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Yorkshire Dales Mountain Biking

Classic Pennine Trails

South Dales MTB

Yorkshire Dales Mountain Biking features 26 rides between 10 and 43 kilometres in length in one of the UK's most mountain bike friendly national parks. The routes make the most of the Dales' superb network of stone-based trails, rideable in all seasons. Classic loops take in the best of Swaledale, a tour of Ingleborough, big days around Whernside and Pen-y-ghent, quintessential Dales scenery near Malham and Kilnsey, and moorland riding above Pateley Bridge.

A Bonus Section includes information about the Howgills, the easy-going Swale Trail and the Pennine Bridleway, as well as the riding at Gisburn Forest and Stainburn which lies just outside the national park. There are also top tens and a detailed appendix. Written by Dales local and experienced author Nick Cotton, each ride is described with easy-to-follow directions and is plotted on clear and easy-to-use Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 mapping. Also included with each ride are details of distance, timings and difficulty gradings, plus refreshment stops and local knowledge.

Happy riding!

See below for route details

Book Details:
ISBN: 978-1-912560-06-6. Vertebrate Publishing
Written by Nick Cotton
Book Size is a compact 12cm x 17.5cm

Great Value


RRP £16.95

Fast Despatch

The Mountain Biking Routes

Map showing the approximate recommended starting points for each route as indicated in the book.
Click on a marker for route information.

In detail:


Fairly short rides that tend to pack a punch. Onces to do when you are short of time or are building up your fitness before tackling something longer.

Route 1. Over Great Pinseat from Langthwaite

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 12km

A remote area with testing climbs and “roof of the world” cruising

Route 2. Two Short Rides from Hardraw

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 10 and 12km

Two short routes. Do them together, separately or link them to the Hawes route: the choice is yours.

Route 3. Gunnerside & Melbecks Moor

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 12km

Tough climbs, stone tracks, grassy tracks, tracks through old mining ruins and finishing with a fast stone and grass descent to Swaledale.

Route 4. Muker to Keld via Swinner Gill

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 13km

An easy start though Swaledale then it's uphill with lovely Dales scenery in the valley below. In Keld there is an option of an extra loop but if you do this or not there still a tough climb up Kidson Hill. This rewards with fantastic views across the valley and then is followed by a steep grassy descent.

Route 5. Easy tracks around Austwick

Route Grade: medium. Distance: 14.5km

One of the easiest mountain biking routes in the guide, this nevertheless gives a good taste of all that is typical and best about off-road riding in the Yorkshire Dales.

Route 6. East from Langthwaite onto Hurst Moor

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 15km

A stiff climb, a cruise over heather clad moorland, a fast descent to Schoolmaster Pasture, a climb tat then sets you up for one of the Dales’ Top Ten Downhills!


Route 7. West of Marske to Fremington & Marrick Moor

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 20km

The route has two sections alongside the lovely River Swale, a steep climb up onto Fremington Edge, a short plateau cruising section, a climb and then a final stone a grass track descent which is a belter.

Route 8. Clapham, Feizor & Thwaite Scars

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 18km

In many ways the perfect short Dales mountain bike route with two attractive villages and two small hamlets linked by a series of tracks that range from broad stone to singletrack and from high grassy plateau in amongst a sea of limestone pavement.

Route 9. Reeth & Reeth High Moor

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 20km

A loop around Leeth High Moor that takes you to a height of 570 metres before a descent that is first rough stone then a smooth stone beauty.

Route 10. Swale Trail & Harkerside Moor

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 19km

From the excellent Dales Bike Centre (cafe and shop) the route runs west along the river Swale on lane, stone track and grass. It's a good warm up for the big climb to come - steep on grass then rough stone followed by an easier broad stone to the high point. The next 10 kilometeres is mostly downhill as you cross the heather slopes of Harkerside Moor and then drop steeply down the hillside past Codgen Hall with fabulous views of Reeth.

Route 11. South of Reeth to Apedale

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 23km

You have to work hard for your enjoyment, with a tough ascent from Grinton to Greets Hill. The most technical bits of the ride come after crossing the Askrigg road – a steep, rubbly descent where you hope the front end of your bike knows what it’s doing!

