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Healaugh MTB

Healaugh Mountainbikeneering

Route Information

Stats: 10 miles and 1493ft of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

Ample in Reeth, including some great pubs. The Dales Bike Centre does brilliant grub and has a top draw bunkhouse that is better kitted out than most B&Bs. Nuff said…just get there and ride.

Character

Setting out from Healaugh this route climbs straight away – sorry Garry. The track is however good and allows you to gain height. The initial section does lack clear signage, so be careful.

Our description should keep you on track – we get lost so that you don’t have to! After the start the track crosses moorland on it’s way to a better stony track which eventually takes you to Surrender Bridge via some fast singletrack.

It’s then a case of a slog to the top of Great Pinseat before whizzing down the twisting lose track, taking advantage of the opportunities for air. A short piece of tarmac, then across the moor again, before a fast descent to Healaugh and the Dales Bike Centre.


Route

1. From Healaugh take the road towards Gunnerside for about 200 yards before turning up right on a small lane to Birk Park as you leave the village. Climb steeply until a gated driveway to the right, signed ‘private Road’ (just before crossing the small bridge). Take this bridleway, seen in the image below and climb steadily.

2. The bridleway soon enters the moorland by a walled meadow area, with a footpath going off to the left and the bridleway staying straight ahead. Be careful here to stick to the bridleway. A short walled section of meadow leads up to Novia Scotia farm before joining a better track which in turn leads to a rocky double track. Follow this, through a small gate which leads steeply down a ravine (fully ridable in dry conditions only), crossing the stream before shouldering the bike and climbing the steep steps (mountainbikeneering) which lead to the heather moor.

3. This is initially boggy in places but eventually opens to sweet rocky singletrack (image above) that speeds you along before crossing above old lead mine ruins and down to Surrender Bridge. By now Garry and I had both been over the bars; but this was down small bogs and misjudgement.

4. From Surrender Bridge climb the rocky track that takes you up Great Pinseat to the moonscape summit. Cross the summit and descend Reeth High Moor on the twisting rocky track, letting go of the brakes and holding the seat of your pants as you grab some air on the bumps and jumps.

5. Re-joining the Langthwaite road, turn left for a short distance before leaving the road onto the bridleway to the right. This track drops down to the stream, which is crossed before the track leads you across soft moorland and along a good track which eventually hardens under the wheels and speeds you back above Novia Scotia and onto the metalled road down to Healaugh.

This steepens sharply, twisting and turning before spitting you out in the village of Healaugh.
Now time for a pub at Reeth or the Dales Bike Centre for tea and medals and some crack about this great ride.

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Grinton Moor

Grinton Moor

Route Information

Stats: 12.4 miles

OS map:

Refreshments

Reeth has ample facilities for everyone. Nearby is the top-rated Grinton Youth Hostel, but for me you can’t beat the Dales Mountain Bike Centre. Excellent accommodation, advice, and they’ll fix your bike for you as well. Stuart has a wealth of knowledge of the area.

Character

This is one of those routes that you should do as a warm down, before you head off home, having stayed at Swaledale for a weekend of biking. It will leave you with a great big grin on your face, and remind you to come back again for more of the same. It’s only the distance that stops it being classed as a hard route.


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 Youth Hostel turn right onto the track, which soon crosses another road, and 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 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. Follow this, the ‘Apedale Road’ as it descends at speed, twisting and turning, and testing your braking modulation, all the way to a gate at ‘Dents House’ by some sheepfolds.
Southerners best Google these before setting off! They’re made of stone, very old, about a 1.7 metre in height, and they’re enclosures used for keeping sheep in. How’s that for a clue!

5. Turn left (north) and climb steadily past the line of shooting butts to old lead mining waste at the moor top (Height of Greets).

6. Pick a line through the rocky wasteland down to the the road, crossing it to the track on Cogden Moor, before finally re-joining the tarmac down to Grinton Youth Hostel.

You’ll now be warmed up for the day. Any sensible soul would have a bite to eat back at the Dales Mountain Bike Centre (down the hill you climbed at the start), before heading off for an afternoon ride.

If you’ve got a long drive ahead, then you’ll have finished off your trip with a real 3 star classic. All you now need to do is to plan the next trip.

