Distance: 15.8km (9.8 miles)
Total climb: 500m (1,640ft)
Time: 1hr30 to 3hrs
The Dales aren’t always as good for mountain biking as the stunning landscape and steep, rugged terrain suggest. But this route provides some good trails with stunning views, with a few tricky sections and big hills to test you along the way.
Roadside parking in Horsehouse village (grid ref SE 047/814, postcode DL8 4TT)
Horsehouse isn’t the easiest place to access. It’s along a small road between Kettlewell on the B6160, north of Skipton, and the A684 at Leyburn, to the north.
In Kettlewell there’s a YHA hostel (www.yha.org.uk/hostel/kettlewell, 0800 0191 700) and The Blue Bell Inn (www.bluebellkettlewell.co.uk, 01756 760230), among others. See www.kettlewellvillage.co.uk or www.yorkshiredales.org.uk for more options. There’s also the Thwaite Arms in Horsehouse (01969 640206). The nearest bike shops are in Leyburn and Skipton.
Maps and useful books
Ordnance Survey Landranger 98: Wensleydale & Upper Wharfedale
Ordnance Survey Landranger 99: Northallerton & Ripon
Yorkshire Dales Mountain Biking: The South Dales by Nick Cotton (Vertebrate Publishing)
Head south down the road, past the pub, for 700m, then bear left onto the road signed to ‘Arkleside only’. Cross the bridge and, after the tarmac ends, keep left at the fork. Go uphill, through a gate and onto the moors.
Follow this track up a steep hill. Bear right after 1km and drop down towards the reservoir. Keep ahead near the bottom, where the main track bears left by a stream. The signposts indicate that this trail is a footpath but it’s now a permissive bridleway.
Follow this track, with Scar House Reservoir on your left, to Angram Reservoir. Go left, across the dam between the two reservoirs. Keep left, with Scar House Reservoir on your left-hand side still. Cross the Scar House Dam at the far end.
At the far side of the dam turn left, uphill, away from the reservoir’s edge, on a cobbled track. Follow this back to the stream where you were before and go right to retrace your wheel tracks uphill and then downhill to Arkleside. Go right on the road, back to Horsehouse.
Follow Mountain Biking UK on BikeRadar, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
Subscribe to our Android edition on Google Play
Subscribe to our iPhone/iPad edition on Apple Newsstand
Subscribe to our print edition
Routes produced in association with Rough Ride Guide
MBUK Big Ride images by Russell Burton