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4
moderate to challenging
Activities
  • Self guided cycling
Accommodation
  • Hotel
  • Inn
  • Guesthouse
Meals
  • 8 Breakfasts

9 Days£1170GBP

Overview

Trip Code: WYD

Yorkshire Dales Cycling Trip highlights


  • A classic circular ride of the inspiring Yorkshire Dales
  • Take in the characters of different valleys, such as Wharfedale, Swaledale, Coverdale and Wensleydale
  • Some challenging climbs and some extraordinary views
  • Beautiful and historical villages and small stone-built towns
  • Great pubs and perhaps the best beer in the UK
  • Friendly accommodations
  • Includes good quality bike hire for 7 days

The iconic Yorkshire Dales National Park has extraordinary natural beauty derived from the ice and rain sculptured limestone. It has over thousands of years been fashioned into a range of shallow and deep 'Dales', gorges, rocky pavements, waterfalls and gushing rivers, caves and woodland glades. On this cycling holiday you'll pass farms and fields lined with miles of dry-stone walls. But there's a lot more such as the ribbed ruins of abbeys and medieval castles. And pastures glowing with multi-shades of green, sitting below wilder lands of heather and sedge, home of red grouse and deer.

This Yorkshire Dales cycling trip follows a circuit of rides along a network of normally quiet lanes that are ideal for cycling. Each stage is suitable for most levels of riders, however cycling in Yorkshire is hilly and there are some long steep ascents where you may want to walk your bike. You will climb in total approx 4000m/13,100 feet, with up to 900m/2,969 feet elevation gain in one day. The cycling distances are fairly short, in fact you may be in the saddle only 3-4 hours per day. This gives you plenty of time to recover from climbs, visit the beautiful villages, castles and churches and, potentially, to lock up your bikes and walk to features such as waterfalls, rivers or museums. You will find many eateries en-route to keep you fuelled including the home of Wensleydale Cheese, as well as plenty of friendly pubs!

Countries:

England

Starting Point:

Skipton

Finishing Point:

Skipton


Make your own way to Skiption. Picture perfect, without a stone out of place, in 2016 Skipton was voted the best place to live in England for the second time, in a poll by the Sunday Times. Literally meaning 'sheep-town,' the Norman Skipton Castle was started building here in 1090 being strengthened in the 13th century against the Scots. It is now one of the most complete and best preserved medieval castles in England and worth a visit if you have time. The town also has one of the oldest mills in North Yorkshire: High Corn Mill (1310) is powered by the waters of Eller Beck. From medieval times, Skipton became a prosperous market town, trading sheep and woollen goods and in the 19th century, it became a small mill town connected to the major cities by the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. Today, tourism is the main draw aided by its historic architecture and proximity to the Yorkshire Dales and great walking and cycling possibilities. Accommodation: Situated just a 5 minutes' stroll along the canal path to the centre of the town, this small hotel-restaurant offers calm, comfortable and pleasant bright rooms with spaces to relax.

Meals:  Nil

Pick up your bike in the morning. Introducing the moors, hills, rivers and dales of Yorkshire, the cycle ride gets underway from Skipton. Start with a long hill-climb up to 300m/984 feet before descending to the babbling beauty of the River Wharfe and into Wharfedale. You pass charming Appletreewick, essentially a medieval village with gorgeous stone cottages reflecting the limestone nature of the surrounding geology. Some of the buildings have been there since the 12th century. Perhaps pause at the beautiful ivy-covered pub with a long trestle table terrace. Then continue cycling along the river as it flows through Burnsall, a dramatic village with an imposing stone bridge, as well as a Grammar School built in 1601. Have a riverside break here before ascending Elberton Hill, the last major climb before a gentle downhill into the village of Aiton, where you join the valley of the River Aire. Continue up through Kirkby Malham to reach the popular village of Malham. This is a pretty place, surrounded by limestone dry-stone walls, with a stream running right through the middle of the village. It has been a settlement for at least a thousand years and was once a place of mills and mines. Either tonight or tomorrow (if the weather looks better), walk up the valley to the beautiful limestone amphitheatre that is Malham Cove. If you can manage the footpath above it, you will end up on the rocky pavement with great views back down the valley. (Ascent 533m/1,750 ft, descent 457m/1,500 ft) Accommodation: Built in the early 1700s as a yeoman's cottage, our usual hotel is set in a quiet spot in the village. It is England's first fully plant-based hotel. There is a restaurant and a small bar and the en-suite rooms have been tastefully decorated with coffee & tea making facilities.

