Whitaside Moor

Whitaside Moor

Route Information

Stats: 17 miles with 2492 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

You’re on your own here guys. Carry it and have some tea and cake at the Dales Bike Centre afterwards.

Character

This route winds its way across Swaledale, keeping height where necessary, and losing it where it’s fun to do so. It brings in some singletrack that is sweet and secret, due to poor navigation by many people. Starting and finishing at Grinton Lodge, it allows you the opportunity to cycle from the door if you stay over at this great Youth Hostel. Yep, they sell alcohol!

Route

1. From the Youth Hostel take the bridleway directly opposite the gate that crosses between the two tarmac roads. Crossing the road, the track continues across grass, twisting its way to a narrow gate. Descend this technical singletrack with care, before crossing the stream and doing some bike hike up the other side. Please email me if you clean this section! Nope, not you Nick (Craig)! It’s pitched at that level, not for mere mortals.

2. Now cross the moor on some sweet singletrack (see image top left), At the first track junction continue straight on, skirting the edge of the wall and riding the excellent but rocky singletrack until it joins the wider track, descending right down to the road at Maiden Castle. You will go through a gate near the top of the wide field gate; after approximately 40 yards take the singletrack off to the left on the bend in the track. It is this that descends to a gate in the fence by the road.

3. Turn left onto the road and cycle along until the bridleway leads you back onto the moor (see picture top right). Cycle up the excellent double track until it turns left, still climbing on loose rock. Halfway along this section an unsigned bridleway leads you off to the right, crossing a small gulley before the track continues through a gap in the wall, leading to heather clad singletrack once more. A further wall gap then takes you across three grassy meadows before you reach High lane (see picture bottom right).

4. Turn left at the road, cycling along until you reach the cattle grid. A waterfall crosses under the road at Bank Top. Take the bridleway to the right which falls down across the rocky path beside the stream, before going through the gate (bottom right). This narrow grassy lane twists and turns, leading you right and left onto the steep grassy slopes that fires you down to Low Houses, spitting you out on the lane to Crackpot.

5. Ride through Crackpot to Summer Lodge, taking the rocky track that climbs back up to Long Road. Turn left and cycle along to the bridleway just before the rickety stone garage on the right. Now climb this excellent doubletrack, passing the track junction to the left, before turning off left 1.4km up the climb. This technical track, initially indistinct and passing shooting butts, soon develops into sublime singletrack that flows down to the shooting track.

6. The track rolls along, twisting and turning, passing a large wooden shooting lodge, before a steep climb right. Stay on the right hand track. A final fast descent will water your eyes if you’re brave enough to stay away from the brakes, before crossing a track junction and twisting right to a stream which is crossed by a gate. Take the gated track and cycle back to the road, turning left, before the initial bridleway is re-joined, leading you back to Grinton Lodge.




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Whernside Loop

Whernside Loop

Route Information

Stats: 28 miles, 4,100 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshment

The reason I’ve suggested that you start this route from the Main Street, rather than the car park, is so that you can have a butty or beans on toast ‘Bernie’s’ cafe before you start. It’ll set you up well for what’s to come. Ingleton does have other cafe’s and pubs, and a very good Youth Hostel – still open! Along the route Dent has a wealth of small hostelries, many brewing their own ale – worth a trip for this alone. There’s also a couple of good cafes in the village. If you base yourself in the Ingleton area, you will definitely enjoy some great cycling – both mtb and road.

Character

Let’s hear it for Whernside – the dumpy one, forever overlooked as the eye is drawn to the shapelier eminences of Ingleborough and Pen-y-Ghent. This ride describes a loop around the Cinderella hill, taking in some beautiful Dales scenery and a good variety of under-tyre surfaces. It has climbs to test all riders, and descents to live in the memory for weeks. Just look at the swooping green bridleway opposite, that leads you into picturesque Dent – just mind the sheep as you whizz past them!


Route

1. Start at Ingleton, with plenty of opportunities for last-minute carb-loading. Head west over a succession of bridges then turn right into Thornton Lane at the Marton Arms. Climb on tarmac with increasingly impressive views, over your shoulder, to the Bowland Fells and the sea. Ingleborough rules all on your right. The road soon levels out and glides into Kingsdale, with its prominent footbridge.

