Friday, 31 October 2014

Nidderdale in Autumn




Contents.

I have the fortune of regularly visiting Nidderdale in North Yorkshire and have posted a number of blogs about it to date, including multiple cycle route videos and an attempt at a fuller guide. There are lots of photos of the stunning scenery along the way as well as the videos and mapping.

This October I revisted with the aim of getting a much higher quality video of a variety of routes I'd not yet tried. I've also included the new Nidderdale Greenway starting in Ripley and trying the routes to Knaresborough and riding in the town itself. This I've written up separately.

I was rewarded the day I arrived with glorious sunshine. Sadly, I didn't have time to get much riding in and just did a short Pateley Bridge to Wath circuit, passing The Sportsman at the most northerly point (yellow on the map). After that, with more inclement weather, it was a trip up to Coldstone Cuts beating a couple of 20% inclines and some rough downhilling (red and purple on the map). And a final trip up to Ramsgill, home of The Yorke Arms, to show even travelling along the valley can have some challenges (blue and orange on the map).

Note that riding in wet weather is far from unpleasant. If your only experience of wet weather is from the inside of a car or house, you lack any knowledge of how easy and fun it is to be out in it. When riding, walking, or just being out in it, your activity becomes your central heating (without the quarterly bill), and the endorphins created ensure you remain happy (without the presciption costs). If you take outdoors activity as something to be moped about, you'll do the same indoors. Also, after being outdoors you CAN eat cake.


View Nidderdale Oct 2014 in a larger map

A Quick Guide to the Icons on the Map.

  • Pateley Bridge High Street: A thriving small town with many independent shops supplying great locally sourced food and including the oldest sweet shop!
  • Toft Gate Café: on Trip Advisor with reviews including "service has been excellent", "food was excellent", and "scenery is breathtaking"
  • The Yorke Arms: it's website describes it as "Michelin starred Yorke Arms is one of the UK's leading Restaurant with Rooms."
  • The Sportsman: It's website has quoted "The continuing popularity of The Sportsman’s Arms is proof that a personal recommendation is worth any number of stars or rosettes in a guide book."
  • Coldstone Cuts: it's website has quoted "Stimulate your senses and explore your wilder self at Yorkshires biggest and highest public artwork."

The Cycle Routes.

The videos are all now HD and most have rear windows as well. A combination of a new GoPro 3+ and my old Canon Ixus 105 using Adobe Premiere Elements to combine (although if anyone knows of a more intuitive piece of software, please let me know!). If you don't like the soundtrack (I like upbeat & energetic!), turn it down and switch on the radio/internet/media player track of your choice. Skip forward if you want, there are some good bits and some less good. It is worth making these clips fullscreen to get all the detail they show.

Pateley Bridge to Wath Circuit (yellow).



Click on the square box bottom right to get full screen, well worth it!

This starts down Pateley Bridge High Street showing this small town is just so vibrant. Whether this is due to the lack of any big chain supermarkets anywhere nearby is up to your imagination. Crossing the Nidd at the bottom end and you move into Bridgehouse Gate in the Beweley parish (from Low and High Bishopside parish) and the showground and the recreation ground. Turning up the valley starts to show some of the Autumn colours in the leaves. Passing the school and we're getting out of town.

At 1:22, The Bridge Inn appears on the left next to the bridge over Foster Beck (Or Ashfold Side Beck). Just after this the turn up to Heathfield appears on the left which I come down on the "Ramsgill to Pateley Bridge via Heathfield" clip below.

As a side note, see what road position I'm using here. This is a narrow two-lane road where there is no space to overtake me if there is oncoming traffic. I take Control (or Primary) position as a result. This means I'm helping people driving to understand there isn't space to squeeze through, they need all of the other side of the road. Note that at 1:33 a Landrover appears behind me, waits for a space and then passes when it's clear. I help by indicating I'm slowing down and pulling a bit over as the road becomes clear with full visibility. You don't have to do this, but being pragmatic, it's always good to be polite to others!

