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Nidderdale Northern AONB Loop - Road Route

Pateley Bridge
Nidderdale Northern AONB Loop - Road Route


Add Nidderdale Northern AONB Loop - Road Route to your Itinerary


This route is a variation on a popular local classic, and includes some of the best roads for riding in the Harrogate area.  

As the name suggests the route tours the northern half of the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) so while the route contains some challenging climbs this is rewarded with long sweeping descents and remarkable scenery.

Highlights of the Northern AONB Route include Trapping Hill which is one of our Killer Climbs of Nidderdale, and now better known as the Cote de Lofthouse in the 2017 Tour de Yorkshire.  Also along the route you will visit UNESCO World Heritage Site of Fountains Abbey and the natural wonder of Brimham Rocks.

This Route is 40 miles long and times for completion are between 2hrs to 4.5hrs depending on rider speed and stops.  For a bigger challange, combine this route with the Southern AONB Loop.

Ride Guide

The ride can be started from several places, including Masham, Fountains Abbey or Lofthouse, but we will start in Pateley Bridge, with its long stay car park in the Showground.

When on a ride that has a huge climb it’s always nice to get the legs warmed up first.  The warm up here is provided by seven mile spin along the Nidderdale valley road up to lofthouse.  This passes along the side of Gouthwaite Reservoir and then follows the River Nidd to the upper part of Nidderdale.

Now its climb time, with the infamous Trapping hill – read our climb guide for the full overview – here we’ll just say - Save your energy, it doesn’t stop.  

However once over the top the road takes a long and sweeping descent down towards the reservoirs of Leighton and Roundhill.  This is a very fast descent and for the most part open, but ride with caution as there are kinks, sharps turns and blind spots that come up very quickly.

While there is the odd climb here and there the sweeping descents remain the prominent feature until you ride into Masham, where there are a number of cafes round the market square offering refreshment.

Leaving Masham you pass quickly through three very pretty villages, Grewelthorpe,  Kirkby Malzeard and Galphay as you ride east to just outside Ripon.

Now riders get a treat as you detour through the deer park at Studley Royal, riding along the long straight road toward St Mary’s Church, if you stop and look back you will see the road points directly towards the towers of Ripon Cathedral in the distance.  The deer park is home to three different breeds of deer, the herds and populations are managed by the National Trust.

Leaving the park you will sweep down past Fountains Hall at the western entrance to the park.  Then a long climbing ride will take you up towards Brimham Rocks, which represents the last peak of the ride.  Dropping past Brimham Rocks it’s a swooping descent back into Nidderdale, with one last gradual climb before you return to Pateley Bridge.

View the Route Map

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