2. Go over the bridge – extra points if you can ride off it – double points if you can ride onto it. An easy path skirts Twistleton Scar End, but look out for two wooden posts marking a sharp left turn back on yourself. Zig-Zag pleasantly on grass up to Scales Moor, an elevated chequerboard of peaty turf and limestone pavement. Look out for, and don’t fall into, the Devil’s Sphincter.

Then see if you can pass the perched boulder without taking the obligatory picture of Ingleborough. Damn those attention-seeking hills. Before long, the trail starts to lose a little height but keep to a broadly contouring line, heading to the farmhouse of Ellerbeck.

3. Follow a string of farms on the same contour until a dink right at a packhorse bridge sends you down to the railway line and the lonely outpost of Blea Moor signal box. The “lonely” here is ironic because, whereas you probably found Scales Moor deserted, the next mile will be in the company of a million Three Peaks pilgrims flogging their way up Whernside. All of them will be amazed to see a bike scrabbling up the rocky staircase and eager to see what you can do without dabbing. No pressure, then.

4. Where the hordes turn left, we thankfully head straight on to the atmospheric ruin at ‘Boot of the Wold’. If you found the climb a bit of a dry gasp, the unfolding vista of Dentdale will soon have you salivating – a rocky trail plummeting into a scene of unsurpassed bucolic loveliness, topped by the smoky haze of Lakeland.

Let the bike find its pace but watch out for a couple of tricky rain gutters and a skittery hairpin at the bottom. Then swoop down lanes to Dent, quite possibly refuelling at the Stone Close cafe. Take on calories – you’ll need them for Flinter Gill.

5. The climb begins benignly enough. From Stone Close, cross the main street and head up the lane past the ‘Shop on the Green’. Then it gets steep, rubbly and, as likely as not, damp. A perfect blend of power and poise will be needed to get you up without sending all the stones rattling into the gill. Extra points if you can ride under the arching tree root.

Emerging from the woods with bursting lungs, turn left on the terrace path. Unfortunately the motorbike and Land Rover brigades have chewed this up, so what looks on the map to be a gentle cruise turns into a bit of a tussle. Even after a dry spell, some of the puddles are deep enough to sustain colonies of crocodiles.

6. Where the surface improves, it swings left and then right to join the Kingsdale road. Turn right to swoop down on tarmac and through a couple of gates.

7. At a slight dip with a stand of trees on the right overlooking a limestone ravine, turn right through a gate. There’s no way marker – just an “open access” sign on the gate. The slope features an unsympathetic combination of bunched contours, tussocks and thistles but if you head straight up to around 430 m (above the trees), you find a good track contouring left and then dropping a little.

8. Pass the rushing waters of Jingling Pot and keep south on the Turbary Road until a house at the bottom of a rattly descent marks a turn left onto Tow Scar Lane. All that remains is a fast descent on tarmac to spin the mud off your tyres. Hopefully, not all of it will end up on your face – but a grin will.




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Wensleydale Wanderer

Wensleydale Wanderer

Route Information

Stats: 15 miles and 1318 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

Ample village pubs in the area to choose from, together with the nearby cafe at the National Park Visitor Centre at Aysgarth down the road.
On the way back, stop off at Castle Bolton for tea and cake.

Character
The fact that we did this route in winds of between 30 and 40 mph on the fells, on a early January day should convince all of you that this is indeed a route for all seasons. It traverses the hills of splendid Wensleydale, peaking over into Swaledale, before an epic descent of Peatmoor Lane.

This and the ‘Carpeby *’ route would make an excellent trip north for anyone. Two huts along the route provide excellent halts for a butty and flask (you’ll have to carry I’m afraid). The tracks are a mix of sandy grit, rock and meadowland.


Route

1. Park at the far end of Preston Under Scar, then climbing up the road between Pasture Wood and Condenser Wood. At the cross roads, go straight over and onto the well surfaced double track that leads up and onto the high moorland meadows and escarpment. Albeit climbing, this is a steady gradient which allows you time to relax and enjoy the views, as you roll along.

