Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the North
Robert Thorpe
Cycling Correspondent
8:39 AM 10th July 2020

Cycling The North: Settle To Wharfedale

Malham is one the great images of the Yorkshire Dales. Even Harry Potter has been here, albeit not cycling :)

Countryside around Malham
Countryside around Malham
The roads in this corner of Yorkshire are steep and unrelenting from all directions, as are the trails and bridleways. Yes, whether on road bike or mountain bike, the riding in Malhamdale and the western Dales is epic and amazing. Best of all, there are great places to stop off and have some cake too, such as the cyclists cafe at Settle, situated in Three Peaks Cycle shop; and of course, Ye Olde Naked Man Cafe, where you can enjoy sandwiches, cake and tea and keep your clothes on. Out on the rides, the quaint villages and hamlets have cafes and pubs that are used to providing the best meals and snacks for tourists from around the world.

Easily accessible from Lancashire, this western corner of the Yorkshire Dales is an ideal base for a day out cycling or a longer trip. For the younger cyclists, parking at Malham Tarn itself,there’s an easy loop around the lake and woods, mixing road and paths and with an ice cream van usually parked nearby too. For the more adventurous teens, the Settle Loop mountain bike trail can be picked up here or started in Settle itself, providing a more technical outing for those with a sense of adventure.

Our route this week is for mountain bikers and starts at the market town of Settle, incorporating the fantastic Settle Loop bridleway, bringing together some superb elements by adding Mastiles Lane and Old Cote Moor – a fantastic three course meal of a mountain bike route. It’s a hard day in the saddle, with some tough climbs, but it’ll reward you with spectacular views of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Always ensure sure that you don’t ride above your limits and watch out for the weather. Take a small tool kit and some fluids with you, and let others know where you’re riding and when you should be back. Refreshments at the start and finish are easy, but along the way, it’s down to you. The Tennant Arms pub at Kilnsey provides good food options if your timing is right.


1. From the car park cycle towards Lower Greenfoot, turning left at the junction with Ingfield Lane. Then immediately right and along the stony track (Brockhole Lane) until a gate is reached, leading to Lodge Lane.
2. At Lodge Lane turn left and begin the climbs on good tarmac, all the way to Lodge Farm. At the farm head north east (left) along the bridleway and follow this all the way to the junction with Mitchell Lane and Lambert Lane. Follow Lambert Lane (track) to the tarmac road at High Hill Lane. You will be well warmed up by now, and revelling in the steep climbs.
3. Turn right and then next left, onto the bridleway of Stockdale lane, following this excellent track through spectacular limestone country as it wends its way to the road above Malham Cove. Parts of this track will test your climbing skills, as you ascend technical rocky steps.
4. Join the tarmac road, turning left and head north, crossing the cattle grid at Langscar Gate, before turning right onto the bridleway which crosses Dean Moor Hill before dropping down to Malham Tarn. As you meet the road junction, turn left and continue along, turning right at High Trenhouse towards Arncliffe.
After the next junction a gate on the right leads onto a stony track, which eventually joins the paths around Malham Tarn.
5. On passing the boathouse, a rough track to the left should be taken, leading around to Great Close Scar. As the track meets a ‘T’ junction of tracks, turn right, heading to Street Gate and Mastiles Lane. This is one of the best tracks in the Yorkshire Dales, with a final descent into Kilnsey to match anything elsewhere. Nerves of steel are required as you keep off the brakes and choose your line.
6. At Kilnsey treat yourself to a pint and a buttie at the Inn, before taking the road to Hawkswick Cote. Once you reach the caravan park at the ‘S’ bends, take the bridleway to the left, which climbs steeply on rocky terrain, pulling on reserves of energy, before the softer meadow grass is reached –however, it keeps on climbing as you ascend High Cote Moor. Good navigation is required crossing the moor, which eventually meets Gordale Beck to your left, making an excellent cooling source on a hot day.
7. The bridleway doglegs left (south), crossing a small ford before leading you back to Street Gate and a welcome rest by the side of Malham Tarn. Head along the road ahead, crossing the cattle grid before going back along the bridleway to the left again, which crosses towards Dean Moor Hill.
8. This time, at the road, go straight over and onto the track which leads onto the northern section of the Settle Loop, on excellent tracks which wind along, twisting and turning before descending to the road junction above Langcliffe. Go onto the road, then turn left after about 100 yards, following this bridleway as it descends across limestone meadows strewn with rocks which provide interest to the ride, before dropping into Settle and back to the car.

Taking a cycling holiday with the family is easier than you might think, with a wealth of options in the Yorkshire Dales. Whether you like road cycling or mountain biking, there’s so much to explore on our doorstep, here in the beautiful north of England.

More details about the route can be found here: