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United Kingdom

Pennine Bridleway

Guided Mountain Bike Holiday

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

7 days

Prices from

£1,425 P.P.
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The Pennine Bridleway is the longest continuous off-road biking route in the UK. This fantastic itinerary offers us the opportunity to explore ancient packhorse routes, drovers’ roads and bridleways. It’s a classic British mountain bike adventure across the spectacular terrain of the scenic Pennines.
We’ll be exploring the route from Middleton Top in Derbyshire to the Cumbrian market town of Kirkby Stephen through both the White and Dark Peak, the heart of Lancashire, the spectacular Yorkshire Dales, the Pennines and Cumbria.
We're treated to six full days of cross-country mountain biking over a variety of sometimes quite challenging mountain bike terrain.
The tour offers many challenges from both the physical and technical aspects of riding. The terrain is typical of the region, characterised by large stretches of remote open moorland. The route is virtually all off-road, with thrilling technical descents, fast swooping grassy downhills, long hardpack ascents and just a few cheeky climbs to test the legs. The trails are sometimes rocky singletrack, other times more flowing grassy bridleways.
Our trip starts with arrival into Kirkby Stephen from where we transfer to Hayfield in Derbyshire which will serve as our accommodation for the initial two nights of the trip. We ride place-to-place each day and stay at a variety of handpicked country pubs and bed and breakfasts all offering a warm welcome to tired bikers with evening meals taken either at the accommodation or nearby restaurants / pubs.
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Holiday Highlights

  • Exploring Derbyshire, Lancashire, the Yorkshire Dales and Cumbria
  • Biking the rugged North Pennines
  • Taking in the fantastic views of Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent
  • Riding through the heritage towns of Settle, Barnoldswick & Hebden Bridge
  • Sampling the thrills of the Cam High Road and Long Lane Track
  • Indulging in the tasty local ales with a hearty meal to end classic mountain biking days

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Enjoyed all the days and the fact that we were following an ‘official’ route made it more interesting. A great trip!

Nigel, North Yorkshire

Itinerary

Day 1
Arrival Kirkby Stephen - Transfer to Hayfield

If arriving by car, the meet-up point for this trip is the small Cumbrian market town of Kirkby Stephen where we end our journey a few days later and where you’ll be able to leave your vehicle for the duration on the trip. Planned arrival time is mid-afternoon, allowing us sufficient time to reach the town of Hayfield in Derbyshire’s High Peak early evening. For those wishing to travel by train, you may either arrive in Oxenholme in which case we will collect you enroute from Kirkby Stephen or directly into New Mills in Derbyshire and meet us at the accommodation which is a short taxi journey from the train station.

After checking-in, you will have the chance to get to know your guides and your fellow riders a little more during the evening meal and during which we’ll discuss the riding days to come.

Day 2
Middleton Top to Hayfield
38 Miles / 61 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,050 Metres Approx.

No need to unpack as we’ll be back here later but following breakfast we load up for the transfer (1hr) from Hayfield to Middleton Top. Situated close to Wirksworth and Matlock, Middleton Top puts us in the very heart of the White Peak and it is a gentle start to our journey as we head out along the High Peak Trail. This is classic Derbyshire scenery of expansive views, rolling hills, dry-stone walls, and pretty villages and is the perfect arena to make sure bikes as well as legs and lungs are working well!

It’s not long before we dive down off the high plateau into the beautiful deep Dales which are typical of the area and continue northwards on sections of the Limestone Way to the Peak Forest. Soon after, the gentle undulations of the White Peak give way to the rugged, rocky Dark Peak and we enjoy some fabulous flowing tracks on our way to the village of Hayfield where we stay for our second evening.

Day 3
Hayfield to Delph
27 Miles / 43 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,200 Metres Approx.

With Greater Manchester to the West and Saddleworth Moor to the East, we weave our way through the stark post-industrial landscape of the Southern Pennines. Whilst not as pretty as yesterday, what it lacks in beauty is made up for with the riding, from rocky trails to testing singletrack and restful former rail tracks that have been converted and are perfect for biking.

After passing a series of reservoirs and skirting the village of Uppermill, our final few miles of the day take us to Delph for our overnight in a comfortable old coaching inn with a welcoming restaurant and extensive gin collection.

Day 4
Delph to Hebden Bridge
21 Miles / 34 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,000 Meters Approx.

