Yorkshire Dales Cycleway is a circular bike tour starting in Skipton that leads through the beautiful Yorkshire Dales National Park. Green as can be, the landscape of the dales consists of highland moors, hills and valleys, and is traversed by rivers and lakes. Along with quaint villages, abbeys and castles, this makes for a great cycle path through one of England's lovliest counties. The total length of 209km/130mi can be split over several legs or days. The path is well signposted.
The tour starts in Skipton, where you ride towards Airton on narrow, hardly frequented roads along typical English stone walls and cliffs. On you way you pass an impressive abbey ruin, which you can visit right away or on your way back.
Continue past Malham Cove, a natural limestone formation, with its rugged limestone surface. Initially, a waterfall used to fall over the cliff here. It is normally dry these days. In 2015, after a long time, water fell down over the cliffs again after heavy rainfalls. From the famous stone formation, continue towards Ingleton.
The next leg goes from Ingleton to Hawes, home of Wallace & Gromit's worldfamous Wensleydale cheese, which you should try at one of the restaurants, cafes or pubs. Hawes features numerous shops, bike shops, museums and mills, and thus lends itself to a longer break.
Bike on through the picturesque and, against all prejudice, often sunny Wensleydale, where you pass Askrigg, another quaint village where you might take a break.
The path goes on from Wensley to Grassington. This section has one particular perk: its beautiful view over the stunning landscape of the dales. Follow the curvacious road down to Kettlewell. After a short break in the town, continue on deserted byroads down to Grassington.
The way back from Grassington to Skipton boasts one last highlight of the tour: the ruins of Bolton Abbey. Located right by river Wharfe, it is a true gem of the diverse landscape of Yorkshire.
Where to eat
You can find options for eating as well as accommodation in all the towns and villages along the cycleway. However, do pack some provisions, as there are some more extended bits between the respective towns.
- There are places to buy beverages and food along the track. However it’s always recommended to bring enough water and food along with you.
Highlights of the tour
Highlights include the limestone formation Malham Cove, the Victorian Ribblehead viadukt, which is a Harry Potter film location, as well as the ruins of Bolton Abbey.
The tour can be split into legs and daily stages individually. Furthermore, it is of course possible only to bike a shorter section.
The cycleway starts and ends in Skipton.
Skipton is easily accessible due to its proximity to motorways and airports. You can fly to Doncaster Sheffield Airport, Humberside Airport, Leeds Bradford International Airport, or Manchester Airport. Trains get you to Skipton quickly and comfortably.