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Harrogate, Ripley, Brimham Rocks, Dallow Moor, Galphay, & Studley Royal road cycling route

Boundary stone on Dallow Moor

Boundary stone on Dallow Moor, by Hedgehog Cycling

This road cycling route starts in Harrogate, and heads north, initially on the Nidderdale Greenway to Ripley. It goes via Clint and Burnt Yates to Brimham Rocks, then on to Pateley Moor and Dallow Moor. The route continues over the river Laver to Galphay, then cuts through Studley Royal Deer Park, before returning to Ripley and Harrogate.

Starting and finishing at the cricket ground in Harrogate, it's about 43 miles.

This ride is enjoyable for two reasons. It's almost entirely on quiet or very quiet roads, so there's usually very little hassle from traffic; and it takes in some spectacular countryside, including Brimham Rocks and Dallow Moor, making it an uplifting experience.

Harrogate, Ripley, Brimham Rocks, Dallow Moor, Galphay, & Studley Royal road cycling route: map

The Ordnance Survey Explorer map which covers the ride (from Ripley) is Nidderdale, Fountains Abbey, Ripon, & Pateley Bridge (which includes a digital version of the map via the OS smartphone app):

This is a Google map of the route from, and back to, the cricket ground in Harrogate:

Harrogate, Ripley, Brimham Rocks, Dallow Moor, Galphay, & Studley Royal road cycling route: route description and photos

Ripley Lakes & Castle

Ripley Castle, by Hedgehog Cycling

Take the Nidderdale Greenway from Harrogate to Ripley. In Ripley, turn left in front of the Boar's Head, and ride along Hollybank Lane (re-surfaced in summer 2016) to Clint. Fork right on Clint Bank Lane. At the T-junction at the end, turn right up Clint Bank. There are often cattle in the fields here.

Cow at Clint, near Ripley, North Yorkshire

Cow at Clint, by Hedgehog Cycling

At the crossroads at the end of Clint Bank, where the New Inn stands, turn left towards Burnt Yates. When you reach the far end of the village of Burnt Yates, fork right on Brimham Rocks Road. This is generally a quiet lane, and it's very enjoyable to ride by bike. You have to be a bit careful where the road descends to cross Lurk Beck, on a narrow bridge under trees. As you climb away from the bridge, the road surface is smooth, because it was re-tarmacked in summer 2016.

Brimham Rocks

Brimham Rocks, by Hedgehog Cycling

At a crossroads (where Summerbridge is to the left, via Hartwith Bank, and Smelthouses is straight on), turn right, still on Brimham Rocks Road. You pass the entrance to the National Trust car park on your left hand side. Carry straight on, leaving Brimham Rocks behind, and passing the High Moor tree plantation on your right. The road reaches a T-junction with the B6265.

Turn left on the B6265 (a busier road), and head steeply down Blazefield Bank to Fell Beck and the Half Moon Inn. Immediately after the bridge over the beck, turn right right (checking carefully for traffic ahead and behind). This is a single-track road which takes you up towards the moor. You pass The Grange Farm, then Kingstone Farm, on the right. At the first crossroads, turn right. Pateley Moor is now on your left.

Skell Gill Bridge

Skell Gill Bridge, by Hedgehog Cycling

You go over a cattle grid, and descend to Skell Gill Bridge (pictured above). The road bends sharply, then there's a short, steep climb away from the gill.

Road across Dallow Moor

Road across Dallow Moor, by Hedgehog Cycling

Beyond Skell Gill Bridge, the road crosses Dallow Moor. This is perhaps the most picturesque part of the ride.

Now you reap the benefit of climbing onto the moor, as the road descends steadily off it. The landscape is a patchwork of fields. Where the descent ends, ignore the left turn to Laverton and Kirkby Malzeard, and continue straight on past Hole Trough Farm. (Isn't a hole more or less the same thing as a trough?) 

The road meets Gate Bridge Road at at T-junction. Turn left, and cross the river Laver on Gate Bridge. Ignore the sharp right to Winksley, but take the next right to Galphay.

Galphay Inn

Galphay Inn, by Hedgehog Cycling

Galphay is a beautiful village, full of charming stone houses (and half a million Range Rovers). The Galphay Inn looks lovely, and according to reviews on the web, it is a gem of a pub, so it would be a good place to make a stop for refreshments.