2. Join the tarmac above Hargill Lane, turning right and uphill towards the Apedale Road some 400 yards ahead and to the left. Cycle onto the Apedale Road and then roll down, heading towards the hut at the track junction, then turning left and climbing back towards Wensleydale.

3. This track climbs and then rolls down before climbing again to the Greenhaw shooting Hut above Wensleydale – toilets at the back and some tables and chairs make this a great spot to stop and rest. Then the real fun begins, on a fast and twisting rocky descent – speed is your friend here – all the way down via Peatmoor Lane towards Thoralby. However…do not descent all the way! At the bridleway junction left, take this track (BW) and cycle across good moorland meadows towards Castle Bolton, finally speeding down to the Castle for tea and cake.

4. Follow East Lane, crossing the tarmac at Sissy Bank and back to Preston Under Scar.




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Swaledale Valley and Pinseat

Swaledale Valley and Pinseat

Route Information

Stats: 23 miles and 3080 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

All you need at the Dales Bike Centre, plus nearby Reeth. Grinton Lodge Youth Hostel is also nearby. Around the route you could pop in for a brew at Gunnerside where there’s a good cafe.

Character

A route with good climbs on road and trail and an great descent on the hard but loose tracks down Pinseat. Flowing tracks along the river make this a great and steady day out and a super intro to riding Swaledale.


Route

1. Head out of the centre and turn right towards Grinton. Go over the bridge and as the road bends to the left, take the junction ahead, climbing the steep tarmac road all the way to the top, to open country and Grinton Youth Hostel

2. At the fork in the road take the right fork signed Redmire, then head onto the moor through a gate, keeping on the main bridleway that heads due west, across Harkerside Moor.

This rises and drops, and twists and turns on loose gravel, giving a lovely ride, with fantastic views over the valley towards Reeth.

3. Keep on this main track all the way to a large track junction, near lead mines at Whitaside Moor. Keep left, turning uphill towards ‘Morley’s Folly’ (OS map).

4. At the junction of tracks at the ‘Apedale Road’, turn right and descend the track to the road, turning right onto the road for a short distance. A farm on the left of the road has a BW and rocky stream running down beside it. Turn off left and descend this excellent track beside the winding wall and into the steep meadow to the valley bottom. Where it goes through a gate into the lane, turn left and follow the track / lane to the bridge, going over the river and turning right into Low Row.

5. Climb steadily for a short distance before a forked track off to the left and behind (by old sheds/ garages) takes you up and over to High Smarber where walls and meadows lead you to the heather clad steep moorland singletrack (tricky navigation initially, but improves significantly). Follow the singletrack for 1 mile, then linking in to a well -made moorland track which leads up to the old mine workings at Moor House. Turn right at the track junction and descend to the next track junction where a right turn will take you down at speed on loose gravel to Surrender Bridge.

6. Turn right at the bridge, where a short and testing ascent of the road towards Low Row, is rewarded with a fast and steep descent, so take care and modulate your brakes to keep the speed safe. Once at Low Row, re-cross the Swale at the Bridge and turn left now onto the same bridleway as before, this time staying alongside the river as the bridleway rolls steadily, joins tarmac for a short period at Low Witha, before taking you back down to the river on an excellent bridleway down to Stubbin Farm (OS Map) and along mixed ground all the way to the bridge at Grinton.

7. Finish back at the Dales Bike Centre for a brew and cake.




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The Three Dales – Malham Litton and Ribblesdale

The Three Dales MTB Route

Route Information

Stats: 24 miles (hard route) with 2500 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

Limited at Arncliffe. Even the Falcon Inn PH has limited opening times; however, the landlord is a top guy and will make you a brew if you get caught out in a storm – as Taff and I found out! Nearby Litton has the Queens Arms, an award winning pub with a wider choice of opening times and fare on offer. Parking available at Arncliffe village in Littondale. Please park sensibly and consider local people. This is a small village

A great halfway halt is the Craven Heifer at Stainforth. It’s just as good now as it was 25 years ago when I worked at the nearby Youth Hostel (now closed). We had a map up of a 1/4 mile walk titled ‘The Craven Heifer Way’ – very popular with student field trips!

For a excellent choice head for Kettlewell, which would be a good base for a weekend riding trip.

