click below for gpx file
click image below for gpx file
click image below for gpx file
Stats: 24 miles, 3250 feet of ascent
Lots in Sedbergh. Slightly more constrained choice in Ravenstonedale
Big, beefy climb followed by a rollicking descent down the much-rated singletrack of Bowderdale.
1. Head up Howgill Lane past the playing-fields and climb about a steady mile on tarmac to a prominent brow. (Your own brow will probably be quite prominent by now). Take the bridleway on your right.
2. Now start really climbing. Zigzag up steep pasture, passing just to the left of the tiny peak of Winder.
3. Follow the ridge up, up, and still more up, with just a brief respite of down before the last pull to The Calf.
4. Gallumph down steep ground heading ENE but swing left to avoid the perilous declivity of Cautley Spout, instead dropping sharply into Bowderdale to the N.
5. Follows the valley down on gnarly singletrack until you reach a small tarmac road.
6. Turn right, and then take the second right just before the A-road. Take the track alongside a copse to re-join tarmac. Zigzag across farmland to Ravenstonedale.
7. Gird yourself for the 2.5 mile tarmac climb to Adamthwaite.
8. Take the bridleway on the left skirting the fellside before the descent to the Narthwaite.
9. Follow bridleway down the western side of the Rawthey valley to Thursgill. Spin down to the A683 and roll back into Sedbergh.
Stats: 11.2 miles,
The George Inn at Thoralby is a superb example of a fine Dales pub and has an excellent menu and ales. Nearby Aysgarth has a National Parks visitor Centre, with restaurant to boot.
Just look at the final descent here guys. Four miles of steep eye watering speed. This is an excellent jaunt for this reason alone. However, the scenery is fantastic and the uphills are all steady. For me, this is one of those rides that you do after lunch, and then relax in the evening; or you keep it for a summer evening and end the ride with a drink at the pub. Either way, it’s a cracking little ride that will make any Dales trip worthwhile.
1. Turn left out of the car park and up the main village street. Opposite Gill Cottage, at the far end of the village is a bridleway to the right, which climbs steeply on good ground. A short twisting climb leads to a gate on the right and a bridleway junction, Take this bridleway to the right, climbing on a stony track north.
2. A field gate leads into a lush meadow where the track is indistinct. Facing straight ahead, from the gate, head towards the far right hand corner of the field. A small wooden gate then leads down a tricky slope, through a stream bed and a field gate onto a walled lane. The initial route along this track is a balance across a wooden sleeper bridge with a rail – take care. However, this is short lived and good ground then leads up steeply before sweeping down at speed to a track junction signed with a footpath left – do not go left. Instead turn right and follow the flowing track as it winds its way down to the road.
3. At the road turn left and head along this narrow lane all the way to the picturesque village of Thornton Rust. At Thornton Rust a car park sign points to the left opposite the village institute. Take this left hand turning and climb the bridleway, a stony track, over a small stream and on up the walled track as it winds its way uphill. It’s now 2 1/2 miles over the moors to Carpley Green.
4. Level ground is soon reached and you go through a field gate then a ford, before turning left at the end of the wall (on the left), now heading across Thornton Rust Moor towards Carpley Green.
A typical Dales Moorland ramble now ensures, rising and falling gently on a comfortably soft track, all the way to a small gate in a wall, passing a ‘permissive path’ sign on the way.
Do not take the permissive path to the right. Stay on the bridleway. Don’t stray off the path…there be demons!
5. The track flows through a couple of fields before descending to Carpley Green, with sweeping views all around. At the lane turn left, through the farmyard, joining Busk Lane (bridleway) as it rises majestically. This walled track is a masterpiece of Dales walled tracks and is guaranteed to wet your appetite for a follow up visit from the other direction. Fear not – our ‘heart of the Dales’ route descends this track. For now though, it’s back to the climbing.
6. After approximately 1 ¾ miles a bridleway sign on the left of the track points along the Stake Road towards Thoralby some 4 miles away – downhill! The initial track is difficult to pick out, but soon leads onto a easily followed track across limestone meadows which falls gently initially before picking up speed as Stake Road becomes Haw Lane.
