Locations to Ride: The North

From the north to the south, over the next couple of months we will be releasing a series of blog posts based on the best locations to ride in the country, highlighting each point of the compass with different cycle routes we’d like to recommend. With our first post we’re starting with the picturesque heights and valleys of the north.

The North Pennine Circular

The stunning scenery of the North Pennines are no mystery, which makes it an easy contender for a great riding location. With a number of different routes available – from 14km to 34km, there’s a variety of ways to view the gorgeous panoramic views, with the possibility of return visits in the future. 

A number of surrounding businesses offer cycle hire if needed, plus there are routes specifically catering for mountain bikes, electric bikes, leisurely forest roads and a technical single track. If you enjoy history, keep an eye out for the 17th century bastle house Rowantree Stob! Plenty of refreshments and stops along the way means that your ride can be made as leisurely as you’d like.

Derwent Reservoir

Starting at the historic village of Blanchland and continuing through the picturesque Derwent Valley, a loop of the Derwent Reservoir can be up to 18 miles with some stunning views of the reservoir. A relatively flat route with little to no traffic, however a mountain bike is advised for some of the tricker terrain.

There are also some opportunities for bird spotting (particularly birds of prey) and this ride is known as a good winter route as it doesn’t get too muddy in the later months.


9.4 miles and a 2 hour ride over the Swaledale Moorlands, Langthwaite offers a few challenges in its steep ascents and descents. Though it can be tough, the climb eventually reveals stunning scenery all around – a sweeping view of the surrounding moors. Make sure you have good brakes beforehand however, the following descents are fun but eye-watering!

Great Dun Fell

Consisting of 2,100ft of ascent and said to be the greatest climb in England, Great Dun Fell was once described by Simon Warren as ‘our Mont Ventoux’. This isn’t a climb for the faint-hearted but an excellent challenge for those wanting to practise their Alpine ascending and descending, with particular twisting roads towards the end. The distinctive radar station at the top can be spotted throughout the majority of the climb, providing a visual target for the rider.

It doesn’t lack in visuals, with gorgeous surrounding views outside the north west of the Lake District. A classic climb that rewards itself, Great Dun Fell offers both a challenge and some of the most incredible sights across the Eden Valley and the Lake District.