Meals:  B

A cycle ride deep into the Dales. Prepare for about 15km of wild and remote cycling before you reach the first village. Steeply ascend Malham Rakes to the rippling waters of the glacial Malham Tarn. You now have some quiet hilly moorland riding before descending into Stainforth; the ancient ‘Stony ford’ once a colliery town, on the River Ribble. Following the river, your ride passes the old milling village of Langcliffe before arriving in Settle. Its market place is surrounded by a variety of glorious buildings, most notably the Shambles (1675) and the Town Hall (1832) now housing a great selection of shops, galleries and places to eat. The Victoria Hall opened as a music hall in 1853 and still has regular shows making it the oldest continuously-operating music hall in the UK. If you are a railway enthusiast, visit Settle Station with its working signal box and water tower. The iconic Settle-Carlisle Railway is a heritage treasure trove. (Ascent 457m/1,500 ft, descent 495m/1,625 ft) Accommodation: The guesthouse has six delightfully individual en-suite rooms, which blend period features with contemporary décor. All rooms have hospitality trays with fair trade products, flat screen TV’s and free WIFI internet access.

Meals:  B

Your day on the bike passes limestone caves and waterfalls and a leg-testing amount of elevation gain. The route follows gentle hills through peaceful countryside to the village of Clapham - perhaps take a coffee stop before riding into Ingleton, a pretty village which has a beautiful gorge and waterfall walk. To do this just lock up your bike and spend a couple of hours exploring. From here, the route heads up into the glacially-formed Kingsdale Valley with wide and wild views and the highest Yorkshire Peak of Whernside on your right. At last you roll down into Dentdale and Dent Village hidden between the Howgill Fells and Pennines. It has its own little brewery and a couple of pubs and teashops. There are delightful cobbled streets and a fountain of pink granite in the village centre, commemorating Dent’s links with Adam Sedgwick, (1785-1873), one of the greatest field geologists of his time. Dent is also famous for its ‘manic’ knitters. In the 18th century, both men and women knitted, often while walking to the fields to work. Their output of hand-knitted gloves and socks was enormous, providing an important supplementary income. The large 12th century St. Andrews Church is also worth a visit. (Ascent and descent 746m/2,450 ft) Accommodation: Snug rooms above the village store. All rooms are finished to a high standard with new fixtures and fittings. They have a hospitality tray, wall mounted flat screen TV and high speed Wifi.

Meals:  B

The day starts with a steep climb through Dentdale, following the river Dee. There are great views over rolling fells and the Arten Gill Viaduct. You reach the high point of the day at 435m/1,427 feet and then the route becomes much easier as you roll into Hawes - England’s highest market town (259m /850 feet). Hawes was granted a charter to hold markets by King William III in 1699 then in 1887 an auction market was established for cattle sales and sheep fairs. Soon after this, cheese fairs also became a regular event. Cycle to Gayle next to Hawes and visit The Wensleydale Creamery. Since 1150 they have been making cheese involving traditional recipes following those first created by French monks. Nowadays, there are many different varieties of the eponymous Wensleydale cheese, which you can try. There is also a traditional rope factory where you can become more entwined in the history of the area. After your Hawes break, cross over the River Ure and follow the quiet road which runs parallel to it for a relaxing stretch to Bainbridge, a village with extensive greens and cascading river. Pass through Askrigg a Viking settlement named ‘The ridge where ash trees grow.’ Once a knitting, milling and clock-making village, today it is a place of tea shops and pubs, with cobbled streets. Fans of James Herriot and the TV series ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ will recognise Skeldale House, as the vet’s surgery. Then it is a short ride on to Aysgarth and your accommodation for two nights. (Ascent 487m /1,600 ft, descent 411m /1,350 ft) Accommodation: Family-run early Victorian guesthouse offering comfortable light rooms with panoramic views over the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Meals:  B

Today there are two big hills. The first one is from from Askrigg to Cross Top, (495m / 1,624 feet ) with up to a 15% gradient at times. However, once over this there is a gorgeous descent down into the valley of the River Swale. The old lead mining village of Gunnerside could be your stop for a coffee & cake although it is slightly off the route. You continue along the river until Grinton with a popular pub and historic church that is known as the ‘Cathedral of the Dales.’ A worthwhile short detour is the interesting village of Reeth, with its nice large green, shops and also the nearby Dales Bike Centre – with tasty food and drinks as well as equipment if you need stocking up. Then is your next steep climb back up to 450m/1,476 feet to cross Grinton Moor and then down into Redmire - another village used in the James Herriot TV series. Castle Bolton is nearby; built from 1378 and left largely intact from the Civil War in the 1640s. You can visit old kitchens, dungeon, nursery, armoury, great chamber and Mary Queen of Scots’ bedroom - she was imprisoned here for a while on the way to Fotheringay Castle. About one third of the rooms are fully intact and the rest of the castle is almost completely accessible giving visitors great insight into its turbulent past. From Redmire the route passes along Wensleydale and back to your accommodation in Aysgarth. (Ascent and descent 905m/2,969 ft)