7. However, please make sure that you stay on the higher bridleway and don’t be tempted to veer off to the lower bridleway through Skellicks Beck. This has recently been resurfaced with rocks as big as a football and will test your rock garden handling skills and probably cost you a set of new wheels – you have been warned. It will draw you down with the new limestone from above – ignore it.
8. Haw Lane on the other hand is a fantastic ride – one of the best – which allows you to release the brakes, get your body well balanced and descend at a rate of knots all the way back to Thoralby. Your eyes will water as the wind rushes by and you’ll have a descent to live in your memory for a very long time. Now all that is necessary is to head for The George and a pint and plan the route for tomorrow, descending Busk Lane.
Stats: 23miles, 2585 feet of ascent
There’s the obvious cafe at Bolton Abbey; a tea stop at Linton if required; but best by far would be the cafe at Storiths, just off the A59.
This is a ride that weaves its way around lower Wharfdale and the surrounding area, using roads where necessary to get to the best tracks. This route has some great descents – especially the one above Skyreholme down to Appletreewick – a hidden gem. The tracks across the moor are a mix of single and double, with a testing climb to get to the main plateau.
1. Ben R and I started this route by Barden Bridge, but the choice is all yours. From Barden Bridge take the road towards Appletreewick, turning right at the junction and climbing past the Skyreholme turn, all the way up towards the B6265.
2. As the climb evens out, a bridleway to the left through a farm gate leads along an easy track, past farm buildings to a gated narrow track. Follow this as it speeds up, descending rapidly as it twists and turns over rocks down to the Appletreewick road.
On meeting the road turn right, then right towards Hartlington a short way along, followed almost immediately by a left turn along the lane towards Hebden.
3. Just before the sharp bend right a bridleway sign in the field to the left signs you towards ‘Thorpe’ – take this route, exiting along the lane towards Linton.
4. Travel through Linton, taking the bridleway through a tree lined lane to the right as you exit the village. This track falls down towards the road, which is crossed onto the bridleway opposite.
5. Travel along this double track, eventually passing through a steel gate and travelling across a rougher track which takes you to the far left corner, down and across a stream, before taking a small gate onto a narrow grass lane to Cracoe.
6. Cross over the tarmac road and slightly left (opposite) is the bridleway to Rylstone and ‘Manor House’. This bridleway eventually steepens considerably, becoming rocky as you pass Rylstone Cross on the crag to the left, eventually evening out on the moor top.
7. Traverse the moor, dropping down at speed to the bridleway/ road junction signed on OS maps as ‘Halton Moor’, turning left for a short ride on tarmac before taking the bridleway to the right which crosses ‘Middle Hare Head’ before dropping at speed down through trees to Bolton Abbey.
8. Take the road back to Barden Tower and Barden Bridge, where a summer ice cream van awaits you.
Start Point: Settle Market Place
Stats: 18.5 miles
Ample in Settle, with a large public car park, lots of accommodation options, including Youth Hostel’s not too far away – and ‘The Naked Man Cafe’ for good grub – nuff said.
This is what Yorkshire Dales mountain biking is all about. Steep climbs, rocky trails, and fast descents to die for. This route forms part of a loop within the Pennine Bridleway, but is a superb outing on its own. It can be started at Settle – of course; but it can also be started from Malham, Malham Tarn, or as a excellent extension to Mastiles Lane from Kilnsey. Each of these options is a worthy choice, and you won’t be disappointed. I’ve done this loop on sunny days, in torrential rain, and with the signs of snow in the air, an each journey was fantastic. For me the best start for access to facilities is Settle. This small dales market town is full of great accommodation and facilities. I used to work at a nearby Youth Hostel, so have some cracking memories of the place. The descent back to Settle takes some beating for naturally technical trails, followed by epic speed. There’s even a bike shop in town to get yourself some new brake pads!