Character

This route has its ups and downs – literally. Steep climbs on limestone meadows, rocky descents where ‘speed is your friend’ if well controlled, with the odd rolling section thrown in on the Pennine Bridleway. A steep road climb out of Stainforth is kept to the tarmac to make things easier,


Route

1. From Arncliffe head along the narrow walled lane back towards Kilnsey direction. At Arncliffe Cote take the bridleway signed on the right, through the farmyard towards the wooden 5 bar gate ahead. Climb the rocky track, passing through gates before the track wends its way right and left up the hillside.

2. Keeping the deep ravine to the left continue to climb the track that cuts through the steep meadow. The well-marked track eventually runs alongside a drystone wall (to your left) before twisting and climbing steeply left to the moor top. After crossing through a wall the descent begins, with the escarpment and trees surrounding Malham Tarn seen in the distance. Bending left the track becomes damp before exiting at Street Gate and Malham Tarn.

3. Follow the tarmac road with the Tarn to your right until a parking area is seen on the right. Shortly after this a bridleway on the left in the fence is taken. This crosses muddy ground intially before climbing on a good limestone meadow, exiting via a gap in the wall to the western side Malham Cove road.

4. Cross the road and take the Pennine Bridleway to Langcliffe. This well maintained track rolls along steadily before descending a rocky section of track to trees and the steep Langcliffe road at Cowside (OS Map).

5. Turn right and climb the steep bank for approximately 1 mile to the BW signed down to Stainforth. Ignore the first Pennine BW sign to Stainforth at 1/2 mile, as the descent is less interesting and the extra climb is worthwhile. This excellent rocky track twists significantly at the bottom and care is required on the loose surface. With good awareness and skill however, it’s an excellent descent.
Time for the Craven Heifer Pub!

6. Once refreshed head up the tarmac road that climbs steeply from Stainforth – Silverdale Road. Pass the junction right at 1 mile, ignoring this and continuing straight ahead. This testing tarmac continues for 4 miles with Pen Y Ghent for company to the left before descending to the bridleway on the right at Dawson Close (OS Map).

7. Take this bridleway, passing through gates and rolling along, passing over the Gill that drops sharply to your left, following which the track finally begins to descend. Passing through a gate the rocky track is walled in and enjoyed before a further gate causes the brakes to be engaged. Pass through this gate and continue downhill unimpeded to Litton, taking care not to get too carried away – in an air ambulance!

8. Take the walled track to the Littondale road and turn right, passing through Litton village on route back to Arncliffe.

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The Cam Road

The Cam Road

Route Information

Stats: 22 miles with 2629 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

Ample in Hawes. Good little tea shop in Bainbridge.

Character

This is a hard route. From the moment that you take to the saddle, the road climbs steeply, leading onto a further 3 1/2 mile climb along the Cam Road. Even the descent into Hawes from Cam Houses takes some technical skill and will test your fitness – it’s an all in fast and rocky descent. You are well rewarded though, as the route eventually takes you back to Bainbridge with a mega fast racing straight descent – all you have to do is enjoy! A top draw route for the real mtber.


Route

1. From the village green, head up the lane signed towards Semer Water, twisting up and out of the village on the narrow road. This climbs steadily on tarmac for approximately 1/2 mile, then joining the bridleway (Cam Road) ahead – signed to the Beggarmans Road. Looking ahead, this track seems as straight as they come, with an expansive view of the long climb ahead for approximately 3 1/2 miles until it begins to level out.

2. As the track continues to climb, at a halfway point is crosses High Lane, the tarmac road between Semer Water and Burtersett. Be aware of this on the descent, as you will be travelling fast.

3. The rocky track continues to climb , eventually twisting you to the top, taking a wooden gate on its route to the moor summit. As it evens out the rocks continue, meaning this route is rideable all year, if a little slippy when wet.

4. At the junction of the tarmac lane (Beggarmans Road) which rises from Gayle down to the right, continue ahead and slightly upwards on tarmac,heading towards Cam Houses, being wary that you will turn off after 1/2 mile – or end up in Kettlewell by mistake!