After a few bends and dropping back down to the river, at 2:19 it's a right turn up and over the Nidd again. Almost immediately the village of Wath, with The Sportsman, appears ahead. The road has become a narrow single lane road, cosily nestling between two stone walls. Houses and cottages are clothed in the same stone, juxaposing the yellow, red, and green of the nearby oaks and lush grass.


Wath in warmer times

At 3:00 the first real hill challenge of Pie Gill Green Hill starts. It's not very far but does get me down to my lowest gears. At the top there's a left which heads up to High Bishopside Moor which has some very challenging water drain crossings, even for a car. Still, got to get the water off the road somehow!


Wath Lane View in warmer times

The leavy lane flattens out giving majestic views across the valley, sadly not visible from my camera position even with the reverse view taken out. After a speedy slight drop at 3:58 the bottom of the bottom half of Silver Hill comes into view. This is registered on Ordnance Survey maps as being over 14% and does really challenge. Again not for too long and at the top there's a left to the top part of Silver Hill. This is much more challenging going up to nearly 20% for quite some time! Missing it this time and slowly descending, again through yet more stunning views, the start of north east Pateley Bridge looms into view.

Just in town, at 4:55, Bishops Garth goes to the left allowing a route through the estates to get to the bottom of Old Church Lane Hill and allow a full run back through the High Street.

At 5:08 I go along a path connecting estates. Please note that it's illegal to ride along footways (as per the 1835 Highways Act). A footway is what we call pavements nowadays. Paths between roads are not included in this law. It's perfectly possible that this path is covered in local bylaws but it needs signing if so. Whatever, if riding please always take great care around people walking and when emerging back onto roadways. (Also note that almost certainly all the cars parked on the pavement just after here have broken the 1835 Highways Act.)

At 5:16 turning right onto the bottom of Old Church Lane Hill will allow a full run back through the High Street. Just after there's the left turn into the estate opposite with access to the path up to Panorama Walk.

And finally back into town with the thoughts turning to the variety of outlets to get restoration of the calorific burn just made, cafés and pubs to mind.


Pateley Bridge to Coldstone Cuts via Peat Lane (red).



Click on the square box bottom right to get full screen, well worth it!

This starts down Pateley Bridge High Street showing this small town is just so vibrant. Hmm, again, lack of any big chain supermarkets? Crossing the Nidd at the bottom end and you move into Bridgehouse Gate in the Bewerley parish (from Low and High Bishopside parish) and the showground and the recreation ground. Keeping on going up the road and the bottom of Greenhow Hill looms.

Greenhow Hill consists of 2.5 miles of narrow winding B-road climbing just short of 300 metres with 4 sections over 14%. This sounds like a great challenge until the mix of a good smattering of medium to heavy lorries, fast cars, tractors are thrown in. Then it's just somewhere to avoid to me. Both up and down.

Turning left towards the centre of Bewerley village makes for a much more pleasant ride. Well, a lot less traffic at least, there's still 300 metres to climb!

Although the climbing is essentially always there, it begins in earnest at 0:40 just before the centre of Bewerley. Slightly depressingly, there's a short drop through the village and just after before the main climb of Peat Lane begins at 1:16. Great views up to Two Stoops up the Fosse Gill valley to the left. This is where you offer thanks that you are not going up Two Stoops (or Yorke's Folly), mainly as that's walking for me. And then there's that, again slightly dispiriting, drop down to false teeth bridge (there's some buried in the road surface!).


Peat Lane

Now is when your metal is tested. If you look at the houses on the right, you can get some idea how steep the road is right here. Then a couple of corners with crunchy acorn shells underneath to really take your grip away. And it's getting steeper. Finally, at 2:27, there's the sweet relief of just 12%. The corners section has been challenging you up to 20% so this seems easy in comparison, even if your lungs are still bursting.

Trying to catch all of your breath back, you meander along for a short while, turn a slight corner and a wall confronts you. Again, it's pedal to the metal with an all out push up to the top of the visible route, again up to 20%. Unfortunately as you get to that corner, there's more road stretched out before you in a more vertical manner than appreciated. If you can't see the incline, look at the gate to the left at 3:29.

