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Dales Cycleway


Route Summary

Yorkshire is a cyclist's paradise. The land rises and falls all around, transforming quiet lanes into challenging ascents that reward the triumphant rider with panoramic views over the rolling green fields, wildflower meadows, and limestone landscapes of the Dales.

The Dales Cycleway is a complete circuit of the national park, beginning and ending in Skipton. It climbs through isolated stretches of countryside between cycle-friendly villages on a 114-mile loop. If you ever wondered why the Tour de France came through this part of England, the Dales Cycleway is sure to clarify.

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TOURING HIGHLIGHTS LIMESTONE LANDSCAPES

The Yorkshire Dales are famed for their rich limestone landscapes. Distinctive, craggy outcroppings protrude beneath the hillside crests all around the Dales Cycleway, but the most impressive example lies at Malham Cove. Here, a curving limestone cliff forms an amphitheatre of rock, topped by a dramatic example of Yorkshire’s famous limestone pavement.

Just as integral to the region are the steep shapes of Ingleborough and Whernside, which dominate the countryside as the route rides past them. These imposing hillsides are offset by Yorkshire’s famous dales. Swaledale is commonly regarded as the most beautiful, with its steep sides and rushing River Swale, while Wensleydale boasts a vibrant community in picturesque Hawes, home to Wensleydale cheese.

This is an area steeped in history, too. Skipton Castle is one of the best-preserved medieval castles in Britain, and is fully accessible to the public. The ruined arch at Bolton Abbey towers over its surroundings. Castle Bolton is a truly palatial manor house with sturdy walls and small, defensive windows. If more recent history is of greater interest, Embsay & Bolton Abbey Railway is home to vintage steam trains that offer tours through the Dales.

ELEVATION CHALLENGING

There are no prolonged flat sections on the Dales Cycleway. The route rises and falls through the Yorkshire hills, providing a huge number of viewpoints along the way.

The steepest climbs on the route are found between Ingleton and Dent at Whernside; between Cowgill and Hawes; on Cross Top Road; and across Grinton Moor. Perhaps the most dramatic of all is the testing ascent on Cam Gill Road. It leads in turn to a blisteringly quick descent down “Park Rash” to Kettlewell Beck.

Sweeping downhills like this are a reoccurring staple of the route. The best examples swoop into Dent, Muker, and Castle Bolton respectively. One of the great joys of the Dales Cycleway lies in its unfaltering ability to reward hard work with downhill bliss.

Route profile

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THE TERRAIN QUIET COUNTRY LANES

  • Primarily low-traffic country lanes
  • A handful of brief road sections
  • One dedicated cyclepath to Malham Tarn

The vast majority of the Dales Cycleway keeps to surfaced roads. A lone stretch over gravel on the approach to Malham Tarn marks the only departure from tarmac. Any road bicycle will be ideal on this cycling holiday.

Route NEWS

12/06/2017 Update
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Route Details

Length: 130.5 miles / 209 km
Start & end: Skipton / Skipton
Season: 2nd January to 24th December

Itineraries


TOUR CODE ITINERARY NO LUGGAGE
TRANSFER
WITH LUGGAGE
TRANSFER
GRADE more info more info  
C-DC1 3 nights, 2 days £225 £275 Epic More Info Book Now
C-DC2 4 nights, 3 days £290 £365 Hard More Info Book Now
C-DC3 5 nights, 4 days £360 £445 Moderate More Info Book Now
C-DC4 6 nights, 5 days £430 £515 Moderate More Info Book Now
C-DC5 7 nights, 6 days £500 £605 Beginner More Info Book Now

The above itineraries show our preferred overnight stops. If accommodation is unavailable at any of these locations, we may alter the itinerary slightly.

Please note that if you choose not to book luggage transfers for your holiday, you must make sure that you are able to carry all of your luggage with you for the duration of the holiday, whether this be via the use of panniers or any other method you wish. Ensure that you test the weight of your luggage while riding well in advance, so that you are comfortable transporting your own luggage during your holiday. We particularly recommend booking mountain biking holidays with lugagge transfers included.


Pricing Information

Our prices are based upon two people sharing a room. If you are riding on your own, or are part of a group, but require a room of your own, one of the following charges applies:

  • Solo rider supplement: £40 per person / per night
  • Single supplement: £20 per person / per night

You can add rest days at any of the overnight stops:

  • Extra night (Standard): £50 per person / per night
  • Extra night (Grasmere): £55 per person / per night

What's Included

  • Accommodation in en-suite rooms with private bathrooms (where available) in selected hotels, inns and guesthouses along the trail.
  • Breakfast each day.
  • A comprehensive information pack containing maps and/or guide books, a full itinerary, instructions on how to find your accommodation each night, information about facilities and places of interest along the trail and a kit list.
  • Detailed travel instructions on how to get to the start of your holiday and back from the end of it.
  • Emergency assistance.