5. As the road now bends away to the left, signed Kettlewell, a junction ahead, with pull in area and a gated poorly metalled road should be taken. This is signed to Cam Houses and climbs steadily for 1/2 mile before gently dropping you down with views across towards Pen Y Ghent.

6. After 2 1/4 miles (from when you entered this Roman Road) a wooden BW signpost indicates a track down to your right, The Pennine Way – take this and head towards Hawes. This excellent track rolls up and down for 2 miles before a track junction signs the Pennine Way off to your right. Do not take this – the easier route – do stay on this rocky and now steeply descending track as it takes you down left and over technical rock drops and a boulder field, before allowing the brave to open up the brakes and speed on down on the graveley surface where good control is a necessity.

7. After slowing for the gate, this descent continues, inducing a wide grin, all the way to the junction with the B6255 road to Hawes. Now race down on tarmac and have a brew in Hawes.

8. After refreshments and tales of this epic rocky descent, climb the tarmac to Gayle, leading through and upwards as the Beggarmans Road leaves you breathless. Struggle to the scenic top, attempting to enjoy the view, and eventually re-joining the Cam Road BW to your left as you summit.

9. This track now provides the real reason for the route, climbing gently for 1/2 mile, with a level trek across the moor top for a further 3/4 mile before it spits you down the fast and straight descent to Bainbridge for a further 3 1/2 miles! Yes…3 1/2 miles – just be wary of the tarmac road that crosses at halfway.
Now home in time for tea and medals – or a pint in the pub at Bainbridge.




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Swaledale Twist and Shout

Swaledale Twist and Shout

Route Information

Stats: 15 miles with 1810 feet of ascent (steep!)

OS Map:

Refreshments

Leyburn – the cafes, bakers and pubs are many. Andy’s on the Market Place is a reasonably priced bakery.

Character

This is a hard route from the word go. The tracks are great but tricky in places with technical twists. They will shake, rattle and roll you through Swaledale. The superb section of singletrack will make you twist and shout. If you’re on your own – be aware that this has tricky sections with sneaky drops. If riding in a pair or group – lead rider ‘enjoy’ as there are a number of surprises along route. The steep climbs will test us all but the views and descents are awesome.


Route

1. From Leyburn head up and towards Grinton, parking in the small area near the bridge and army ranges (1/2 mile from the crossroads).

2. Turn left onto the road, and then almost immediately left again through the 5 bar gate and onto the track through moorland. Take the first track on the right and climb steadily, passing a shooting box on the way, before the well-made track moves into sweet singletrack and up to the gated wall.

3. Once through the gate, descend on the twisting singletrack, passing a small hillock (bomb crater style) as you tackle the tricky descent through heather and ferns. This is where a good leader will shout the obstacles to friends … or enemies (maybe not!). There is lots of scope for an ‘off’ through this section. It is however one of the best sections of technical singletrack anywhere in England.

4. The singletrack eventually merges into good double track, joining the bridleway downhill to the old lead mining buildings and flue at Cogden Moor. Take a breather here before continuing on and joining the road at Grinton Bank, then turning off left shortly afterwards onto a singletrack bridleway that rises and falls, with a tricky climb out of a gully before crossing another road.

5. Singletrack merges to double track, then down to the fording Grinton Gill stream, climbing steadily out to a junction of tracks. Take the track ahead which climbs ‘High Harker Hill’ (OS Maps), then dropping and rolling along the valley with some neat little sections to keep you on your toes.

6. The excellent track then climbs steeply, with expansive views to the left along Swaledale. Just below ‘Kendell Bottom’ (OS Map) a bridleway to the left is seen by a small pile of stones just off the track. This is extremely tricky in ascent (but delightful the other way); continue along the track instead, keeping off the moor and making an easier journey to the Apedale track junction. However, be aware of shooting parties and respect their position and land. Staying on the track will ensure that the moorland birds are also not unnecessarily disturbed.

