A Wheelie Good Ride From the Moors...

Feeling inspired by the Yorkshire UCI Cycling Championships? We too have been inspired to go out exploring and brush off the cobwebs on the old bike. As your local guide, here’s some fantastic routes for the mountain biker and road racer around the North York Moors, plus the top 5 nearby properties.

Cycling holidays and guided rides have grown in popularity over recent years, and with two large National Parks to explore and hundreds of miles of winding country lanes in between, there are a huge number of routes for beginners as well as for the more advanced cyclist. The North York Moors is a memorable location for cycling holidays, and we love this quote from Yorkshire’s two-time Olympic gold medal winner:

“I’m extremely fortunate that I live in an area that inspires me to train and enjoy it. The same view that I’ve seen a million times never fails to amaze me and the scenery changes with the seasons and the weather.” – Alistair Brownlee, Triathlete, MBE

Mountain biking in the Moors

Take advantage of some of the best quality mountain biking available, on England’s largest expanse of heather moorland. You can get there easily, starting from the many pretty villages that neighbour the moors.

Inevitably though, you are faced with a bit of a climb up onto the moors no matter which route you choose. Wherever you go, you will find panoramic views and endless tracts of rich purple heather. We would strongly recommend the many bridle paths – well trodden paths also used by local farmers and gamekeepers. It is always a good idea to use an Ordnance Survey map or a good OS mapping app, but take care as phone reception can be a bit patchy in the more remote areas.

For last minute Yorkshire mountain biking, hire road, mountain and electric bikes from the Yorkshire Bike Hire, adjoining the Rusty Bike in Swainby. 

Routes from the surrounding villages

Whether you start in Carlton village or from Faceby, Swainby and Osmotherley, each of these villages have roads and bridle paths leading up to the moors with round routes back to Carlton. To avoid having to ride along the A172 between Faceby and Swainby there is a reasonable footpath on the far side of the road, and you should make use of the Gold Hill loop road.

Top tip: there are great pubs in all of these villages, but check out The Rusty Bike Coffee House in Swainby, the Golden Lion Pub in Osmotherley, and The Blackwell Ox in Carlton.

Straight to the Moors

Ride up through Carlton in Cleveland heading south east towards Chop Gate – pronounced locally as Chop Yat – keeping left uphill past Busby Hall. It’s a climb, but you are rewarded by fabulous views towards Roseberry Topping and Teesside beyond. At the top of Carlton Bank you have a choice; go left along the Cleveland Way towards Cold Moor, or right up to Whorlton Moor. Both cycling routes run for many miles, mostly on good tracks.

Routes from villages to the East

Ride from Carlton towards the A172 keeping right at the junction, then find another right turn towards Great Busby, Kirkby, Great Broughton and Ingleby Greenhow. There are fabulous tracks from here, particularly if you can find the route of the old railway line which starts at Bank Foot and leads up to up to Blakey Ridge. There find well-known pub The Lion Inn, and the railway track that goes far beyond there.

Road Cycling in the Moors

If mountain biking isn’t your bag and you prefer to stick to the roads, there are still many miles of good, reasonably quiet roads to explore in the area.

A great place to explore on a Yorkshire cycling holiday is Helmsley, the only market town in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park. It is full of history and character with an attractive market square and a castle. Also worth seeing is Duncombe Park, one of Yorkshire’s finest country houses with over 450 acres of spectacular gardens and parkland. There are several different routes, but the shortest goes past Rievaulx Abbey; an interesting place to visit, and one of the great English abbeys until Henry the Eighth got his hands on it.

Road cycling from Carlton

Road cycling, going East

Ride towards the A172, turning right towards Great Busby, Kirkby, and Great Broughton. You can loop back over the top to Carlton via the B1257 to Chop Gate. More adventurous? Keep going through Ingleby Greenhow to Kildale, Commondale, Castleton and Danby. With so many loop roads, you don’t have to do the same route twice.

Heading South

Ride up through Carton village and right turn towards Faceby. Avoid riding too far along the A172 by using the Gold Hill loop road. Ride on through Swainby and over Scarth Nick to Osmotherley. From here head up to Square Corner and on over the moor to Hawnby and Helmsley beyond.

For those wanting to avoid those big hills...

Head West from Carlton

For those who, very sensibly perhaps, wish to avoid the big hills we head west where the roads are much more considerate. Heading straight over the A172 from Carlton in Cleveland towards Hutton Rudby. From here you can either head north to Middleton on Leven, and back to Carlton via Seamer and Stokesley, or carry on to Crathorne, Picton, Appleton Wiske and back towards Carlton via West Rounton and Potto.


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