Meals:  B

Today is another hilly ride through postcard-perfect landscapes and villages. The first place you get to is the historic village called Wensley, the place name for the Dale. Wensley comes from the Norse god - Woden. This was a plague village in the 1560s, and took a long time to recover. It is still home to a Grade I listed 13th century Holy Trinity Church, Wensley Mill and there are hidden waterfalls. After a look around, cross over the River Ure and climb along Gale Bank, which has beautiful woodlands and dry-stone lined roads. You cycle through glorious Coverdale now following the River Cover as it carves through the landscape threading its way through some tiny villages. Finally, you ascend the Park Rash climb which averages 11% and climbs 230 metres. Be careful on the descent into Kettlewell, a gorgeous village, by the River Wharfe with quaint tea shops and limestone terraces. Kettlewell, meaning ‘bubbling spring’, is a charming little place. Destroyed by a flood in the 1680s, much of the village reflects the success of lead mining and smelting here from the 1800s. Tea shops and a couple of pubs will welcome you through their doors. (Ascent 548m/1,800 ft, descent 495m/1,625 ft) Accommodation: A traditional pub with newly renovated and individually styled rooms, making the most of the enviable Yorkshire Dales views, whether it be the pretty village church or the dramatic surrounding hills. They have en-suite shower rooms, flat screen TV with DVD player, tea and coffee making facilities.

Meals:  B

Your final cycling stage, despite a bit of climbing, is a much easier day. You continue with the river along Wharfedale, with its share of waterfalls and limestone caves. Cycle via Conistone, with its 11th century church and limestone hillock called the Pie. Pass by Grass Wood Nature Reserve brimming with limestone scars and thick woodland before you arrive at Grassington. The Old Hall here is reputedly the oldest house in Yorkshire. The village is an excellent place to stop for lunch with a range of tea rooms and cafes. Next, cross over the river at Linton Falls and wind through the countryside. Pass more villages and perhaps enjoy a final fantastic break-spot at Bolton Abbey. This was founded in 1154 by the Augustinian order, on the banks of the River Wharfe. The nave of the abbey church was in use as a parish church from about 1170 onwards, and survived the Dissolution of the Monasteries, which closed this one in January 1540. There is a final hill to cycle up to Halton East, before reaching Embsay and then you return to Skipton. (Ascent 327m/1,075 ft, descent 373m/1,225 ft). Your bikes will be collected. Accommodation: We'll aim for you to stay at the same accommodation in Skipton.

Meals:  B

Depart Skipton for your onward travel.

Meals:  B


Inclusions

  • 8 breakfasts
  • 8 nights accommodation on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities where available
  • 1 piece of luggage per person transferred from Inn to Inn, not exceeding 18kg
  • Information pack including route notes & maps (1 pack per room booked)
  • Emergency hotline
  • GPX Files
  • Hybrid bike hire for 7 days incl. helmet, lock, repair kit and a pump (option to upgrade to an E-bike - ask for details)

  • Dinners, lunches and beverages
  • Entrance Fees
  • Travel Insurance
  • Travel to the start and from the end point of the tour
  • Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
  • Unscheduled transfers requires during the trip
  • Guide - this is a self guided holiday
  • A supplement will apply if you are travelling solo or book a single room
  • Excess luggage
  • Transfers by taxi or public transport if you need to skip a stage

Accommodation


Suitability

moderate to challenging

4

We grade this cycle tour as moderate to challenging (grade 4); anyone used to road cycling with up to approx 900 metres / 2,950 feet a day should find this trip within their abilities. Most of the rides have much less than these amounts. Daily cycling distances are kept quite low, so although there are some long steep hills, they can be walked up if necessary and you should have plenty of time to rest and sightsee.


Departure dates

Wednesdays to Mondays from 31 March to 13 Oct

Notes

Note:
If starting on a Wednesday or Sunday: bike drop off is on day 9 from 10AM only. If starting on a Saturday: you will need to collect your bike that day before 5PM.
Note:
Please ask your travel consultant about upgrading to an e-bike.

Priceper person from

£1170GBP

Options & Supplements*
  • Single SupplementGBP£360
  • Solo Traveller SupplementGBP£380
*Prices listed are per person

Yorkshire Dales Cycling Trip reviews


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