North York Moors

Rider: Hannah Farran

The North Yorkshire Moors offers riders of all abilities a stunning backdrop of rolling hills, valleys and woodlands as they cycle across heathland and through historic towns. Hannah Farran recommends one of her favourite routes in the National Park.

“The route starts in the picturesque village of Great Ayton (the birthplace of Captain Cook!) and is just a 1 mile ride from Great Ayton train station if you’re travelling by train. I would definitely suggest getting to the route early, around 7:30 – 08:00 to avoid the traffic as you head into the National Park. I normally do this loop in one go, but you can definitely take a more leisurely approach to it and stop off at some great views and cafes at least 4-5 times if you wanted.

“This particular route is for intermediate to experienced riders, it’s quite challenging and the inclines in the moors can be savage – but worth it for the views. It’s a ride of two halves – the first, takes you along undulating main roads, so watch out for traffic. There’s also some pinch points here down some narrow country lanes – so this is where the more experienced rider would do well. This section lasts for around 1 – 1.5 hours, until you take a sharp right on to Rievaulx Bank away from the traffic.

“Here you’ll pass Rievaulx Abbey - a monastery built by monks in 1132 and a Scheduled Ancient Monument site, which is well worth a stop for pictures. The route then follows some narrow country lanes which feature a couple of challenging steep ascents around mile 33 onwards. Here, it’s really steep and as I mentioned, the inclines are savage, but it’s the nature of the area and it’s a great challenge for an experience cyclist. Although this section will definitely get your blood pumping, I promise the views are worth it as you climb up to the top of the moors and across, and then start to head down into Osmotherley. If it’s wet, watch out for the cattle grids here. This is also a great spot to refill your water bottle or grab a bite to eat if you need it. From this point, the ride is all downhill as you make your way back into Great Ayton.”

about the rider

Hannah Farran is the manager of Team Boompods, an elite women’s racing team in the UK – run by women for women. Hannah is a passionate cyclist who grew up riding the Lake District and now lives in the North East.


beauty in the balance

The Yorkshire Peat Partnership wants to rest, replant and restore all of Yorkshire’s upland peatlands by March 2035.
Yorkshire’s peatlands currently store over 38 million tonnes of carbon.
Many peatlands are farmed with livestock which can lead to erosion and habitat destruction or burned for grouse shooting.
16m tonnes of CO2 is released from damaged peatlands every year.
Around 80% of Yorkshire’s 94,760 ha of peatland has been damaged.


what to see and do

The Captain Cook Distillery

A micro-distillery using heather from the North Yorkshire Moors just by Captain’s Cook childhood home.

Rievaux Abbey

Built by monks in 1132 and a Scheduled Ancient Monument site, which is well worth a stop for pictures.

Cod Beck Reservoir

A great place for photos in Osmotherley and an important hibernation spot for common toads impacted by urbanisation.

G&Tea House in Great Ayton

The fruit and cheese scones are freshly handmade every day.

ride guide: the who, what & where

for bike chat

Make sure you stop by the Rusty Bike Café in Swainby run by John and his kids – you’ll find cyclists of all abilities stopping off for a homemade brew here.

for repairs & maintenance

NRG Cycles is an independent bike shop in Great Ayton and Thornaby run by some of the friendliest cyclists around.

for meeting the locals

Cleveland Wheelers, founded in 1958 they have an active membership of over 200.

for a pitstop

There are plenty of great places to eat and drink along the way from pubs in Osmotherley to cafes in Great Ayton


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