Yesterday I took another ride from Hawes to the Moors above Askrigg and around Woodhall Greets.
The ride takes in a fair percentage of road work including one steep climb up alongside Arn Gill, but it all pays off with some great views looking down Wensleydale and a long descent towards Woodhall. After all what goes up must come down.
From Stage1cycles in Hawes come out of the car park and turn left towards Bainbridge (A684). Bainbridge is approximately 4 miles, in Bainbridge at the T-Junction turn left towards Askrigg. Right at the next junction then on a miles or so to Askrigg. Head up the hill in Askrigg and then take the turn to the left on the tight right bend. From here the road begins a long steep climb bearing right at the next junction and keeps climbing before a small welcome bit of downhill on the road. Then its back to climbing for another couple of miles.
As the road nears the top of the hill look out for a Bridleway sign on the right-hand side of the road. Stop here and catch your breath, now for some off road through the peat and heather.
The track now heads up the hill on a grassy track before it levels out on a narrow peat and heather track/path. Follow this around the edge of the hill and then drop down toward the small gate, through the gate and a quick push/lift up a small rock face.
Then its back onto the peat track, today its pretty dry and hard under tyre so the next mile or so is pretty good fun, but usually it can be pretty wet and boggy. Eventually after passing over several little streams and dips you come to the edge of the moorland. Hopefully you`ll have seen some of the Grouse, Woodcock and lapwings as you go as well as the ever present sheep (mainly Swaledale sheep).
Now you as you see the Grouse Butts the track becomes rock and hardpack and it begins to descend from the top of the fell down through a couple of gates and through the fields for a couple of miles. Towards the end is one rock steepish rocky section of track, which can be deeply rutted from the tractors. Before you join another track just above Woodhall. At this track you turn left through the gate (heading West) and after the first initail climb its all the way back to above Askrigg through the fields with the last part joining a gravel track for half a mile. Then its back down the steep road that you rode up earlier.
Just past the road junction at the Barns take the Bridleway to the right and head up the track for 3/4 of a mile or so, before turning left through a gate down a graveled farm track. This is a bridleway but isn`t signposted. Turning the corner you will see the farm and need to head through the field gate and across the filed towards the beck. Head over the ford and climb up the field to the wall corner and then keep bearing right through the next wall and then head left in the field. Eventually you will hit the farm track and then head to Helm, taking the track in front of the houses.
From here head left on the road down the hill and then at the bottom when you join the main road T junction turn right towards Bainbridge and Hawes. This time I kept on the back road to Hawes for about 4 miles before taking the turn to the left to Hawes and back to the town and Stage1cycles in the old railway station.