Today took a longish ride from Hawes which touched on Wensleydale, Widdale, Dentdale and Garsdale. Its a variation of a ride posted sometime ago, a bit shorter by taking the direct route onto the Cam Road rather than going via the Roman Road above Butersett.
Distance: 21.5 miles
Time: 3 hours
Mainly off road, some tough climbs made up for by a great off-road descent to Newby Head and a steep drop down to Garsdale Station on the Coal Road.
The only changes to this route from the original route (MTB Touching 4 Dales) is the first part of the ride from Hawes.
Starting from Hawes, for example in the National Parks Car Park near Stage1Cycles. Turn right on to the one way system in Hawes and head on the road towards Ingleton. This is signposted at the top of the Town just past the petrol station, heading left up the hill past the Youth Hostel. After about half to three quarters of a mile head left pretty much at the top of the hill and take the unsignposted bridleway, a rough track going up the hill.
This track just carries on steeply up the hill until it levels out after a gateway. The track up here was resurface about 2 years ago and is not musch easier pedalling than it was. However the track here becomes really steep and at one section pretty rocky to be prepared to walk a section or two depending upon your fitness. Once at the top of the hill it levels out and skirts around the edge of Snaizeholme, giving some great views of the dales. Also be aware that this track can be used by alot of 4x4s and motorbikes as well as walkers doing the Pennine Way, of which this last few miles is part of. Eventually (its about 5.5 miles from the centre of Hawes you will come to Cam Top and a single track tarmac road, where you will see the Pennine Way sign.
Here keep right on the road and after another 1/4 mile you come to set of gates and a cattle grid. Just before this is a field gate and a signposted Bridleway to the right Newby Head Road 2.5 miles. Go through the gate and follow the track across the top of the Fells, the track starts to become gravelled. You start to descend and pass though a small gate.
From here is a great fast gravelled descent down to Newby Head at the top of Widdale. Have fun down here. This eventually gets you to the main road (B6255), cross over the road taking the junction to Dent. After another half mile you will see another bridleway climbing up to the top of the hill to the right, I think signposted Arten Gill Moss 1 1/4 mile. This is a pretty long and strenuous climb, but from the top the views are great down Widdle and back to Inglebrough. the track eventually turns grassy before another small descent to a crossroads of tracks. Stone House/Widdle/Newby Head and the Coal Road. This time go through the gate and up the hill towards the Coal Road 2 miles. After this first short sharp climb the track again levels out and there can be some great views of Dentdale and its railway and viaducts. You will be able to see the Yorkshire 3 Peaks and the track takes you above Dent railway station, before joining the Coal Road. Again turn right and now the rest of the route is on the road. This first section towards Garsdale takes you past Garsdale railway station and is very steep in places so watch for cars.
Once you arrive at Garsdale railway station and have passed under the railway look out for the bridleway sign. Its just after the row of station houses and again is to the right and through a small gate. This takes you behind the station and then underneath Garsdale Viaduct, which is a great sight. Unfortunately, we are back at the main road, but it could be an excuse to pop in to the Moorcock Inn for a stiffener! (Altough closed due to COVID-19 at the moment) Now its about 6 miles back on the road to Hawes!