Leaving Galphay, Galphay Lane has high hedges on either side. It descends to Galphay Mill Bridge, where you cross the river Laver for a second time. After climbing up away from the river through woods, there's a fast, slightly downhill section as far as the junction with the B6265. 

Turn right at the T-junction. The B6265 Studley Road is quite busy, but you're only on it for a short stretch. Take the first left, signed for Studley Roger.

Arch at entrance to Deer Park, Studley Royal

The arch at the entrance to Studley Royal Deer Park, by Hedgehog Cycling

There are three 'rumble strips' of cobbles, designed to slow cars down, as you head into the village of Studley Roger. At the end of the village, turn right across a cattle grid into Studley Royal Deer Park.

Red deer, Studley Royal

Doe, Studley Royal Deer Park, by Hedgehog Cycling

In the Deer Park, there are red deer, fallow deer, and sika deer. In summer, you can see house martins and swallows too. (There's a suggested deer park walk).

Stag, Studley Royal Deer Park

Stag, Studley Royal Deer Park, by Hedgehog Cycling

The road through the Deer Park goes up towards the Choristers House (which is let by the National Trust as holiday accommodation).

Choristers House, Studley Royal

The Choristers House, Studley Royal, by Hedgehog Cycling

Just after the Choristers House is St Mary's church (built by William Burges in memory of Marquess of Ripon Frederick Vyner, and consecrated in 1878).

St Mary's church, Studley Royal

St Mary's church, Studley Royal, by Hedgehog Cycling

Beyond the church, you pass an obelisk, and exit the park via a gate. Turn left, then at a roundabout, go straight on, and at the next junction, turn left. There's a sharp left bend as the road descends to the main entrance to Fountain's Abbey.

Fountains Abbey

Fountains Abbey, by Hedgehog Cycling

Take Fountain's Bridge over the river Skell, then fork left on Fountain's Lane/How Hill Road. A little further on, ignore the left turn (Westerns Lane to Markington) and continue straight on (Watergate Road). Be sure not to do anything scandalous here, otherwise a local journalist will call it Watergate gate. At Watergate, there is a wonderfully solid, old, stone farmhouse. Watergate Road ends where it meets Hebden Bank at Raventofts Head.

Chequers Inn, near Bishop Thornton

Chequers Inn, by Hedgehog Cycling

Turn left on Hebden Bank, and ride past the Chequers Inn, Bishop Thornton Business Park, and down Scarah Bank. At the bottom of Scarah Bank, turn left on the B6165 to Ripley. From here, take the Nidderdale Greenway back to Harrogate.

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Fewston, Beecroft, & Timble bike trail

Gill Beck, Timble

Yorkshire Water has created a bike trail near Fewston reservoir. It runs from Swinsty Moor Plantation car park, through Beecroft Moor Plantation, across Rue's Lane, and up to Timble Woods; round a loop in Timble Woods, down Rue's Lane, and back through Beecroft Moor Plantation to the car park. Read about the Fewston, Beecroft, Timble woods, & Swinsty bike trail.

Studley Royal

Studley Royal, Choristers House & St Mary's church

Studley Royal Park includes the ruins of Fountains Abbey (founded by Cistercian monks in 1132; you pay an entrance fee to visit Fountains Abbey, but Studley Royal Deer Park is free).

Fountains Abbey & Fountains Hall

Fountains Hall

Fountains Abbey was founded in 1132 as a Cistercian monastery.

At the time of the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII (1539), the Abbey buildings and adjacent land were sold to Sir Richard Gresham. Later, Stephen Proctor bought them, and he built Fountains Hall between 1598 and 1604.

Studley estate

The Mallory family lived at Studley Royal from 1452. John Aislabie inherited the estate in 1693. He was involved in the South Sea Company, which failed disastrously, and after that, he devoted himself to the garden at Studley Royal. His son William united Studley Royal and Fountains by buying Fountains Abbey and Hall in 1742. (The Water Garden created by John and William Aislabie is in the paying part of the estate).

Studley Royal House burned down in 1946, but a large stable block (which dates from 1728-32) survived, and is now a private house.

The whole estate was bought by West Riding County Council in 1966, and by the National Trust in 1983.

Brimham Rocks Arch at entrance to Studley Royal Deer ParkDeer, Studley Royal