Wharfedale loop, West Yorkshire by Tim and Laura Moss

Wharfedale loop, West Yorkshire by Tim and Laura Moss

Tim and Laura Moss

Round-the-world adventure cyclists, Tim and Laura Moss head into the promised land of the Wharfe Valley.

There are hundreds of great routes through the Yorkshire Dales but most of them involve a lot of hill climbing. This is a cracking loop of the Wharfe Valley with just one big climb, and it’s a real beauty.

Starting from the delightful market town of Ilkley, you follow the river north before going up a short climb to Storiths, home of the legendary ‘Buffers’ model railway cafe, at Back o’th Hill Farm. The day’s main climb comes next, up Skyreholme, where you can expect distraction from the slog in the form of some stunning views.

The route gets a little busier as you head west and then north towards Kettlewell, but it’s a popular area for cycling and Ilkley is home to the UK’s largest cycling club, so drivers tend to be courteous.

There is an optional dog leg just after you turn back south, up to Arncliffe and back along Littondale. The only reason to do this is if you enjoy beautiful cycling on deserted roads. Oh, and if you push on a couple of extra miles, you can visit Katie’s Cuppas, an honesty-box tea room run by a local teenager.

Then you just have the run back to Ilkley, which takes you past Bolton Abbey, a ruined 12th Century monastery. You can’t miss it because the route takes you straight through one of its old stone arches.

Download GPX file of route 
Level of ride 
Type of bike 
Road bike