TWC Hidden Rides: Barbondale, Yorkshire Dales - Total Women's Cycling

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TWC Hidden Rides: Barbondale, Yorkshire Dales

Hannah sets out to uncover hidden rides around the UK

Words by Hannah Reynolds on Twitter and Instagram

We all get to a point when we fancy something a little different. We all know of popular bike parks and trail centres which offer concentrated fun and convenience, but what about hidden trails that lie just a little further beyond?

Hannah Reynolds has been out and about, chatting with fellow riders who offer a glimpse into their favourite trails around the UK.

Check out our Where to Ride MTB archive here

Name of rider: Emily Baldock on Twitter  and Instagram
Favourite ride: Barbondale, Yorkshire Dales

How did you find it?

I grew up near here so I’ve always known about this valley and used to come walking here with my family as a kid. I didn’t get into cycling until I was at Uni in Manchester, Barbon was one of the places I went to ride my first ‘proper’ road bike.

What makes it special?

As you climb the first very steep section out of Barbon village you don’t really know where you are heading and there isn’t much of a view but as you keep going it starts to open out to this beautiful peaceful valley.

The sides are really steep so it feels secluded at the bottom, it’s like your own hidden valley. As you ride up alongside the stream, you are sheltered by the sides of the valley and there isn’t much on the road except sheep. When you near the top you start to see the most spectacular view of Dentdale and the hills beyond.

It’s always worth pausing at the top for a quick photo. It looks different in every kind of weather; sunset is beautiful in the summer but in the winter with a dusting of snow on the fells it looks magical.

The descent is a tricky corkscrew that finishes on a little stone bridge so you need to take it easy on the way down!

Why ride it?

It’s not especially high or hard, the hardest part is the start out of Barbon village where it gets to nearly 20%, but because of that it is my go-to choice for relaxed rides with friends. For a really chilled out ride, we’ll start with a coffee in The Church Mouse café and stores before we start the climb.

How to ride it

Start in Sedbergh, 5 miles from junction 37 of the M6, and follow the road toward Kirkby Lonsdale. After 8 miles take the left turn for Barbon, riding up through the village past the church. After the climb, you will descend into the next valley called Dentdale, from here you can continue your ride toward Dent or return to Sedbergh. If continuing on make sure your plan your route carefully as there aren’t that many bailout routes once you are committed to a bigger loop!

Kit Tips

It’s high enough that it can be chilly on the top and for the descent so take an extra layer. Be careful of ice and frost if it’s a cold day. It’s not mega steep but you’ll need relatively easy gears, particularly for the first part.

So, how about it? Pop Barbondale in the Yorkshire Dales on your road bucket list, we already have…

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