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Grewelthorpe Loop

Grewelthorpe Loop

Route Information

Stats: 9.4 miles

OS map:

Refreshments

Grewelthorpe has an excellent pub, the Crown Inn, for a bite to eat and a pint after this ride. They also do bed and breakfast. If you’re staying long in the area, choose Masham, with excellent facilities all around, and keep this for an evening ride.

Character

This route is a superb winter night ride – so long as all the ice has cleared! The green lanes are safe and fast, and the climb up onto the moor opens up great night skies. Albeit short, it requires strength and stamina, hence the moderate rating. If done as a night ride then take a good set of lights. You’ll need at least 240 lumens as you head down from the moor. It’s a fast descent with lots of bumps. Make sure that you’re either an experienced night rider, or that you go along with somebody who is. Better still, take a helmet light and bar light of about 480 lumens, Check out the ‘Exposure’ light sets online.


Route

1. Cycle from the village pub, going up the hill to the left for about 150 yards to a junction. Turn right into the lane and follow this keeping left and heading out to Foulgate Farm.

2. At the farm head straight on and steeply down the rough track at speed as is twists and turns.

3. A sharp turn left at the bottom takes you through a ford (don’t fall here in winter!) and rises steeply immediately on leaving the water. Then begins a grind up the green lane for some distance before meeting tarmac.

4. Keep straight on at the road and head for the bridleway, joining the track across the moor as the road turns sharp left.

5. Continue the climb on the rocky track, through the gate and after about 1 mile a track to the right speeds you downhill with exhilaration.

6. As this track meets the road at Ilton, head straight on towards a junction right at Ilton Grange Farm.

7. Keep on straight ahead until the bridleway heads left at Blackhill House, taking you down and back to Foulgate Farm. Take the lane back to Grewelthorpe and refreshments at the Inn!
If you look at the elevation profile, you’ll notice that this is a 3 miles descent to finish. Just remind yourself of this as you do the initial climbs!

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Carperby Eight

Carperby Eight

Route Information

Stats: 22 miles, 2740 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments and Facilities

Nearby Aysgarth has the Dales National Park Centre, with toilets and a good cafe. The pub at Carpeby is excellent as well and saves a drive after the ride. Parking in Carpeby is easy, with some spaces by the bus stop and more spaces by the hall. If you take a flask and some butties, you can use Greenhaw Hut on the tops for a sheltered stop with a loo and a fireplace! How good is that.

Character

We wanted to put in a route that was ridable all year around on good shooting tracks and that also gave you guys some great climbs and descents. This is it – The Carpeby 8 loop, which is about the shape, not the distance. An epic climb onto the tops, with a hut to shelter and have a brew in, followed by ample points where you can exit and shorten the route if required.

This route has all of that and more. It can be turned into a short ride by exiting down to Cattle Bolton at the first opportunity, or it can be extended further, with a drop down to the Dales MTB Centre at Fremington before heading back over.

Either way, the tracks will remain in good condition all year, and you have the added bonus of Greenhaw Hut (left).

Your cycle climbing skills and fitness will be tested on this ride. There’s lots of climbing from the start. However, what goes up must come down means that there are some great fast descents. If you like, return back along the initial track

There you go – now ride and enjoy.


Route

1. From the village, cycle past the pub on your left and take the next turning left signed ‘Hargill Lane’ which will lead shortly to the track which is Peatmoor Lane. This climbs steeply from the start, twisting and turning on a good surface before opening up after a short while, with the open fells before you. Go through the gate and stay on the track heading upwards to the escarpment.

2. The track mixes between rocky gravel and mine debris as it circumnavigates Great Wegber, to areas of concrete put down to assist shooting parties. Due to the incline, this surface will be welcome as the gradient steepens. In wet weather water will tumble alongside you, escaping from the becks and old mine workings that fill the area.

Keep climbing on, through several ‘false summits’ until you will see a shooting lodge (Greenhaw Hut) ahead and to the right. The hut is usually open and a good spot to take a break and get the flask out. There’s even a fireplace and table and chairs.