Continuing north today we have a couple of cheeky climbs to tackle before a longer downhill to Hollingworth Lake. From here the scenery and the tracks open-up to more flowing moorland sections. Ever close to the heritage of the industrial north we drop down to Summit to cross the Rochdale Canal for the first time before regaining height to Bottomley.

We soon skirt past the prominent Stoodley Pike on the High Moor track before plunging deep into the Upper Calder Valley and our overnight stop in the vibrant Hebden Bridge. Blessed with some wonderful eateries and pubs, we’ll be spoilt for choice in this lovely slice of Yorkshire.

Day 5
Hebden Bridge to Kelbrook
25 Miles / 40 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,250 Metres Approx.

Our route out of Hebden Bridge sees us on a superb woodland track climbing through Heptonstall Woods to warm-up our legs before a series of tracks sees us working our way around to Gorple Reservoir where we meet with the support van for refreshments. From here we are practically off-road for the rest of the day on cleverly sculpted tracks, some of which have been purposely built for the Pennine Bridleway.

After our break, we cross the Widdop Reservoir Dam and climb onto Black Moor where we are treated to one of the best descents of the trip! Open, flowing, a bit rough at times with a few spicy water-bar humps to tempt you airborne.

Fantastic tracks through stark yet beautiful moorland just keep on coming and by the time we meet the van again at the top of Thursden Wood we’ll be ready for a well-deserved lunch-stop.

It’s a relatively easy start to our afternoon on the Bronte Way down to the picturesque Wycoller Valley where the support van will reappear at the country park should you need a snack or three.

With the open moorlands now behind, us we follow a series of tracks through more mixed farmlands to Kelbrook and our overnight stop. We’ll be in a superb country pub with top-notch food and a fine selection of beer and wine – it’s a great place to relax and reflect on the riding so far.

Day 6
Kelbrook to Settle
31 Miles / 49 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,100 Metres Approx.

Alas, there’s no time to visit Hope Cycle Components just down the road in Barnoldswick as we transition from the rugged Northern Pennine to the spectacular Yorkshire Dales.

We start by winding up to Weets Hill to gain our first views north to the Yorkshire Dales and then spend the rest of the morning riding through scenic undulating pastureland. That said, we still manage to pick-up some tasty tracks as we pass through Gisburn Park heading into the Dales.

Time, weather and legs permitting, we finish the day’s cycling with the Settle Loop. This 10-mile loop out towards Malham Tarn is a mini adventure in itself & a fitting end to a great day’s riding.

Day 7
Settle to Kirkby Stephen
40 Miles / 64 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,400 Metres Approx.

Without a doubt we’ve saved the best till last! Today’s ride is largely within the spectacular Yorkshire Dales National Park with its iconic limestone scenery, stone-built villages and drystone walls. It’s also home to some of the UK’s best mountain biking and its remotest moorland trails.

After a few miles on road to get out of Settle, we hit the trails again with a push up Giggleswick Scar. The panoramas open up as we descend down to Feizer, Austwick, and on towards Ingleborough.

Whilst there are a few challenging climbs to reach the limestone pavements (which skirt round the flanks of Ingleborough), the views across to Pen-y-ghent from here are superb and a handsome reward for all the hard work. But if that’s not enough, the descent down to our first van stop will plonk a smile on your face!

Snack break over, we cross the Carlisle to Settle railway rolling over the River Ribble on an elaborate wooden bridge built especially for the Pennine Bridleway. From here, we head up to the Cam High Road following an old Roman Road from Cam End where we can see the iconic Ribblehead Viaduct. On leaving the Cam Road, we have a lovely flowing descent down to lunch at Newby Head Moss.

Whilst never too far from civilisation, the next section of trail has that beautiful and remote feel to it as we work our way up and around Widdale Fell and on towards Grasdale Station and the final afternoon van stop of the trip in what is one of the best locations on the trip.

Not long to go now but you’ve guessed it …we’ve a climb back up onto the fellside to reach the undulating track which leads us on to the final big downhill of the trip. Our last miles take us on a mix of track and bits of road as we work our way alongside the River Eden past Pendragon Castle and on into the market square in Kirkby Stephen where our epic ride ends! After celebrating the end of our journey we return to our vehicles, and for those catching the train we’ll transfer the group to Penrith station.

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The Cycling

Terrain

Much of the cycling takes place on the rugged moorland that is characteristic of the area, with sweeping vistas of remote countryside. The terrain is very varied, but you will encounter natural singletrack, bridleways, vehicle-width tracks and some technical climbs and descents. The trails can be rocky and loose in places. A good level of fitness and bike handling skills is required to get the best out of the trip.

