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Kilnsey – Hawkswick Cote via Mastiles Lane

What can we say about Mastiles lane that hasn’t already been written. Never heard of it? Where have you been? Probably the most renowned of bridleways in all of the Yorkshire Dales BUT we recon this route is a gem. A seriously interesting tour round the flanks of High Mark with superb riding on almost guaranteed solitary fine track. Incredible views into Littondale from the heights of Hawkswick Cote on this ride. Do it, you won’t be disappointed.

Mastiles Lane was once part of an important long distance monastic route linking the estates of Fountains Abbey in the northern Lake District with Pateley Bridge.

This route actually starts in Littondale but with a majority of the riding is in Malhamdale and a long stretch on Mastiles Lane.

There’s even a fine pub, the Tennants Arms at the start point in Kilnsey if you fancy a quick pint. We did and it makes climbing Mastiles Lane so much more interesting.

We tackled this last summer and hooked up with some older bikers. Ones guy was 73, on a road bike and got three quarters of the way up Mastiles Lane, now that’s a challenge!


Total distance 13.3Miles
Grin Factor

Total Distance: 13.3 Miles
Total Climbing: 4314.3 ft
Time: 2.29 hrs

Off-road: 11 mi
On-road: 2.3 mi

Climbing Distance: 3.6 mi
Descent Distance: 4.3 mi
Flat Distance: 5 mi

Terrain: Limestone bridleway, some single track, grassy moorland, steep descent at the end of route.


Elapsed TimeMoving TimeDistanceAverage SpeedMax SpeedElevation Gain

The Route

Start Point:  Kilnsey – anywhere on the B6160, near the Tennant Arms pub. We used to start this at Malham Tarn, but Kilnsey is the lowest point in the ride so makes for a better ride.

  • From the Tennants Arms pub, left and climb onto Mastiles lane It’s a long straight green lane run so no navigational issues but the challenge is the leg busting climb up the early uphill, it looks easy from the approach but believe us it’s a killer, definitely doable and not technical though.
  • About 4  miles along Mastiles lane.The track descends and crosses a ford, continue as the track begins to climb. Stick with it until the gradient levels out and you hit a gate (over which is Malham Tarn). Turn right before the Gate and take the long but fairly steady climb to Hawkswick Cote taking note to look back at the stunning views.
  • There’s a grin inducing descent with amazing views into Littondale from the highest point. Pretty much downhill all the way home.
  • Right onto tarmac (B6160) to your start point at Kilnsey.

Route Photos

Kilnsey - Malham - Hawswick Cote Bike Route
From the tennants arms pub turn left and climb towards Mastiles lane.
Kilnsey - Malham - Hawswick Cote Bike Route
Left - leave tarmac continuing on Mastiles lane.
Kilnsey - Malham - Hawswick Cote Bike Route
Mastiles lane in the distance (gulp).
Kilnsey - Malham - Hawswick Cote Bike Route
Climbing Mastiles lane. Always better in the rain.
Kilnsey - Malham - Hawswick Cote Bike Route
Incredible view behind you.
Kilnsey - Malham - Hawswick Cote Bike Route
Cross water.
Kilnsey - Malham - Hawswick Cote Bike Route
Turn right just before reaching Malham Tarn and continue to climb.
Kilnsey - Malham - Hawswick Cote Bike Route
Follow signs towards Arncliffe Cote. It's downhill all the way home.
Kilnsey - Malham - Hawswick Cote Bike Route
Right onto b6160 back to Kilnsey.
Kilnsey - Malham - Hawswick Cote Bike Route
Tarmac past Kilnsey Crag on your right.

Food & Stuff

There is the Tennants arms in Kilnsey, your start/end point . Or if you fancy dropping into Malham village from the tarn and extending your route there is the Buck Inn, a well known hikers bar that offers pretty good pub lunches local beers etc There’s also a  small confectionery type shop in Malham.

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