Settle - Devils Bridge - Kirkby Stephen - Hawes - Settle
Updated: Apr 10, 2019
This North West Dales route is a beauty. 83 miles of great roads in splendid scenery!!
The 1st half of this RIDE was sent to us by Mick Sheldon from Mellor, Lancashire.
Mick usually does this route but continues from Kirkby Stephen, up through Appleby-in-Westmoorland to the Hartside Cafe (before it burnt down) and then back down the M6 to Devil's Bridge again.
For this RIDE we took Mick's usual route to Kirkby Stephen and added a great non-motorway option that goes through Hawes and back to Settle via Ribblehead Viaduct.
Starting in Settle, one of this area's great little market towns. Here there are plenty of options to grab a brew and a bite if you are hungry - however it is worth waiting as you will be at the locally famous biking spot of Devils Bridge and the butty wagon there is great, more on Devils Bridge soon.
In Settle there is a fuel station, if you have had a ride to get to this location it will be worth topping up the tank here and that should do you for this loop (depending on your tank size).
Heading from the market square in Settle along the B6480, past the petrol station previously mentioned; the road heads past beautiful stone-built houses, pubs and hotels out of Settle and through neighbouring Giggleswick before breaking out into the countryside.
Here the road follows up and up with rocky outcrops on your right and pristine green pastures on your left. When you get to the crest of the hill and begin dropping down to the A65 you get great views of the fantastic scenery all around from this vantage point.
After turning right towards Ingleton / Kendal you are on one of the main biking roads in the area - the A65. This road is popular with all bikers due to it being a road on which you can push on through brilliant scenery, great bends and long straights - One thing this means, is people have pushed too much and there have been incidents, the police now monitor this stretch of road frequently.
The A65 skirts the southern edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park brilliantly following all the contours of the hills to the right which gives this road it's wonderful bends & hills. Passing through the town of Ingleton which sits at the foot of the 2nd largest of the Yorkshire 3 peaks, Ingleborough sitting at over 700 meters above sea level.
Once through Ingleton, the bends decrease in frequency and severity as you head gradually downhill through Cowan Bridge and on to Devils Bridge.
Devils Bridge itself is a stone-built 3 arch bridge, that is thought to date back to the 12th or 13th century. On a warm summers day there is a real mixture of people here; families on the grass by the river having picnics, adventurous types jumping the 45 ft from the bridge into the River Lune - and hundreds of bikers that all park on the eastern bank of the river, conveniently this is right at the side of the Devils Bridge Snack Bar.
From Devils Bridge this route stays on the eastern side of the River Lune and on the A683. This road follows parallel to the River Lune through the valley bottom. Here the road has a mixture of high hedges obscuring the views ahead and heavily shaded areas of dense woodland that test your eyes going from sunshine to shade and back again on a good few occasions.
After 8 miles the road turns away from the river and you head uphill towards Sedbergh.
From the small Dales Town of Sedbergh you continue along the A683 through another valley bottom that has stunningly dramatic hills to the left hand side of the road - the type of hills that you see tracks heading off to who knows where, and at that point really wish you had a bike that you could hit the green lanes on and go on a different type of adventure.
The road bends to the right at Low Haygarth and from this point you are on an ascent up to the tops at over 300m above sea level onto some great roads that have great views of the northern Dales as you hit lefts and rights over the hill top.
On the tops you will come to a cattle grid, it is at this point that the other old favourite comes into play - Sheep avoidance!! This only lasts a couple of miles before the next cattle grid, and on down the hill to the T junction with the A685.
A short down hill ride brings you into the small market town of Kirkby Stephen. You can either stop here or push on to Hawes - this is my usual choice as "the chippie" in Hawes is too good to miss.
If you choose to stop here there are a number of shops and pubs, with parking at the market square.
From Kirkby Stephen to Hawes is the narrow but great B6259 - a single width road with pulling in places to allow opposite direction traffic by.
This road runs through the adjacent valley to the hilltop that you have just ridden up, giving you views to your right of the heights you were just at as you headed north.
Now in a southerly direction the pace will have slowed a touch to allow for the tightness of the road that snakes it's way along the valley bottom past the ruins of Pendragon Castle and on towards Aisgill.
If there has been some rain in the lead up to your ride there is a great photo opportunity at Aisgill falls. Just as you cross the railway bridge and the road bends left you will see the falls on the right. There is a small gravel pulling in spot that you can get a bike or bikes into for a cheeky photo before carrying on south to Hawes.
Just beyond the falls the road widens to 2 way traffic before crossing the railway once again and heading to the T junction with the A684 at the Moorcock Inn. A left turn at the Moorcock Inn and there is 5 great miles of flowing bends into Hawes.
Once rested and fed this RIDE leaves Hawes back in the same direction that you entered the town, this time however you are following the sign for Ingleton and turning left on to the B6255 as you leave Hawes.
This has to be one of my personal favourite riding roads. It is quick and flowing, has ups and downs, great views and there is nothing but stunning road and amazing scenery between Hawes and the mandatory photo spot at the Ribblehead Viaduct.
Photos of bikes sat proudly in front of the Victorian railway structure that sits at the base of the mighty 736 meter Whernside mountain, the highest of the Yorkshire 3 peaks are almost mandatory for bikers riding this route - and why the hell not, it is a great photo!!
Following your bike's photo shoot it is off again and immediately turning left for Horton-in-Ribblesdale and Settle.
This last section is extremely winding and a lot of fun without needing to go nuts with the throttle, lefts follow quickly by steep ups and off camber rights as you traverse the right side of the valley around the natural contours. If you get the chance to look up into the distance here, you get to see the distinctive western face of Pen-y-Ghent, the smallest of the Yorkshire 3 peaks - So there, at this point you can say you have done the 3 peaks and breezed it!!
The bends keep coming through Horton-in-Ribblesdale & Stainforth and all the way back into Settle market square and the end of this brilliant RIDE!!
We would like to thank Mick Sheldon for sending his RIDE in and look forward to seeing people taking up this route and any variations of it in 2019 and beyond!!
If you have a RIDE you would like publishing please get in touch with us and we can make it happen!!