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Cycling

A family cycling in Conistone A family cycling in Conistone

There are great opportunities to explore the Yorkshire Dales by bike, both on its network of minor roads and for mountain bikers on the byways, bridleways and ‘green lanes’ that cross the area.

Cycling is a lovely way to discover the area either as part of a visit or a touring holiday.

You get to see more and feel more in touch with the countryside around you, and you can be fully justified in stopping for a slab of cake or a pint of locally brewed beer.

Cyclists on a tandem in Kettlewell Cycling around Kettlewell in Wharfdale

What’s more you will be helping to protect this wonderful area by moving around in a sustainable way.

The hill and moorland scenery is what attracts most people to the area so it is not surprising that the cycling is not always flat. Any effort in climbing hills is always rewarded with fantastic views of the Dales landscape, and if you need to walk that’s no problem. Just take your time and enjoy the wonderful surroundings.

On the road

A cyclist speeding downhill Enjoying the roads

Opportunities for road cyclists range from short routes along the valley bottoms which are suitable for most families with some cycling experience to the 210 km (130 mile) Yorkshire Dales Cycle Way which will challenge even the most hardened rider.

For the experienced road cyclist, the Yorkshire Dales offers a brilliant choice of routes for a day’s cycle. You can base yourself in one of the main villages and pick off a few routes over a weekend. Grassington and Settle are easily accessible from the south, while Hawes or Reeth will take you to the heart of the Northern Dales.

For more information on road cycling see the Cycle the Dales website.

Mountain biking

The Dales are known as one of the UK’s finest adventurous mountain biking areas. There are over 800 km (500 miles) of bridleways, byways and green lanes to explore, often taking you up into remote moorland.  Tough climbs and technical descents, all in remote, unspoilt countryside.

Cyclist on Arncliffe Cote Arncliffe Cote

Many trails have a history as well as being great fun to ride, being a mixture of Roman roads, monastic highways, mining tracks and drovers roads. Most are on gradients that keep you in the saddle rather than off and pushing!

For information and mountain bike routes see the MTB the Dales pages.

Cycling initiatives

The National Park Authority is keen to promote cycling as a sustainable way to visit the Dales, and for this reason have developed a number of initiatives to help with promotion. These include:

  • Provision of cycle stands and securing rings at over 100 sites through the Dales
  • Publishing with Harveys Maps high quality maps showing graded mountain bike routes
  • With North Yorkshire County Council undertaking the re-signing of the 210km Yorkshire Dales Cycleway
  • Developing cycle friendly accommodation
  • The development of the MTB and Cycle the Dales pages on this website
  • Leading a partnership to bring a summer bike bus service to the Dales from Leeds
  • Carrying out works to repair eroded sections of bridleways.

This has been achieved with funding from Yorkshire Forward and the European Regional Development Fund, and has led to further joint working with North Yorkshire County Council on continuing this work including the development of a sub-regional cycle tourism strategy.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority also lead on the development of the Pennine Bridleway in this area with the work being funded by Natural England. In the summer of 2012 the whole Bridleway was officially opened by actor and President of the British Horse Society, Martin Clunes, at Far Moor Bridge, near Selside in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. 

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