All things bright and beautiful

Jonathan Manning discovers a stunning river valley on this ride through the beautiful Yorkshire Dales

Pedal through the landscape of Calendar Girls and the new series of All Creatures Great and Small on this fabulous loop through the Yorkshire Dales. Starting from Wharfedale Club Campsite, the route serves up one magnificent view after another, crossing the River Wharfe in Grassington (Darrowby in All Creatures Great and Small) and passing meadows, drystone walls and rocky cliffs as it follows the river north. 

By hugging the floor of the valley, the route is largely flat, especially for the Dales, and it’s cars, not contours, that may be of more concern for some riders. Fortunately, the roads were largely free of traffic when I visited midweek. 

Kettlewell, backdrop to Calendar Girls, marks the halfway point, with two pubs, a hotel and a café to slake a thirst and restore energy, before a short, sharp climb out of the village heading south along the other side of the Wharfe. 

There’s still time to stop for a cuppa – Yorkshire tea, obviously! – at the Café by the Lake in Kilnsey Park, with its red squirrels and wildflowers, all overlooked by a vast limestone crag, before riding on to Wharfedale. 

Navigation throughout the route could hardly be easier, with the only ‘left or right’ decision to be made in the tiny village of Conistone. Everywhere else the directions are straightforward, which allows cyclists to admire the outstanding scenery in this beautiful part of the world.

You can also download the route for this ride from our dedicated Strava page here


1 From Wharfedale Club Campsite, follow the very long driveway all the way to the B6160 and turn right. Pass a Texaco garage on the right, then turn left, signposted to Grassington and Pately Bridge, along the B6265. Cross the river then look out for a turn on the left. 

2 3.3km – Turn left along Wood Lane, with The Mountaineer outdoor shop on the corner, and follow the road all the way to Conistone. 

3 8.1km – Turn right at the triangle of stone walls in the middle of Conistone, and continue to a T-junction in Kettlewell. 

4 13.2km – Turn left at the T-junction, signposted to Grassington and Skipton, along the B6160. Stay on this road all the way back to the Club site on the right-hand side of the road. 

About the route

  • Start/finish: Wharfedale Club site, Long Ashes Park, Threshfield, Skipton BD23 5PN
  • Distance: 22.4km /14 miles
  • Time: 1½ hours
  • Level: Suitable for fitter riders – the route does undulate, but it’s easy by Dales standards.
  • Terrain: Asphalt all the way Landscape: Stunning Yorkshire Dales, the River Wharfe, drystone walls, and eye-catching rocky outcrops.
  • Refreshments: Blue Bell Inn, Kettlewell; Racehorses Hotel, Kettlewell; The Cottage Tea Room, Kettlewell; Café by the Lake, Kilnsey Park; The Tennants Arms, Kilnsey. 

About the author

Family of three outside their caravan on a sunny day

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