Travel Information

Detailed travel information is sent to you on booking, but we have provided a summary below.


By Air
The most convenient major cities and international airports are Manchester and Leeds-Bradford.

By Rail
There is a railway station at the start of the trail (Skipton).

From London - There are frequent trains from Heathrow Airport and Gatwick Airport to Skipton.

By Car
For advice on driving to the start of the trail, please visit www.theaa.com which has a very useful route planner.

Return to Start
This is a circular route.

Extra Night / Rest Day

The circular Dales Cycleway route encounters many amazing locations, making it almost impossible to see everything during your holiday. If you would like some extra time to explore these wonderful areas more thoroughly, we recommend booking a few extra nights at any of the overnight stops along the way.

You could spend an extra night or two in Skipton either at the start or the end of your cycling holiday, and explore everything this lovely market town has to offer. Skipton has a rich heritage with many excellent examples of its history, including the famous Skipton Castle - one of the best preserved medieval castles in Britain - and the stunning Holy Trinity Church overlooking the high street. There are galleries and museums to visit, as well as a range of leisure and sporting activities to suit every taste. There is also an abundance of excellent shops to explore, including plenty of services to help replenish and repair your cycling kit as required.

The village of Ingleton is another good choice for a rest day. Surrounded by magnificent countryside complete with caves, waterfalls and mountains, Ingleton is the ideal destination to indulge in a variety of outdoor activities, including walking, climbing, caving, river fishing and much more. The village's history dates as far back as the Iron Ages, offering plenty of interesting sites to discover just by strolling around the area, making Skipton the perfect place to relax in preparation for the next leg of your cycling journey.

Hawes is England's highest town - set 850 feet above sea level - and as such boasts amazing scenery, making this a temping option for an extra night's stay. Home to the world famous Yorkshire Wensleydale Cheese and the highest waterfall in England, Hawes is a popular tourist destination with plenty to offer; not only is the town fully stocked with fine shops and tempting eateries, it also boasts a bustling street market, a long-standing outdoor retailer, a range of leisure activities and the spectacular Bolton Castle situated nearby. There is truly something for everyone at Hawes.

The village of Reeth is another great choice if you're looking for an extra night's stay to recharge or explore. Often referred to as the Capital of Swaledale, this quirky Saxon settlement is surrounded by spectacular scenery and boasts plenty of cycle trails to help you explore the surrounding area. Along with a full range of shops, eateries and other facilities, the local Dales Bike Centre is also fully equipped with everything you may need for your bike and your kit. Reeth also has a rich history which can be discovered at the Swaledale Museum, which features demonstrations and exhibits dedicated to the region's past contributions to the lead mining industry.


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GRADE 1: Beginner

Daily distance: approx. 10 – 20 miles / 16 – 32 km
These itineraries are perfect for beginner cyclists, families or explorers eager to sight-see along the route. Expect plenty of time to relax along the way thanks to short-mileage days, with barely a hill in sight!

GRADE 2: Easy

Daily distance: approx. 15 – 25 miles / 24 – 40 km
With longer-mileage days, these itineraries will suit occasional riders who want a bit more of a challenge. As they still steer clear of steeper or more frequent climbs, they're perfect for quick riding, so you can still make plenty of time for lunch or a spot of exploration.

GRADE 3: Moderate

Daily distance: approx. 20 – 40 miles / 32 – 64 km
Longer daily distances team with a few challenging sections on these itineraries, ideal for regular cyclists confident in their fitness. Exploration stops may require an extra rest day - but there should still be time for a relaxing lunch!

GRADE 4: Hard

Daily distance: approx. 25 – 50 miles / 40 – 80 km
If you're looking to test your abilities as a keen cyclist, these are the itineraries for you. The daily mileages aren't just high, they may also include tough or frequent climbs. Get ready to pedal hard and push yourself!

GRADE 5: Epic

Daily distance: approx. 50 miles + / 80 km +
For these itineraries, you're going to need previous experience cycling long distances over consecutive days. Each is designed to test your strength and your stamina, with high mileage days and tough, frequent climbs.

*** Occasionally our itineraries can straddle between two levels of difficulty, such as 'Easy-Moderate' or 'Hard-Epic' etc. This can be for a number of reasons, such as if there is a wide range of distances between the days of the itinerary, or if the distances are ‘Easy’ but the hills and terrain involved are a bit tricky and more ‘moderate’ etc. If you require more information about any of our itineraries, please do not hesitate to contact us, and we will be more than happy to offer advice and guidance.

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