Thursday, 27 Feb 2020

The Cleveland Hills. Traveling by Bicycle

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The Cleveland Hills
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The Cleveland Hills are the other side of the more famous North Yorkshire Moors. They form a rolling-topped, steep-sided plateau, but unlike their North Yorkshire cousins the Cleveland Hills are less well known and much quieter. Up here you won’t be competing with as many cars out for a spin, even during the summer.

Stokesley sits at the base of the hills, close to their major attractions but in the gently undulating Leven valley, so you can ease yourself into the ride. You enter the Cleveland Hills via the Hambleton Hills at their western edge, a smaller limestone fringe to the darker Jurassic block behind. The climb onto Osmotherley Moor is short but steep, because the western edge of these hills is almost a cliff face, created during the Ice Age by a glacier that pushed down between these hills and the Pennines towards the Vale of York. The steep-hill theme continues for another 12 miles to Rievaulx, and its magnificent Cistercian abbey.

The Cleveland Hills. Traveling by Bicycle - photo 1

The Cleveland Hills

Technically the ride borrows a bit of the North Yorkshire Moors now, with a loop up and down Bransdale, to its twin peaks on either side of a tiny village called Cockayne. This part of the ride is beautiful and remote; the nearest village to Cockayne is Chop Gate, three miles away over the moors but 22 miles by road. Chop Gate is in the true Cleveland Hills and you head back there after returning to Helmsley. This is great cycling country, and some of the best races in the UK are held in the area. The hills race tough but never too long, and road surfaces are generally good, too.

As you climb out of Helmsley, Newgate Bank will test your legs; then there’s a steadier climb after Chop Gate. The descent leads back to Stokesley, which is a temptation, but you head east instead towards Kildale and the last major climb. It takes you to Castleton, a small town at the confluence of the rivers that form the Esk, which winds its way to Whitby and into the North Sea.

The Cleveland Hills. Traveling by Bicycle - photo 2

The Cleveland Hills

The steep up-and-down theme continues back towards Kildale for the final act of the ride, a look at the monument to Teesside’s most famous son, Captain Cook. James Cook was born in Marton, which is now part of Middlesbrough, and he grew up in Great Ayton, where the route goes next. Cook was the first European to reach the eastern coast of Australia, and he is responsible for mapping places as far apart as New Zealand, Hawaii and Newfoundland. Roseberry Topping is another remarkable hill to be seen on the last part of the ride. Conical in shape, it’s an outlier of the North Yorkshire Moors, and it stands out for miles, dominating the ride back to Stokesley.

Head south-west on the unclassified road just north of the River Leven from Stokesley to Hutton Rudby, then turn left to Potto and ride straight for the hills. Cross the A172 and bear right to Osmotherley. Turn left at the T-junction and climb up Osmotherley Moor. Stay on this road, following signs to Rievaulx Abbey, and turn right at the B1257 junction and join the A170 in Helmsley. Continue east to Kirkbymoorside.

The Cleveland Hills. Traveling by Bicycle - photo 3

The Cleveland Hills

Turn left in Kirkbymoorside to begin the climb up Bransdale. Follow the road on a loop through Cockayne and down to Helmsley. Turn right then immediate left onto the B1257 and head north to Great Broughton. Turn right and ride through Ingleby Greenhow and Kildale, and then take the right fork to Castleton.

Keep left and to the low road around the village, take the first left after the station and then go left again to Commondale. Turn right just before Kildale and ride up to Captain Cook’s monument. Retrace and turn right, then right again and ride through Easby back to Stokesley.

The Cleveland Hills. Traveling by Bicycle - photo 4

The Cleveland Hills

Start + Finish. The Cleveland Hills: Stokesley

Getting There. The Cleveland Hills: Stokesley is on the A712 nine miles south of Middlesbrough.

Bike Shop. The Cleveland Hills: Westbrook Cycles

Cafe. The Cleveland Hills: Howards Eatery

Local Delicacy. The Cleveland Hills: Yorkshire ham

The Cleveland Hills. Traveling by Bicycle - photo 5

The Cleveland Hills

“Best 100-Mile Bike Routes”

Chris Sidwells

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3 thoughts on “The Cleveland Hills. Traveling by Bicycle

  1. This blog is definitely rather handy since I’m at the moment creating an internet floral website – although I am only starting out therefore it’s really fairly small, nothing like this site. Can link to a few of the posts here as they are quite. Thanks much. Zoey Olsen

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