barrier. Get as aero as you can, or as you dare, and the whole 3 miles can be over in under 5 minutes. Just watch out for crazy sheep, and if you’re really unlucky, cars (seen dozens of the former, only one of the latter).

Be careful towards the bottom, there’s a cattle grid and you might not want to hit that at 45mph. Beyond that there’s the usual dangers of a small village (cars, tractors, cats) before the hill ends with a sharp, muddy, left hand turn into a ford. Be very careful, slow down well in advance, as soon as you reach the buildings really.

10. Beyond the ford (its usually dry) is another tough little Cat 4 climb – well, tough after you’ve already done this much climbing – followed by anoher mad dash down to Hob Hole. This is a local tourist attraction (picturesque river crossing with picnic area). The ford here is usually wet, sometimes in torrents and always lumpy under tyre. We always take the (inconveniently narrow and slippery) bridge.

After that, yet another climb – oh, this route just keeps on giving. This is actually the penultimate Cat 4 climb of the day, so the end is truly in sight.

11. Another descent followed by a thankfully short and easy climb brings us back out onto the Kildale-Commondale road that we were on 34 miles ago. Turn left and head back towards Kildale and when you get there, think about whether you can face one last Cat 4 or not. If you can, turn right to pass Glebe Cottage tea room once more and right again on to the road-cum-cyclo-cross track that we came down earlier and retrace your route. (To refresh your memory, this will go under the railway, do a couple of right handers with woods to your left, cross a cattle grid by a farm and then climb up into the woods. Go straight over at the top, down the other side and turn left to go through the gate. Follow the un-made tarmac road back to the top (don’t fret, it’s a very gentle climb) of the first Cat 4 we tackled all those long miles ago.)

12. If you weren’t up to that one last climb, keep straight on at Kildale, turn right at the next junction (towards Easby), pass through Easby and then turn right (towards Great Ayton). Then the most direct route to the start point is to turn right again (towards Little Ayton) and that road will take you straight back.

If you went the hilly way back, you can come down that Cat 4 that we started with, just watch out for a couple of tight bends and for cars & people, especially at the two pinch points between the cottages.

I hope you enjoyed the ride, Feel free to avail yourself of one of Great Ayton’s very many refreshment stops. Suggit’s Ice Cream parlour is a local legend.

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