High Laning makes a great base for holiday cycling with a wide variety of rides and routes available directly from the campsite. We can also arrange cycle hire if you don't have a bike with you.
Dentdale is a popular destination for cyclists and sections of the dale form part of the long-distance routes National Cycle Network Route 68 and the 196-mile Lakes and Dales Loop which takes in the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and Eden Valley. The Yorkshire Dales and Pennine Cycleways both make their way through the dale.
Dentdale has also featured in competitive cycling events with world-class riders such as Connor Swift and Mathieu van der Poel taking on the Stone Rigg Outrake climb (known locally as Gawthrop/Barbon hill) in stage eight of the Tour of Britain in 2019, and the annual ultra-endurance race GB Duro (contested by the likes of Mark Beaumont and Josh Ibbett) taking advantage of the off-road bridleways on the fells above the Settle-Carlisle railway.
Most of the routes available to cyclists are on-road so you should expect some traffic, but on the whole this is usually quite light. The main Dent/Sedbergh road can become busier with people commuting from Dent in the earlier part of the mornings and returning again in the late afternoon, and also with weekend visitors during the summer months.
Cycling or e-biking the quiet back lanes on the south side of the dale provides a perfect way to explore some of the best of what Dentdale has to offer.
Eastbound or 'Up Dale'
The back lane to the east of the village (turn right at the George & Dragon) undulates as it gently climbs towards Cowgill - passing limestone kilns, woodlands and Whernside Manor along the way. At Cowgill the back lane joins the main dale road, where a right-hand turn takes you past St John's church and onwards to The Sportsman's Inn, Stonehouse and Arten Gill viaduct. Following the road further eventually leads you to the head of the dale and a short steep section up to Denthead Viaduct, with its picturesque packhorse bridge and waterfalls. As a final reward for your efforts, the return to the village by the main road is on the whole a gentle and gradual descent.
High Laning to St. John's Curch, Cowgill Circular Loop – 7.5 miles / 580ft ascent.
High Laning to Dent Head Viaduct Circular Loop – 12 miles / 900ft ascent.
Westbound or 'Down Dale'
Around 1/2 mile after heading out from High Laning towards Sedbergh, you reach a junction where a left-hand turn takes you up a short, steep climb to the hamlet of Gawthrop. Following the lane over the hump-backed bridge and continuing ahead at the junction, the lane is now fairly even before descending to the valley floor.
For the next few miles the lane meanders through the flat riverside meadows, where there's some lovely spots to picnic and enjoy the river. Then, after a few short climbs the lane descends through the ancient Scar Wood to reach Rash Bridge.
Crossing the bridge leads on to the main dale road where a left turn gives you the options of continuing to Sedbergh or visiting Farfield Mill via Milthrop, or a right turn provides a fairly flat return to High Laning after the initial short climb up Rash hill - where care should be taken as traffic may be trying to pass where the road narrows to single-file temporarily.
The back lane continues past Rash Bridge to Dent Foot chapel and Rash Mill with its restored waterwheel. After another flat section alongside the river meadows the lane steadily climbs out of the dale giving way to panaromic views of Sedbergh and the Howgill Fells to the north. Continuing past the summit bench the road descends once more to meet another junction where a right-hand turn leads downhill to the rocky rapids flowing under the picturesque Abbotsholme bridge, and then alongside Sedbergh Golf Course where the road climbs once more to reach the main Sedbergh/Dent road.
If you stay on the back lane it will eventually lead you through to the Lune Valley and the main Kirkby Lonsdale/Sedbergh road which, after a short section through Middleton, you can leave to follow back lanes all the way to Barbon village with its pub and Churchmouse Cafe & Deli (see our food and drink page). A return to Dent via Barbondale is approximately 6 miles and although the road climbs by around 850ft, it does so in relatively short sections (after the brief steep section leaving Barbon village) . Care should also be taken on the Stone Rigg Outrake/Gawthrop hill descent which is steep in places. The views along Barbondale are some of the best in the country and a picnic or snack-stop part way up at the common by Barbon Beck footbridge is a fitting reward for your efforts.
High Laning to Rash Bridge Circular Loop – 7 miles / 530ft ascent.
" " to Sedbergh Circular Loop – 11 miles / 890ft ascent.
" " to Farfield Mill Circular Loop – 12 miles /900ft ascent.
" " to Sedbergh Golf Club Circular Loop – 10.5 miles / 860ft ascent.
" " to Barbon Circular Loop – 17 miles / 1590ft ascent.
For more serious cyclists High Laning provides a starting point for many great circular rides between 30 and 50 miles. Even longer days out are easily possible and if you combine cycling with the train services available via the Settle-Carlisle railway many interesting point-to-point routes can be undertaken.
Some of our local riders' favourite circular routes are:
• Askrigg & Hawes via Garsdale and Widdale (45 miles / 3,600ft ascent).
• Kirkby Stephen via Mallerstang and Ravenstonedale (40 miles / 3,500ft ascent).
• Around the Howgill Fells via Tebay, Orton and Ravenstonedale (43 miles / 3,450ft ascent).
• Hawkshead Brewery at Staveley via Greyrigg and Garnett Bridge, Kendal and Killington (52 miles / 4800ft ascent).
• Fish and chips by the sea at Arnside via Milnthorpe, Carnforth and Kirkby Lonsdale (53 miles / 4000ft ascent).
Dentdale and the surrounding fells' network of bridleways and greenways provide many options for off-road cycling. From Dent village centre, Flintergill provides access to the 'Occupation Lane' greenway which, when followed eastwards takes you to the high valley of Kingsdale. From the south end of Kingsdale it is possible to do a nearly complete off-road circuit around Whernside, returning to Dentdale across the wilds of Blea Moor via the Dales High Way bridleway.