A scenic ride starting in the village of Airton and taking in stunning views around Malhamdale, including the famous Malham Cove.
The ride provides some interesting and diverse riding. There’s a fairly long tarmac start with a killer climb up Cove Road from Malham village towards Malham Tarn, but with spectacular limestone views back on yourself into Malhamdale and the Southern Dales.
The ride continues along a beautiful section of The Pennine Bridleway past Malham Tarn then onto a short section of Mastiles Lane bridleway, a Yorkshire Dales classic trail, ending with a final downhill from Weets Top down Calton Moor and back to the start point in Airton. A fast, quite long but none too technical downhill, with more great views and an excellent section to end the ride on.
Whilst its reasonably easy non technical riding throughout the ride, what it lacks in speed and technical adrenaline it more than makes up in mind blowing scenery, you get your highs in different ways on bike rides like this, go to a purpose built trail centre if thrills and spills are the only thing you’re looking for. It was quite a cloudy day when we mapped it, we are looking forward to returning to this route in hot sunshine (when it eventually arrives), which will really do it justice.
Take care on the first tarmac climb out of Malham and don’t burn out, it’s about as steep as you get in the Dales and not for the faint hearted. The route can be lengthened into a full days riding by combining it with other routes on our site. Use our Mountain bike route planner to combine rides.
Total Distance: 15.4 Miles
Total Climbing: 3733.6 ft
Time: 2.23 hrs
Off-road: 9.4 mi
On-road: 6 mi
Climbing Distance: 3.8 mi
Descent Distance: 4.4 mi
Flat Distance: 7 mi
Terrain: Tarmac, hard track, bridleway, some muddy sections.
Start Point: Airton near Malham.
- From Airton village follow the road to Kirkby Malham, then Malham. Then a slight left following the Cove Road (just past The Buck Inn) in Malham village towards and past Malham Cove on your right.
- Straight on at the first tarmac junction towards High Trenhouse and Malham Tarn
- Right at the tarmac junction towards Malham Tarn.
- Look out for a gated bridleway on your right (Pennine Way), continue through this.
- Right towards and past Malham Tarn Field studies Centre, it appears to be a private road, but it has rights of access.
- You should now be cycling on the Pennine Way with Malham Tarn on your right
- Bridleway hits tarmac, left towards Kilnsey.
- Through the gate onto bridleway, straight on towards Kilnsey, descend to and over a stream, climb and onto Mastiles Lane bridleway.
- Right, through the gate on Mastiles lane towards Weets Top, through the field and hit tarmac (Smearbottoms Lane).
- Smearbottoms Lane turns into Hawthorns Lane, look out for the right turn and steep bridleway climb to Weets Top
- At Weets Top, take in the magnificent view, and bear right following sign towards Calton.
- Descend Calton Moor until you hit tarmac (Kell Syke Lane) and bear right.
- Right onto Calton Lane and a short ride back to the start point at Airton.
Food & Stuff
Very little in the way of shops on route, its nearly all very remote highland. A couple of miles into the ride is Malham village home of the impressive Malham Cove a huge natural limestone amphitheatre shaped cliff, very impressive and well worth a visit.
Malham village has a couple of hiker and walker friendly pubs, a post office and a grocery shop. The Beck Hall Cafe at Malham has a quaint outdoor tea garden with a gorgeous and clear running beck running through it, perfect to cool tired feet.
Airton, the start and end point of this route is a real hidden gem, seen by most tourists as a passing place on the way to Malham Cove, The River Aire runs through the bottom of the village and we ended our bike ride chilling by the river with a BBQ. Beats nipping to the shop for a butty any day.