Delightful Dales

A fairly challenging ride through the beautiful Yorkshire Dales from Bolton Abbey Estate Club Campsite.

Yorkshire makes a convincing bid to be the UK’s capital of cycling, hosting the Tour de France in 2014 and holding its own prestigious road race every year. This short ride (less than 16 miles) avoids the county’s most fiendish ascents while encapsulating perfectly why the Yorkshire Dales National Park is so special to explore on two wheels.

The route starts at Bolton Abbey Estate Club Campsite and heads into the beautiful U-shaped valley of Wharfedale, where drystone walls parcel the landscape into grazing meadows all the way up to limestone cliffs (known in these parts as scars). This is very much a dale of popular imagination, dotted with the occasional barn and punctuated by characterful villages and appealing pubs. The New Inn (which looks as though it has been new for a long time!) and the Craven Arms offer particularly fine vantage points from which to admire the views across the River Wharfe.

The river is a steady companion throughout the ride, although forget any notion of pedalling along a flat towpath. The road rises and falls throughout, presenting some stern climbs that will test legs and lungs, or the batteries of an e-bike, but the rewards are extraordinary.

On a sunny day this is arguably one of the prettiest rides in the country. And on an overcast day... well, it is still wonderfully striking, with foxgloves in roadside verges and far-reaching views along the glacial valley. Plus, the roads are narrow and quiet – you are more likely to meet fellow cyclists than traffic.

The pretty village of Grassington offers an ideal opportunity to stop for sustenance at the halfway mark, before the route follows an undulating road on the other side of the river back to the Club site. 

You can download this route from our dedicated Strava page here.


1 From Bolton Abbey Estate Club Campsite follow the driveway to the B6160 and turn right. Continue for 1.5km to reach Barden Tower and The Priests House on the right.

2 1.5km – Turn right immediately after Barden Tower, signposted to Appletreewick and Pateley Bridge. Follow the road down to the river and cross a bridge. Continue for 3.5km to a T-junction.

3 4.9km – Turn left at the T-junction, signposted to Appletreewick, and continue for 2.5km, eventually looking out for a turn on the right.

4 7.5km – Turn right along Hartlington Raikes, signposted to Hebden, and in 200m turn left, signposted to Hebden. Continue into the pretty village of Hebden, where there’s a café and a pub, to reach a crossroads.

5 ​10.3km – Turn left at the crossroads along the B6265, signposted to Grassington and Skipton, and follow the road through Grassington and over the River Wharfe.

6 13.6km – Turn left immediately after crossing the river, signposted to Threshfield Primary School. Continue to a crossroads.

7 ​14.5km – Turn left onto the B6160, signposted to Burnsall and Bolton Abbey. Stay on this road all the way back to the Club site, which is on the left-hand side of the road.

About the route

  • Start/finish: Bolton Abbey Estate Club Campsite, Bolton Abbey, Skipton, North Yorkshire BD23 6AN.
  • Distance: 25km/15.6 miles.
  • Time: 90 minutes.
  • Level: Suitable for fitter cyclists and e-bikers, due to 403m of ascent.
  • Terrain: Asphalt all the way.
  • Landscape: Stunning landscape through the Yorkshire Dales National Park following a river valley with drystone walls.
  • Refreshments: The New Inn, Appletreewick; Craven Arms, Appletreewick; The Old School Tea Room, Hebden; Clarendon Inn, Hebden; lots of choice in Grassington; Red Lion, Burnsall.

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