3. Continue on the main track over and into Swaledale. Soon after leaving the hut the track descents at speed, allowing you to open up and ride through the turns before crossing Beldon Beck.

4. Rising and falling, the track crosses another beck before eventually coming to a ‘T’ junction – turn right and descend along this straight track through old mine workings. As the track turns sharply left, you will see a red coloured metal field gate and small walkers gate to the right which lead down to Castle Bolton. If you want to cut the ride short – turn through this gate. Otherwise keep on the main track as it turns left and heads into Swaledale and down to Dent’s Houses.

5. At the junction with the Apedale Road, cross straight over and climb on a good surface to Greets Hill and its strange moonscape vista (Grinto How Lead Mines). At Greets Hill continue on the bridleway as it descends through the tricky mining terrain to the Grinton Road.

6. Cycle along the tarmacked road until a signpost and shooting track to the left leads you out onto the moor once again. Take this and ride with ease to Grovebeck lead mines. The track turns and falls down to a track crossroads overlooking Swaledale. Turn right here and follow the track as it traverses the hillside, before climbing slightly towards Whitaside Moor and the Apedale Road.

7. Simply descend the Apedale road on a rocky surface that twists and turns. Opening up the bike, you will need to take care on some turns as loose rock can take the wheel away from you. As you reach the crossroads from earlier in the ride, continue straight ahead to the tarmacked road between Swaledale and Redmire. Descend to Castle Bolton, cycling straight through the village.

8. At the Castle itself, continue straight on, leaving the main road and follow the bridleway as it traverses meadows and drops before re-joining Peatmoor Lane, taking you back to Carpeby. Now – where’s that pub!


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Burtersett and Dodd Fell

Burtersett and Dodd Fell

Route Information

Stats 12.5 miles

OS Map:

Refreshments & Facilities

Lots of pubs and cafes in Hawes if you can elbow your way through the throngs of motorcyclists. Nothing en route except what you pack.

Character

This is an excellent evening ride or one for a slow afternoon. It climbs dramatically up the fellside above Wensleydale on good tracks. Strong pedalling is required. Having not ridden much recently, Norman showed me a clean pair of wheels as I plugged away at the back. The descent is believed by some to be one of the most technical in the Dales – if not the north of England – so beware; good handling skills are required. However, this is soon rewarded with one of the fastest descents anywhere. Keep away from the brakes and hold tight!

The track across the fellside from Burtersett requires good navigation skills, but it’s worth it. At the 2 ½ mile point of the ride, the bridleway splits into 2, although this split is unsigned and the track required – the left hand (southerly) track is initially indistinct. However, taking the wrong track leads to a wide detour across boggy moorland. You have been warned. A good choice of tracks soon shows a fine track across the moor which leads to the Cam Road.


Route

1. Head out of Hawes on the A684 going East towards Bainbridge. After a few minutes, turn R up a narrow lane to Burtersett. Bridleway at Burtersett begins at SD 890891. Dink right from the road (Slippery road sign) then head up to the left. (See image left)

2. Now start climbing. Through gate in wall, bridleway and footpath junction (split) SD 883876. Take bridleway, the right hand of the two tracks.

3. Bridleway splits at SD 882875. Head south on left hand bridleway (indistinct)

4. Join Cam Road at SD 881869. Turn right and head along the Roman road until you meet the tarmac road. Follow this for a few minutes then fork right onto the Cam Road again (See image below).

Take the R turn onto the Pennine Way.

5. Follow this and stay on the bike until you reach Hawes.


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Yorkshire Dales

Bishopdale

Bishopdale

Route Information

Stats: 11.2 miles,

OS map link:

Refreshments

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.

Character

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.


Route

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.

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Yorkshire Dales

Barden Moor

Barden Moor

Route Information

Stats: 23miles, 2585 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

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.

Character

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.


Route

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.

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Settle Loop mtb

Settle Loop

Route Information

Start Point: Settle Market Place

Stats: 18.5 miles

OS Map:

Refreshments

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.

Character

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!


Route

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!


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Yorkshire Dales

Barbondale mtb

BARBONDALE

Route Information

Stats: 10.5 miles, 1,800 ft of ascent

OS Map 

Refreshments

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?

Character

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.


Route

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.

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