Riding the Route of the Settle to Carlisle Railway
A ride of discovery – with Presca Sportswear
One of the most famous rail journeys in the U.K., the Settle Carlisle road cycling route takes you from the historic Yorkshire Dales market town of Settle, all the way through the magnificent Dales National Park, to historic Carlisle and its wealth of Roman and medieval history.
Along the way, you’ll see some of the most magnificent viaducts in the country, and stop off for tea and cake (and cheese you choose) in Hawes, the market town at the head of Wensleydale. We’ve developed this ride with our partners at Presca Sportswear to help you to discover rides that have less impact on our countryside. Once you arrive at Carlisle, you can simply catch the train back to Settle; and, there’s ample railway stations along the way, if you choose to ride short sections without having to drive here.
Distance & Climbing: 137 km & 1,6868 metres
Refreshments & Accommodation: Both Settle and Carlisle have a wealth of great places to stay. Check out our link to places at Booking.com (on this page). Hawes and Appleby have excellent choices for food and snacks along the ride too.
Route Character: It’s a long day in the saddle, unless you break the journey.If you do, then Hawes is an excellent spot, with a Youth Hostel and good hotels. There’s a long climb into the hills, on a reasonable country road to Ribblehead, then rolling roads to Hawes, before things get easier and more descents become the order of the day.
Image: Beau Smith, Voom Nutrition
1. Head from the Mrket town of Settle on the road to Giggleswick, before taking the minor and very quiet lane signed to ‘Stackhouse’ and ‘Little Stainforth’.
2. Cross the small packhorse bridge near Stainforth Falls waterfall and follow the winding road to the main B6479 road – turn left and follow this to Harton in Ribblesdale, where you’ll see the first of the famous ‘3 Peaks’ hills – Pen-Y-Ghent, standing sublime to your right.
3. Continue climbing to the magnificent viaduct at Ribblehead.
4. From Ribblehead the road gets bleak, as you climb and roll towards Wensleydale and the market town of Hawes. There’s so much to see here, and some of you will want to rest overnight and enjoy the area.
5. Leave Hawes on the A684 road towards Sedbergh. On reaching Garsdale Head and the viaduct, turn off onto the A6259 towards Kirkby Stephen. The high hills to your right are where the infant river Ure is formed, as rain falls onto the mossy ground and falls down to the valley.
6. From Kirkby Stephen take the road towards Appleby in Westmoreland, before riding under the A66 main road and riding to Brampton and Milburn. The roads climb and roll just a little bit less now, as you ride on to Langwathby, in the land of red sandstone.
7. From Langwathby go a short distance on the A686,before turning off right onto the B6412 road though the Eden Valley and towards Lazenby.
8.Quiet roads now lead to to the border town of Carlisle and its historic train station.