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Skipton – Bolton Abbey – Addingham

An enjoyable and none too challenging bike route starting in the picturesque town of Skipton, gateway to the Yorkshire Dales. Taking in the hills and fells of Barden Moor, Bolton Abbey and Addingham Moorside.

Starting with a tarmac climb through Embsay and Eastby onto Barden Moor,  a killer but quite short climb.  Your also rewarded with excellent wide open views into Wharfedale and Craven(dale).

There are a couple of off-road sections that stand out in particular, the woodland drop into Bolton Abbey from Barden Moor and the final few miles, a climb from Addingham to the old roman Road on Addingham Moorside, descending into Skiptons Shortbank Woods, a fast and technical section (if you want it to be) with a great view towards Sharphaw and Flasby.

A highly recommended but probably best appreciated on a hot summer’s day ride, as a lot of the terrain is open and exposed with some very boggy terrain above Bolton Abbey in winter. There’s also a frustrating amount of gates to open and close on the final section above Addingham.

Note: The start point at Skipton isn’t actually in Lower Wharfedale, but most of the route is, so we listed it here.


Total distance 16.4Miles
Grin Factor

Total Distance: 16.4 Miles
Total Climbing: 4471 ft
Time: 2.26 hrs

Off-road: 9.1 mi
On-road: 7.5 mi

Climbing Distance: 4.5 mi
Descent Distance: 4.7mi
Flat Distance: 7.4 mi

Terrain: Exposed Moorland, Singletrack, Woodland, Tarmac.

The Route

Start Point:  Skipton Town Centre, The High Street.

  • From Skipton High Street head up The Bailey (A6131 past Skipton Castle) following signs for Embsay.
  • 1st Left onto Skipton Road towards Embsay.
  • Through Embsay village, left Kirk Lane to Eastby.
  • A steep tarmac climb and levels out, Lower Barden Reservoir in view on your left.
  • First right through the gate onto bridleway after the cattle grid.
  • Moorland through 3 gates, track bears left at the fourth gate.
  • Through gate into woods and follow singletrack descent to Bolton Abbey, You should see the Church office in view, part of the Bolton Abbey Estate.
  • Right B6160 following signs to Addingham, Bolton road at the Roundabout.
  • Right at the Crown Inn pub, Addingham, tarmac climb.
  • Left onto Moor Lane, shortly after the Craven Heifer pub.
  • Moor Lane to Turner Lane, bear right on the single-track which crosses the A65
  • Cross A65 and climb Moor Lane, it’s a steady climb until the road turns into a bridleway.
  • The route is straight forward from this point; continue along the ridge of Addingham Moorside following the bridleway towards Skipton. There’s a few gates to open (and close). Drop down via Skipton woods and Shortbank stone quarry onto Shortbank Road, then head down Newmarket Street back to your start point on Skipton High Street.

Route Photos

Head up Skipton high street, onto the Bailey with the church on your left.
First left towards Embsay.
Left onto Kirk Lane.
Climb Barden Moor on tarmac, head right onto the single track, straight after the cattle grid.
Over open moorland, on the 4th gate follow the path left.
Through gate and descend into woods towards Bolton Abbey.
Turn right onto tarmac.
Road through Bolton Abbey towards Addingham.
Towards Addingham at roundabout.
Turn right at The Crown pub.
Left at Moor Lane
Short bridleway, end of Moor lane. cross the A65..
Climb onto Addingham Moorside via Moor Lane.
Moor Lane turns to bridleway. a series of gates.
More gates. crossing the Silsden road.
Skipton Woods, Roman road.
Shortbank stone quarry.
Shortbank onto Shortbank road and back into Skipton.

Food & Stuff

It’s nice not to be in the middle of nowhere for a change. The village of Addingham is about halfway round, so you can stop for lunch at one of the 3 or so pubs. There’s the usual town centre stuff such as delis, butchers and fish and chips etc. Or just hang about on one of the public benches anticipating the long climb ahead onto Addingham Moorside with your own sarnis like we did.

Back in Skipton there’s Westmoreland Street for fish and chips, Walkers Bakers for top quality pasties, butties and stuff, and a choice of a few Town Centre pubs. Try the Black Horse pub on the high street for a canal view beer garden or the Woolly Sheep on Sheep Street for good food and beer in a traditional pub.

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