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The best family friendly cycle routes in Yorkshire

Cycling in Yorkshire is massive. If you are looking for the best family friendly cycle routes in Yorkshire then you are in the right place.

Since the Tour de France in 2014, cycling in Yorkshire has exploded. Some crazy people want to experience the exhilarating hill climbs of Buttertubs Pass and Holme Moss as well as immersing themselves in the beautiful scenery of Yorkshire.

Others, like me are less about the exhilarating ride and more for the gentle pootle, safe and steady routes where we can take our kids without fear of them being in the next air ambulance!

In 2019, wanting to see more of Yorkshire and get a little exercise we bought our bikes and a seat for the little one. Not having ridden a bike for a long while and dubious with the little fella on the back we wanted stress free. Avoiding main roads, lots of traffic and ideally lots of hills, which admittedly in Yorkshire is difficult! Since then, we have enjoyed lots of family friendly cycle routes in Yorkshire. We have built up our confidence to now let our little man loose on his own bike and the newest addition to the family will be going in the seat.

Here is my round up of the best family friendly cycle routes in Yorkshire to get you started or to take the kids without the fear factor! So dust off that bike from the garage and get out exploring!

Click on the links for maps of the routes.

June 27, 2022


Nidderdale Greenway

From: Ripley to Harrogate
Length: 4.2 miles
Route: A disused railway line that has been resurfaced
Highlights: The viaduct over Nidd Gorge


From: York City Centre to Selby
Length: 14.2 miles
Route: 75% traffic free. A mix of tarmac surface on a disused railway line and quiet country roads
Highlights: The Solar System section which is a 6.4 mile section with scaled down versions of the planets at intervals along the route.

Wetherby Railway Path

From: Spofforth to Thorp Arch
Length: 6.3 miles
Route: 88% traffic free but does include one major road crossing
Highlights: Spofforth Castle


From: Woodlesford to Garforth
Length: 7.8 miles
Route: 96% traffic free. Mix of terrain along the old railway line, river-bank and canal towpaths
Highlights: RSPB St Aidens, Woodlesford Locks and the railway station to get back to the start

Cinder Track

From: Whitby to Scarborough
Length: 21 miles
Route: 100% traffic free route except a couple of small road crossings.
Highlights: Coastal views of the seal colony at Ravenscar and the perfect picnic spot at Hayburn Wyke

Spen Valley Greenway

From: Cleckheaton to Bradford
Length: 7 miles
Route: 100% traffic free and tarmac. There are some areas of single off-road track that run alongside the railway line for the more adventurous rider!
Highlights: Artwork along the trail to spot.

Hudson Way

From: Beverly to Market Weighton
Length: 10 miles
Route: 95% traffic free – 1 major road crossing with step access. Suitable for mountain bikes as unsurfaced tracks
Highlights: Yorkshire Wolds scenery

Airedale Greenway

From: Keighley to Shipley
Length: 6.2 miles
Route: 100% traffic free along Leeds and Liverpool canal towpath.
Highlights: Salts Mill and Bingley 5 Rise Locks

Leeds to Liverpool Canal

From: Leeds to Saltaire
Length: 13.3 miles
Route: 100% traffic free along the towpath
Highlights: Kirkstall Abbey, Ridley Nature Reserve and the fact that there are railway stations close by in case you didn’t want to ride back!

Wakefield Wheel Cycleway

From: Anglers Park to Nostell Priory
Length: 10 miles
Route: 90% traffic free
Highlights: Room on the Broom Trail (2 mile section anti clockwise around the lake)
Extra: there are lots more routes on the Wakefield Wheel Cycle Way which you can plan yourself but they will include sections of roads.

Malham Tarn Circular

From: Malham Tarn
Length: 4.5 miles
Route: 60% traffic free. Mix of terrain, but on very quiet roads.
Highlights: Beautiful views of the tarn, a boardwalk and animal sculptures.

Trans Pennines Trail

From: Penistone to Dunford bridge
Length: 5.7 miles
Route: 100% traffic free, mix of terrain on the line of a disused railway
Highlights: Locally crafted sculptures, a viaduct and a kids pump track and playground at Penistone

Swale Trail

From: Keld to Reeth
Length: 12 miles
Route: Mainly traffic free following a few quiet back roads
Highlights: Waterfalls at Keld. Can also complete the Viking challenge on route!

Variety of trails to do;
• A new all-weather 1.5-mile family-friendly trail is the starting point for all the other trails.
• A ‘skills area’ perfect for kids starting out
• A new all-weather 330-metre pump track
• 3-mile ‘Cliff Trail’ (green – suitable for beginners)
• 5.5 or 7.5 mile ‘Fort’ (blue – more challenging off roading)
• 10 miles ‘Drovers’ (blue – more challenging off roading)
• 17.5 miles ‘Paradise’ (red – experienced riders)

Sutton Bank, North York Moors

Dalby Forest, Pickering

Variety of trails to do;
• Ellerburn trail – A multi user pathway perfect for children learning to ride their bike. Up to 2.8miles long.
• A cycle skills area located on the Ellerburn trail. For all abilities.
• Adderstone trail – a longer trail of up to 12 miles suitable for all – green
• Jubilee trail – 6 mile single track trail with amazing views. Blue – suitable for those with basic odd roading skills
• The rest of the trails are grade red and above which are suitable for those with good off roading capability

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June 27, 2022