Finally, at 3:55, the route relents. Looking back you realise the last 400 metres have been at 17.5% average and has taken you up 25% of the total climb in just 7% of the total journey. Of course you would think you'd think that, but no, you are thinking "must ..... keep ..... breathing ..... heart ..... about ..... to ..... burst". After a little while the 10% incline gets nearer 5% and other brain functions kick in.

The first section of the top includes a series of shorter trees interspersed with farm buildings balanced next to upper gills running with peaty moor water. Then these give way to the true moor. Views across to Coldstone Cuts start to appear and, at over a mile away it seems small but slowly it registered that it must be enormous. To the right is the building that must be the Toft Gate Café with it's obvious great views all the way down Nidderdale.


Coldstone Cuts Skyline


There is a last push to get to the Coldstone Cuts entrance but by now it's seems like riding up anything is possible.


Coldstone Cuts

Coldstone Cuts to Pateley Bridge via Eagle Hall (purple).



Click on the square box bottom right to get full screen, well worth it!

Leaving Coldstone Cuts and heading up towards Greenhow seems a little foolish given earler statements. However, once on the main road, it's clear that the road is now wide, straight and with plenty of visibility. Even with lorries and cars passing they have enough space to give a wide berth.

After doing the final 30 metre climb, turning right at 1:12 in the Coldstone Fold valley is a small relief. The road drops away sharply and a strong stop is required not to miss the bridleway turn to the right. I suspect this is gated not just to stop wandering livestock but as a disincentive to use this route back into Pateley Bridge. I note that the route is rough for a little while, then gets back to good ole tarmac.

There's plenty of great view from here, good in this weather and stunning in sunshine. A few rainwater drain culverts need special attention. Avoiding going over the highest part of these very important on a bike! By the time the tarmac runs out again at 1:58, a descent of 100 metres has already happened since the top turn.


View down Foster Beck valley

The track gets pretty thin here, more resembling a path and giving a reason to not come up this way. A final gate leads to a more substantial track and back onto tarmac. With the tarmac returns the bigger drain culverts as rainwater cannot penetrate it to leave and runs down it much more than the previous track.

Whilst meandering around at 2:43 it becomes clear that it's not so much a hill but a fairly flat area on the top of a ridge. This rises slightly before descending all the way through Ladies Riggs. Strangely there seem to be a lot of added speed bumps. There isn't anything but local farms here, so it's purely local traffic. A bit odd that neighbours need to tell each other to slow down in this way. The last part of this ridge descent goes through the woods near Eagle Hall.

Finally at 4:09, the left turn back onto the B-road just above Bridgehouse Gate appears. As it's quite twisty still but not far into town, I stick to the road but again use Control (or Primary) position. A car does appear behind me, but soon can't keep up with a much more manoeuvrable and smaller bike in the roadspaces available.

Coming back into town at 4:25, turn left up King Street leading past yet more businesses and up past the police station and the offices of Nidderdale Plus and towards the back lane to Wath. This route can be used as an alternative start to the Pateley Bridge to Ramsgill via Silver Hill (blue) below.

Pateley Bridge to Ramsgill via Silver Hill (blue).



Click on the square box bottom right to get full screen, well worth it!

This starts going up Pateley Bridge High Street, looking busy, even in the rain. The High Street is steep but not too bad. Then Old Church Lane Hill does make it a mite tougher (coming down is fun, though). Turning into Springfield Way gives a route through to the back road to Wath.

At 1:06 I go along a path connecting estates. Please note that it's illegal to ride along footways (as per the 1835 Highways Act). A footway is what we call pavements nowadays. Paths between roads are not included in this law. It's perfectly possible that this path is covered in local bylaws but it needs signing if so. Whatever, if riding please always take great care around people walking and when emerging back onto roadways. (Also note that almost certainly all the cars parked on the pavement just after here have broken the 1835 Highways Act.)

At 1:17 turn right out of Bishops Garth onto the back road to Wath. As an alternative start to this route use the last 55 seconds of the Coldstone Cuts to Pateley Bridge via Eagle Hall (purple) clip which joins up with this part of the this video.

