A SUMMER heatwave arrived in the third week of July. So I decided to ride at altitude, to benefit from any cooling breezes, combined with a modest distance, so as not to overdo things.

My cycling friend Steve is based just outside Ripon, so we decided to meet up for this ride to reacquaint me with roads less travelled. Today’s objective is Dallow Moor, standing at over 300 metres, immediately west of Ripon. Start from Ripon market place, with several cafes to choose from. There’s a market every Thursday.

The market place is dominated by a tall obelisk, a little like Cleopatra’s needle, which serves as the towns war memorial. Also a traditional cab drivers shelter (1911). Look for the distinctive town hall, on the southern side.

Leave the market place by the traffic lights in the south western corner. Yorkshire Bank should be alongside, and the town hall over your left shoulder. Go straight ahead onto Westgate, you will see a blue Sustrans sign, route 688, The Way of the Roses (red and white roses) pointing left. Follow this onto Park Street, where you will pass the swimming baths on your left, then the Ripon Spa Hotel. At mini-roundabout, bear left onto Studley Road, in direction of Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal. This is the B6265. Take second exit at next mini-roundabout. Immediately beyond, look for the stone bridge parapets, either side of the road. You are now crossing the River Laver, which flows down into Ripon from Dallow Moor, our objective for the day.

Over the bridge, continue straight on, until you arrive at a sign for Galphay (right, four miles). Follow this sign for Galphay, and the route now becomes much quieter, climbing gently till you reach some woodland. Then a fast 11 per cent descent through the woods to cross the River Laver again by a narrow bridge.

Another climb follows into Galphay village. Keep left, turning slightly uphill. Depending on how you have timed your ride, there’s an alternative lunch stop here at the Galphay Inn. Otherwise, enjoy a breather at the bench on the village green.

Keep left from the green, following sign for Winksley. Keep left out of Galphay, along a pleasant single track lane. Give way at T-junction, where right in direction of Kirkby Malzeard (signed two miles). Give way at next junction and turn right to arrive at Kirkby Malzeard in just over a mile.

At village, take left at cross roads, signed Laverton. Head west along Main Street. Kirkby Malzeard is well provided with local amenities. There is a general store, butcher, and even a fish shop. Also the sadly closed Henry Jenkins pub. Named after a Yorkshire legend, who died in 1670 at a supposed 169 years of age. Towards the end of the village, follow the main road as it curves left, continuing in direction of Laverton.

Descend into Laverton and watch for the old river bridge through the trees on the right. At the old chapel, turn right to cross this bridge, and river Laver, for the third time.

The finger post was partly obscured by overgrowth, but indicates Pateley Bridge, our direction for the next few miles. Climb to give way at next T-junction, where right, continuing towards Pateley.

Straight ahead now for about two miles as the road gradually climbs up to Dallow Moor. The road becomes lined by dry stone walls on either side, and the heather is starting to turn purple ahead to the right. Take care at a cattle grid, where the walls stop and the moor opens out. Half a mile beyond the grid, there’s a triangular warning sign for sheep followed quickly after by an unsigned junction on the left. Take this left, to cross another cattle grid. Good views of the distant Howardian Hills (maybe 25 miles) from here.

A long straight descent follows. Through a couple of bends, (right, then left) then half a mile later, look for a farm called Redmires on the right. Ignore the dead end farm lane that follows, but take the next small road on the right. There is a proper road sign here, but there isn’t a finger pointing in the direction of right, (south) where we want to be. Never mind, just follow this single track lane (some grass and gravel down the middle; just how I like it) and it will bring you into Grantley. Bear left past the phone box and keep left until you arrive at the Grantley Arms on the left.

We enjoyed some Theakstons Bitter, soup and sandwiches, on the front terrace. The staff were very welcoming, and I can see a return trip with a different route being a distinct possibility.

After lunch, we turned right to retrace for a few yards, but then keep left in direction of Risplith and Sawley. Meeting the B6265 at Risplith, there is G&T’s ice cream cafe a few yards down to the left, in case you have not stopped earlier. Otherwise, turn right onto the B6265, but quickly fork off left to Sawley. Keep speed down as you enter the village as you need a sharp left opposite the Sawley Arms.

Another narrow road with debris down the middle. So very quiet for a mile, before left at T-junction, and descend to cross the river Skell, by Fountains Bridge, sharp left and then a short climb to the abbey access road, signed on right. Turn in here and follow the track to a roundabout.

Instead of the parking and visitor centre, however, follow a sign left indicating exit and to B6265. In just over 500 yards, watch for an obelisk, and security gate on right. This prevents access by unauthorised traffic, but cyclists can enter by a separate smaller gate alongside.

Proceed along this long straight track through the deer park. Passing St Mary’s church on your left and then the Choristers’ House. Continue straight on to pass between two cottages and crossing a cattle grid. Emerge onto a roadway where turn left through the hamlet of Studley Roger, and meeting the B6265 at a T-junction. There’s an interesting war memorial over the road. Turn right, onto B6265, and retrace into Ripon.


Date of ride: Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The map: Ordnance survey Landranger number 99 Northallerton & Ripon

The pub: Grantley Arms, High Grantley, Harrogate, HG4 3PJ. 01765 620227. grantleyarms.com

The bike: Dolan Preffisio (new this month)

Distance: 21 miles

Car parking: St Marygate, Ripon, HG4 1LX. £2 all day