1. Park in the centre of Settle and head out past the market place, along Church Street, turning steeply left into Constitutional Hill. Follow this as it links round into ‘Highway’ and as the road bends to the left, a track on the right by a small woodland, signed ‘Langcliffe’ should be taken. Follow the stony track, with drystone walls either side as it leads onto the fellside.
2. The track splits below Blua Crags – yep, I said ‘Blua’ – so take the upper track towards trees (Clay Pits Plantation). It joins the road at a sharp corner and junction with the main loop. Catch your breath and trust me that this is the best way round the loop…honest!
3. As the road continues to climb and bends sharply to the left, continue straight on along the sign-posted track. The rocky track is excellent in all weathers, and climbs steadily before evening out and rolling across some superb limestone countryside. As is drops down on stony ground to join the tarmac at Langscar Gate, head straight over and join the bridleway opposite, which crosses Dean Moor and takes you down to Malham Tarn.
4. This rises gently before falling at speed, then crossing the damp meadow near the road. Go through the gate and turn left along the road, past Low Trenhouse on your right, turning right at the next junction signed Arncliffe. Next junction go right again, then immediately right onto the track which leads past a small nature reserve to Tarn House.
Take the track which loops around the tarn, and rejoin the lane at Street Gate, descending down the tarmac, as the lane twists and turns all the way to Malham village. The high drystone walls and tight bends can bring hidden dangers, so take care on the descent, and only ride as fast as you can see ahead.
5. Rest in Malham, where tea shops, Inns and the National Parks Centre provide ample refreshments and toilets. Then head out past the National Parks Centre, taking the next right, bridleway onto Long Lane. Four fields along on your left the track then bends sharply left, take this, climbing steeply (really steeply!) before joining the Cove Road above Malham Cove. Take the tarmac as is climbs further, then joining the bridleway to the left approx 100 metres up, which takes you back onto the Settle loop.
6. Now enjoy rolling countryside, before you encounter some steep descents on loose gravelly tracks, which twist and the fall over technical rocky limestone steps, all the way to Stockdale Lane (track). For me, this rocky descent is the best part of the route, and a tester in the wet. Keep your hand off the front brake and your backside over the rear wheel and simply enjoy it! This is what you’ve some here for after all.
7. As Stockdale Lane joins tarmac at High Hill Lane, turn right and ride down at speed back into Settle, along cobbled roads that define this wonderful market town.
Now get back to the Naked Man Cafe for some grub!
Click to download
Stats: 10.5 miles, 1,800 ft of ascent
Depending on season and time of day, there may be an ice-cream van at Devil’s Bridge but you’re not going to go hungry in 10½ miles, are you?
This ride is added to celebrate Natural England’s decision to extend the Yorkshire Dales National Park westward. It’s a short spin, eminently suitable for an evening ride, but could be extended further west to make a longer ride.
1. Park at Devil’s Bridge, the favoured stretching-spot for cramped motorcyclists, just outside Kirkby Lonsdale. Head east on the small lane that crosses the bridge (and must once have been the A65). At the top of a slight rise, turn left on a bridleway (marked Collier’s Lane) at the entrance to a caravan park. Follow this between the park and the golf course then, at the road, turn right on tarmac. Keep climbing, going straight over a couple of crossroads, heading towards Bullpot Farm.
2. At the farm, turn left down a well-signed bridleway. There’s been a bit of scramble bike damage so try not to add to it. There’s quite a rocky, technical descent into Barbondale – it forks near the bottom but both branches converge at the road. Turn right on the road, but only for a few metres before turning sharp left.
3. Barbondale is an idyllic picnic spot and there’ll likely be small children splashing in the beck. You can join in, as there’s a ford (there’s also a bridge for anyone keen to stay dry).
4. Follow the track down, staying on the true right of Barbon Beck. At a fork in the woods, keep left but don’t cross the stream. Too soon, the track emerges onto a swooping driveway so follow this down and to the left, near the small church.
5. Turn right at the road and then left at the Barbon Inn, following lanes back to Casterton. This allows you to return to Devil’s Bridge by the sunken bridleway you came up.
click below for gpx file