A winter’s tale around the Moors

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IF there’s a more invigorating way to spend a winter’s morning or afternoon on the bike than this delightful tour around the North Yorkshire Moors, then please let us know. Starting and finishing in Goathland, and taking in some belting climbs over 27 rolling miles, the route is guaranteed to raise the heartbeat and provide a seasonal test of legs and lungs.

1. From the public car park on Beck Hole Road in the centre of Goathland, turn left towards the railway station and quickly work up your own head of steam with the ascent of Cow Wath Bank. The start is tough, approaching the 25 per cent gradient displayed on the warning sign, and averages around eight per cent for over a mile. At the summit, turn left onto Beck Hole Road and descend for a mile before turning off to the right onto a track that is marked as being ‘unsuitable for motor vehicles’ for good reason. Pass between some farm buildings and keep dropping to the valley bottom, where a dilemma awaits.

2. The road crosses the River Murk Esk which, whilst easily fordable on a road bike in summer, is best avoided in winter, when it can be covered by over a foot of rapidly moving water. If you’re feeling brave, pedal through the river and ride up a short, steep slope before turning left towards Grosmont railway station. If not, push your bike over the pedestrian footbridge on the left and take a short cut through the churchyard to rejoin the route at the railway station. Turn left and after crossing the River Esk go right for the punchy 18 per cent climb up Barnard’s Road.

3. Turn left at the top of the hill and go left again at the T-junction to arrive in Egton, where the route heads sharply right around the stone monument. At the end of the road, join the A171 for 20 metres and turn left (signposted Lealholme and Glaisdale). After the short climb through Stonegate, ignore the first right turn back to the A171 and continue for half a mile before turning right towards Oakley Walls. This delightful undulating road bisects the moor for over three miles to reach a T-junction by the National Park Centre. Here, turn left on Lawns Road and in 1.5 miles go right, signposted Fryup.

4. Continue to a T-junction and go left, passing the road into Great Fryup Dale on the right to arrive in Glaisdale. Pass through the village, cross the Esk by the historic Beggar’s Bridge and dig in for the tough ascent of Limber Hill. Half a mile after the summit, turn right on Broom House Lane to drop into Egton Bridge and go right again towards Goathland.

5. There is still work to be done, however, with another gruelling haul out of Egton Bridge to Key Green. Here, go left for yet another climb to the top of the moor before enjoying the gentle drop to the River Esk and the last, thankfully short climb to the outskirts of Goathland by the Mallyan Spout Hotel. Turn left at the mini-roundabout to enter the village and return to the car park on the left.

Difficulty Rating: HHHHH

Time: 2 hours 10 minutes (at 12 mph average speed)

Distance: 27 miles

Climbing: 3,400 feet

Parking: Beck Hole Road, Goathland YO22 5NJ (£3 all day)

Public Toilets: Beck Hole Road car park

Café: Goathland Tearooms, Westmount, Goathland YO22 5AL