Route 12. Kilnsey, Mastiles Lane & Arncliffe Cote

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 19km

A tough climb at the start followed by a long undulating section on the historic drovers’ road, another climb and a dream descent on easy grassy tracks.

Route 13. Settle, Malham Cove & Gorbeck

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 22km

Not hugely technical, but with some good fast sections and tough climbs, this route explores some stunning Dales scenery.

Route 14. Castle Bolton & Apedale

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 24km

The first 10km is one of the longest unbroken sections of off road in the whole of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It climbs and dips pas farms and broadleaf copses, old mining ruins and between drystone walls. Then after a steep road climb followed by the second off road treat; quintessential Yorkshire Dales mountain biking on an excellent stone track.

Route 15. Bainbridge, Raydale & Stake Allotments

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 26km

Raydale has the feel of a forgotten valley. The cobbled crossing of Crooks Beck is one of the memorable challenges of the day. This is followed by a steep climb and a fain track that gently descends a vast grass plateau, eventually turning to stone as it drops towards Thoralby.

Route 16. West of Kirkby Malzeard

Route Grade: medium. Distance: 30km

The first section of off road is one of those secret tracks – a little gem that drops to cross two tributaries of the river Lune. Then its climbs, descents and blasts across the moors.

Route 17. Hawes, a tour of Dodd Fell & Burtersett

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 21km

A wiggly lane takes you to the start of a steep grassy climb. You won’t be spending much time in the saddle until the summit, but from there on the trail is a gem perched on the edge of the exceedingly steep hillside.


Route 18. Gargrave to Mastiles Lane & Hetton

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 30.5km

There’s a real sense of linking lowland to highland in this ride. Starting in Garburn, which is accessed by the busy A65 the route takes you away and up to 400 metres right in the heart of the craggy limestone scenery of the Dales and what seemingly seem a million miles away from the start.

Route 19. Horton, Langstrothdale, Horse Head & Foxup

Route Grade: extreme. Distance: 30km

The outward route from Horton; a climb on the Pennine Way on a broad stone track then an easy forest section, presents no real problem. The next stage is quite different; it starts with the hardest, roughest and steepest climb in this guide and finishes with one of the best descents in the Dales. Finally there is a last challenge of climbing and then descending Foxup Moor.

Route 20. Ribblehead, Dentdale & Great Knoutberry Hill

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 31.5km

This route has variety! From the iconic Ribblehead Viaduct and easy tracks by the railway, to the testing climb up the north east flank of Whernside and onto the grassy plateau over Great Wold. Like rock gardens, try the 6km long, 350 metre descent into Dentdale. Good on road climbs? Test yourself on the savage blast to Dent Station. Then it’s onto superb improved tracks that were once unrideable, and a cobbled masterpiece with hop across drainage channels.

Route 21. Grassington, Mastiles Lane & Hetton

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 32km

A superb mountain biking route, crossing Malham Moor, along part of stone highway known as Mastiles Lane, to highpoint on Kilnsey Moor, onto Weets Top and down to Winterburn Reservoir and onto a final long off road section that has all sorts; narrow stone tracks, to patches of rough moorland, to recently rebuilt tracks and old established trails.

Route 22. Bainbridge, Langstrothdale & Cam High Road

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 35km

A big breezy ‘roof of the world ride’ twice climbing to over 550 metres on fine stone tracks, linked by a beautiful lane.


Route 23. Pateley Bridge & Appletreewick

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 63.5km

Highlights of the mountain bike route include a climb up through old lead mining ruins, a 150 metre off-road descent into Appletreewick, a great climb up Skyreholme Bank and a final off-road downhill to Middle Tongue.

Route 24. Tour d’Ingleborough

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 38km

A mountain bike circuit around one of the famous three peaks, linking three long off-road stretches via stunning road sections that just happen to pass several pubs and cafes in Clapham.

Route 25. Pateley Bridge Northwest

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 38km

One of the classic mountain bike routes of the Yorkshire Dales on a mixture of quiet lanes, easy tracks and tough challenges

Route 26. Stainforth to Littondale

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 41km

The quality of tracks is generally excellent, whether on the climb up towards Pen-y-ghent, the descent to Litton, the grassy climb over High Cote Moor or the newly improved trail over Gorbeck.

Bonus Section

The Howgills
Swale Trail
Pennine Bridleway
Gisburn Forest
Stainburn Forest


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