7. This double track soon meets a T junction where we turn left and climb on the loose surface to the summit of the Apedale Road, passing old mine workings and scree debris on route. At Apedale Head the track begins its descent. This is fast, loose, tricky and twisty and care should be taking. Do not over brake. Instead, modulate your brakes and keep a good line, making the most of this classic descent track

8. Stay on the Apedale Road, joining the highway and turning right for a short distance towards Redmire. Then take the track approximately 1/2 mile down on the left, over Thorney Bank Hill (OS Maps). Once again, please be respectful of landowners and shooting parties, who allow this track to be used in the Dales. At old building on your left, take the track off to the left, climbing Cobscar Mill, with a pond seen to your right. At the next junction of many tracks, do not turn immediately left, but do take the second track from the left, almost straight on and up the hill.

9. Climb steadily to a further track junction by a memorial cairn, taking the right hand fork which eventually leads back to the road and the car with a steady descent. Time then for a brew!




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Swaledale Mixed MTB

Swaledale Mixed Family Ride

Route Information

Stats: 10 miles on easy BWs and country lanes. Minimal climbing and descending

OS Map:

Refreshments

We’ve based this ride at the Dales Cycle Centre, Fremington near Reeth. Stu and Brenda have created something really special here, with a shop & workshop, cycle hire, cafe and top quality bunkhouse. It has absolutely everything you require.

Character

We wanted to throw in an easy opportunity for the younger kids to ride a section of the Tour de France and also enjoy some of Swaledale’s great tracks. This way they can make a choice in terms of where they think their cycling lies.

An easy BW alongside the river rolls along before climbing up to the narrow lane below moorland. Sweeping through the valley with some gently falling hills you’ll join another BW alongside the river before exiting at Crackpot, crossing the bridge and heading back to Reeth on the route of the 2014 Tour de France.


Route

1. Head out of the Dales Cycle Centre turning right towards Grinton Bank. Cross the junction by the sharp left hand bend with care, and cycle along Grinton Bank for 100 yards before turning right into the narrow lane above the river.

2. As this lane turns steeply up to the left a BW ahead in the wall leads down to the river on a good rocky track. Rising and falling alongside the river, this excellent BW provides a safe and scenic ride, eventually crossing a wide meadow before climbing on a grassed track up to the road.

3. At the road turn right and enjoy the twisting and rolling ride, passing the bridge near Low Whita before re-joining a wide BW off to the right. This excellent rocky track is protected by walls and hedges, skirts the river before tarmac is reached once more, leading you onto the road junction and bridge on the opposite side to Low Row. Cross the bridge and turn right at Low Row.

4. Now simply follow this road – the route of the 2014 Grand Depart – all the way to Reeth, before dropping steeply and twisting along to Fremington and the Dales Cycle Centre – Easy. Now it’s time for some cake.




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Studley Royal Deer Park

Studley Royal Deer Park

Route Information

Park at the National Trust visitor Centre, off the Studley Road between Ripon and Pateley Bridge. There are super facilities here: a cafe, toilets, exhibition and shop.

Stats:  3.4 miles

OS map: no os map

Refreshments

Once the family have had a good cycle, share a bite to eat at the cafe and then take a walk into Fountains Abbey and the Water Garden. Ripon has a good bike shop, Moonglu on Blossomgate.

Character

Here’s one for the younger members of the family; an easy ride from the Fountain’s Abbey visitor’s centre, through the deer park and back again for Brymor ice cream – the best anywhere. If they are feeling more adventurous, then it can be extended.


Route

1. Head out of the car park, crossing the access road and cycling along the bridleway / path signed for St. Mary’s church. It drops and twists initially, giving the kids a bit of fun to start the ride with.

2. Follow this safe and easy track all the way to the gate on the right, which leads into the deer park. Once through the gate, the church is on the left, whilst to the right, a path drops down across a meadow steeply before evening out. This is followed downhill to the deer park car park area (toilets here).

3. At the car park, take the access road uphill to the junction, and turn right, then almost immediately left, onto a small access road. This is followed for a short distance until a small bridge is seen down on the right by trees. Follow the path down and across the bridge, turning immediately right once over the bridge and taking a gentle and short climb.

4. As the climb eases of a junction of paths is met. Go straight down and through the trees at speed, as the path dips and turns to the right before falling down to the main access road by the deer park gate.

5. Take the access road back up through the deer park, all the way to the small gate that you entered through earlier. Turn left once through the gate and head back to the car park and ice cream.




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