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Mountain Biking Grade

1
2
3
4
5
Grade 4 : Challenging

Distances of 25-50 miles / 40-80 kms per day

For regular mountain bikers who have a good level of fitness

Routes with frequent moderate to difficult technical sections

Our grading guidelines have been carefully created based on our many years of cycling experience, as well as customer feedback from our trips. Of course, if you're still struggling to figure out where you fit on the scale, do feel free to give us a quick call and we'll be more than happy to help!

For more information about our grading system click here.

Is this suitable for you?

As well as keeping a good level of fitness you are also an experienced biker and enjoy riding more challenging trails. You usually ride most weekends and can cover between 30 and 50 miles over a full 8-9 hour day (with breaks). The routes you choose generally include more challenging 1-2 hour long climbs perhaps with sharp switchbacks and sections of large and loose rocks. You are comfortable riding most trails including sections of technical or exposed singletrack with some testing obstacles such as drop offs and steep downhills. Our grade 4 trips should suit you.

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Dates & Prices

Private Departures

Private Departures

Are you keen to only travel with your family or friends? Struggling to find the right date? Well, we can organise a private departure for this tour and tailor aspects to suit your group's specific needs. Contact our friendly team and we'll help you turn your dream into reality.

Start Date
End Date
Duration
Price p.p.
Start Date
03/09/2022
Fully Booked
Return Date
09/09/2022
Duration
7 days
Price
£1,425.00

Whats Included Tick

A) Accommodation (shared twin / double en suite rooms)

B) Meals as itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)

C) Full support service including a guide qualified in First Aid and a back up vehicle carrying spares, snacks and extra equipment not needed on your bike

D) GPX files available upon request

E) Scheduled train station transfers on arrival and departure days

What's not Included Cross

A) Personal clothing and equipment

B) Travel insurance

C) Bar bills, telephone calls, souvenirs, etc.

D) Bike & helmet rental (available if required)

E) Travel or flight costs and charges for travelling with your bike (if applicable)

F) Single room option (may be available if required)

G) Entrance fees to cultural or historical sites and visitor centres

H) Other optional activities

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The Essentials

Travel Options

The arrival and departure point for this trip is Kirkby Stephen where you will be able to leave your car for the duration of the trip.

If travelling by train we ask that you arrive into Oxenholme Train Station by 15:00 for a 16:00 transfer to Hayfield. You may also arrive into New Mills, Derbyshire by train if more convenient. Our accommodation is a short taxi journey away from the train station, or should you wish to be collected we will be able to do this after 18:30 on the initial day.

After the final ride we will transfer back to Penrith station. If you choose to depart from here you can book a train from 18:30 onwards. Train station transfers are included in the holiday cost.

Please check with us before making any travel arrangements to make sure we have reached the minimum number required to guarantee your holiday and to ensure your arrangements fit with our scheduled transfers and logistics.

Please note If you make alternative travel arrangements, which fall outside of the group schedule, there may be an additional charge for individual transfers.

Accommodation

In the UK we use good quality 3 or 4 star hotels, B&Bs, inns and family-run guesthouses that are cycle friendly, located close to the cycling route and showcase the style and hospitality of the area you are visiting.

Where possible we prioritise locally owned businesses and those offering locally sourced food, drink and speciality products. This all promotes sustainability in-line with our responsible travel policy.

All our UK trips are operated on a double/twin-share basis.

Single occupancy rooms can be provided for a supplement and are subject to availability at the time of booking.

Bike Hire

If you don’t own a suitable bike or would prefer to avoid bringing your own we have bikes available to rent. For this tour we have Giant Trance X2 27.5 full suspension XC/trail bikes with 140mm travel Fox forks and dropper seatposts.

We also have hardtail bikes available to rent. These bikes are Giant Talon 27.5 featuring front suspension, disc brakes and quality components.

If you decide to rent we can include a helmet (though always nicer to bring your own!) and all necessary spares for the trip. Please request helmets before your trip.

Should you choose to rent you are welcome to bring your own saddle with you, and if you use clip-in pedals / SPDs you will need to bring these along.

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News, Reviews & Stories

Your full guide to Pennine Bridleway

Everything you need to know about this long distance trail through the heart of the Pennines.

Yorkshire: 5 reasons to explore by bike

Home to some of the most glorious scenery, outstanding history and cycling extravaganza...

Spotlight on cycling in Yorkshire

Find out more about our extended range of cycling holidays in Yorkshire.

Reviews

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