The first 3:29 of this clip is the reverse of the last 3:26 of the Pateley Bridge to Wath Circuit (yellow) which makes an interesting comparison for direction and weather, leading to a very similar journey time. So all those ups and downs seem to even out. I'd guess I ride a bit more slowly in the wet, but how much is difficult to say. If I just don't push the peak speeds quite as much it may not make much difference over a longer distance. Whatever the case, even in the grey there are some great views from this lane.

At 2:14 a right turn up the top half of Silver Hill appears, which heads up to High Bishopside Moor with a very challenging nearly 20% for quite some time! Missing it this time and descending the bottom half of Silver Hill seems quite appealing.


Wath Lane View in warmer times

At 3:09 the descent of Pie Gill Green Hill into the little village of Wath eases the legs towards the The Sportsman and the crossing of the Nidd. Once crossed the road ascends to get to the height of the water behind Gouthewaite Reservoir dam. This piece of water has some fame as it appeared in the opening credits of Emmerdale. From 4:08 the views across the water are fantastic.

The road alongside the reservoir is quite twisty and narrow. In my experience people do drive at a reasonable speed along here. Not to fast and don't try to pass on bends. I'd suggest anyone who regularly uses this road knows that oncoming traffic appears out of nowhere so don't behave riskily as a result. Again, I adopt Control (or Primary) position at times and try to help people pass of they get stuck behind me.


Gouthwaite in warmer times

The road itself is quite rough and feels like going uphill either way along the waterside. Of course the clue is that the water is flat and the road follows that, so the road isn't gaining height either way!


Ramsgill Church

Finally at 6:39, the church at the top of the water appears signalling the beginning of Ramsgill with The Yorke Arms. I stop and look at the Ramsgill brook which is one of the main tributaries of the upper Nidd. Again, stunning scenery throughout.


Ramsgill Stream


Ramsgill Stream


The Yorke Arms in warmer times


Ramsgill to Pateley Bridge via Heathfield (orange).



Click on the square box bottom right to get full screen, well worth it!

Starting at the Ramsgill brook, which is one of the main tributaries of the upper Nidd, and almost immediately passing The Yorke Arms on the left.


The Yorke Arms

After the village at 0:35, Gouthewaite Reservoir appears on the left. This piece of water has some fame as it appeared in the opening credits of Emmerdale. The views across the water are fantastic.

The road alongside the reservoir is quite twisty and narrow. In my experience people do drive at a reasonable speed along here. Not to fast and don't try to pass on bends. I'd suggest anyone who regularly uses this road knows that oncoming traffic appears out of nowhere so don't behave riskily as a result. Again, I adopt Control (or Primary) position at times and try to help people pass of they get stuck behind me.


A Lonely Tree at the Top of Gouthwaite

The road itself is quite rough and feels like going uphill either way along the waterside. Of course the clue is that the water is flat and the road follows that, so the road isn't gaining height either way!


Gouthwaite in warmer times

At 2:32, turning right is an unclassified track. It's not obvious on the Ordnance Survey and heads up to a small hamlet of Heathfield, which also lends it's name to the caravan park at the other side of the hill. It's interesting that the county sees fit to fix this track and I approve! This is a challenging incline that exceeds 15% at times (around 3:05). It seems quite different going the other direction! However the more height, the more the views across the water gets better and better!


Gouthwaite from West Wood House


Gouthwaite from West Wood House in warmer times

At 3:35 entering the woods and the incline relents a little bit. And this is certainly over half way up the hill vertically with a bit more than half distance still to cover.

At 4:22 there's a slightly strange cut through the wall between fields and a long line of pines. It feels very remote up here and pleasantly airy. And not long after glorious views all the way down Nidderdale appear.

Just after the top at 5:05, the descent starts by going through the few houses and farm that makes up Heathfield. Despite appearances, I descend really carefully covering the brakes all the way. It's wet, narrow, and every chance of oncoming tractors! Again, this seemed very different from the other direction.


Heathfield in warmer times

At 5:43 turning right back onto the valley road just before crossing Foster Beck (Or Ashfold Side Beck) and passing the Bridge Inn. Then I drop my hat! A quick retreival, whilst signalling my intentions all the way.

At 6:26 the first signs of Pateley Bridge whilst passing the school. At 6:53 the bandstand is the centre of the recreation ground.

No comments:

Post a comment