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The Yorkshire Dales Cycleway – a wild and rugged adventure

faoch (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The Yorkshire Dales Cycleway – a wild and rugged adventure

Bike Touring Collection by Amy

7

Tours

16:39 h

147 mi

12,550 ft

Dry-stone wall-lined lanes, sweeping moors, gushing waterfalls, sleepy farms, and limestone cliffs – there is no place quite like Yorkshire.

This Collection guides you through this magnificent region along the Yorkshire Dales Cycleway. Ending and finishing in Skipton, this circular route will take you to some of the best spots in the Dales in seven stages.

Ranging in length from 16.2 miles (26.2 km) to 26.2 miles (42.3 km), each stage is suitable for most levels of riders. However, riding in Yorkshire is tough. You will climb 12,762 feet (3,890 metres) in total, with up to 2,657 feet (810 metres) elevation gain in one day. If summiting hills comes naturally to you, you can easily combine the routes to challenge yourself further. Alternatively, some of the stages can be enjoyed as individual day rides; stages 2, 3 and 5 end close to a train station.

As the Yorkshire Cycleway follows along rural lanes almost the whole way, any bike is suitable, even your roadie. Just make sure it has low enough gearing to handle the hills, and pack light.

You will find many eateries en route to keep you fuelled for the hills. The Yorkshire Cycleway will take you to the home of Wensleydale cheese, as well as plenty of friendly pubs where you can tuck into a Sunday roast with a Yorkshire pudding. If you get thirsty, you can stop for a pint at the Tan Hill Inn. At 1,732 feet (528 metres) above sea level, it’s Britain’s highest pub.

A national park since 1954, the Yorkshire Dales has extraordinary natural beauty. You will explore wild and rugged landscapes such as open heather moorland and limestone cliffs via a network of quiet lanes that are ideal for cycling. The area has become a cycling-mecca in the UK and even hosts an annual road race the Tour de Yorkshire at the beginning of May.

Summer is the best season to explore Yorkshire’s magnificent countryside. Although you can cycle the route all year-round, riding from June to August increases your chance of avoiding the rain.

People from Yorkshire are proud of their county, and rightly so. Over the centuries, locals have rebelled multiple times against non-Yorkshire and Northern rulers, from the Norman era to the Wars of the Roses and beyond. You will ride through some of this history as you visit ruined abbeys, medieval castles and historic villages.

The circular route starts and ends in Skipton, a friendly town with the Dales on its doorstep. A popular base for exploring the area, Skipton has a wide range of accommodation, as well as cafes, restaurants, pubs and independent shops. With direct rail connections with Leeds, Bradford and Carlisle, you can reach the town by train.

For more information about visiting Yorkshire, visit: yorkshire.com
For train tickets and timetables, visit: thetrainline.com/stations/skipton

On The Map

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Yorkshire Dales Cycleway

126 mi

10,000 ft

10,000 ft

Last updated: December 22, 2021

Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Stage 1: Skipton to Kirkby Malham – Yorkshire Dales Cycleway

    Difficult
    02:17
    21.1 mi
    9.2 mph
    1,750 ft
    1,500 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    From misty moorland to desolate towers and magnificent castles to magical hills, the first stage of the Yorkshire Dales Cycleway is an awesome introduction to this stunning part of the world. Today you will ride 21.2 miles (34 km) from Skipton to Kirby Malham, through the heart of the dales.

    

    The Yorkshire

    by Amy

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  • Difficult
    02:04
    16.3 mi
    7.9 mph
    1,500 ft
    1,625 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    Stage 2 guides you over undulating lanes deeper into the spectacular Dales. Today you will discover more of the region’s geological wonders and industrial heritage as you ride 16.3 miles (26.3 km) from Kirkby Malham to Settle.

    

    From Kirkby Malham, continue along Wharfedale to Malham, an ancient settlement

    by Amy

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  • Difficult
    02:59
    26.3 mi
    8.8 mph
    2,450 ft
    2,450 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Today you will ride 26.2 miles (42.3 km) through lonely dales, visiting fascinating caves and gushing waterfalls along the way. With 2,427 feet (740 metres) of elevation gain, stage three will definitely wake up your legs.

    

    From Settle, the route follows gentle hills through peaceful countryside to Clapham

    by Amy

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  • Difficult
    02:21
    21.9 mi
    9.3 mph
    1,600 ft
    1,350 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    From impressive railway viaducts to Yorkshire’s famous cheese, stage 4 will reveal more of this county’s charm. Today you will ride 22 miles (35 km) from Dent to Askrigg.

    

    From Dent, head uphill through Dentdale, following the river Dee. This is a tough but rewarding climb with gorgeous views over rolling

    by Amy

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  • Difficult
    02:34
    21.1 mi
    8.2 mph
    2,425 ft
    2,625 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    Stage 5 is another wonderful ride through the Dales from Askrigg to Redmire. Today you have two big hills and will climb 2,657 feet (810 metres) in elevation gain over the day.

    

    From Askrigg, you will power up to 1,624 feet (495 metres) over Cross Top. With up to 15% gradient at times, this will get your

    by Amy

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  • Difficult
    02:05
    18.5 mi
    8.9 mph
    1,800 ft
    1,625 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Your penultimate day of adventure brings you more chocolate-box villages, stunning landscapes, and challenging climbs. Today you will ride 18.6 miles (30 km) from Redmire to Kettlewell.

    

    From Redmire, follow winding country lanes to Wensley, a historic village home to a Grade I listed 13th-century church

    by Amy

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  • Intermediate
    02:18
    21.4 mi
    9.3 mph
    1,075 ft
    1,225 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Your final day of adventure along the Yorkshire Dales Cycleway takes you 21.7 miles (35 km) from Kettlewell to Embsay. You can relax your legs today, with only 1,082 feet (330 metres) of elevation gain.

    

    On stage 7, you will never be far from water: the route follows the River Wharfe as it flows Wharfedale

    by Amy

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    7
  • Distance
    147 mi
  • Duration
    16:39 h
  • Elevation
    12,550 ft

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