Shaphaw is a small but challenging hill on the Grassington road, close to Skipton. This is a fairly short circular route climbing Sharphaw and descending near to the village of Flasby. It’s also pretty tough physically. You’re either going steeply uphill or downhill. There are superb views into Wharfedale Lancashire and the Aire Valley with some very testing riding.
Not all sections are marked as bridleway, and you really should get off and walk and the 2 short sections marked as footpaths.
Many sections are pretty marshy or soft moorland so it’s definitely not a wet weather or winter bike route unless there’s hard ground frost. I have ridden this route after days of sunshine and its still wet and muddy so be warned.
The route varies from open moorland to tight singletrack in woods and works equally well cycling it in reverse. Either way, you end up with some steep climbing and descents, particularly the climb from Flasby to the summit of Sharphaw. Pace yourself.
Total Distance: 5.4 Miles
Total Climbing: 1505 ft
Time: 1.21 hrs
Off-road: 5.4 mi
On-road: 0 mi
Climbing Distance: 2.2 mi
Descent Distance: 2.8mi
Flat Distance: 0.4 mi
Terrain: Exposed. Steep grassy & marshy moorland, some rock sections, steep single track through woods.
Start Point: SD 9752 5393 – GPS N 53 58.886 W 2 02.357
Left of the B6265 Grassington Road from Skipton (Bog Lane, a tight well hidden back road to Stirton) Sharphaw is the odd looking hill staring at you from the right, There’s room for a couple of cars to park at the start of the route, it’s also fairly easy to cycle from Skipton.
- Up through the gate it’s a steady climb to the top of Sharpaw, Turn right off the farm track onto the moorland as it sweeps away from Sharphaw. Aim steadily towards the summit, the last 200 yards are pretty steep (but doable).
- After palpitating for 10 minutes at the summit (over the sty), and enjoying the superb views. Turn right down the steep incline; (looking towards Rylstone cross in the distance) this next section is the best part in our opinion, a steep muddy and pitted descent towards Flasby, where the track disintegrates into rocks, tree routes, and severe pits, steep and slippy descents. After four gates, and a field the pace slows down a little. Turn left up the tarmac when you reach the green farm shed, this turns quickly into a quarry stone track, a gentle climb. Continue through two gates into a lovely English meadow and a steep climb past the water trough into flasby woods (this section is a footpath) , through the locally known tunnel of love (a path encircled with a tight covering of trees).
- Finally a seriously tough moorland climb back onto the top of Sharphaw, and a steady descent back to the road. If you finish this route with a clean bike then you’ve been very lucky.
Food & Stuff
Nearest pub for food and drink is the Craven Heifer, (top Guinness). Failing that arm yourself beforehand with a couple of world famous pies from J Stanforth – The Celebrated Pork Pie Establishment Gargrave Road Skipton. Catch them on a good day and you won’t be disappointed (presuming you like pork pies).