Family Riding. Bike Adventures
Castle Bolton Loop.
With another school holiday rapidly approaching the universal question of parents everywhere is “How do we keep the kids entertained this school holiday”?
Maybe we have the answer for you.
Why not consider turning a simple family bike ride into an adventure! Family units are such diverse packages at times it can be very difficult pleasing all ages and expectations in one activity. Could this be done on a bike ride? We felt so!
So determined to prove our theory correct, during August we took groups 12 children of all ages from 6-16 and abilities on 3 Bike Adventure Days. The challenge was to explore the local area and amenities for a whole day outside spending as little cash as possible but keeping everyone engaged.
This particular adventure follows a route in Upper Wensleydale starting and finishing at the site of Bolton Castle. It is a mixed terrain route including off and on road sections. Bikes would need to be of MTB style. It is unsuitable for road bikes. We recommend that children are from 6+ yrs old and confident on their bikes. They need to be comfortable riding with some passing traffic and able to manage simple off road techniques. However this a suitable route all year round even in winter
Start: SE 0379 9195
Bolton Castle is a great place to starting adventure due to its imposing presence on the Wensleydale Landscape. It remains within the Bolton family who’s “new” home we pass as part of this ride. There is good parking and toilet facilities this point.
Riding from the Castle exit the Village of Castle Bolton via a narrow quiet road. This is used by local traffic and there are some relatively steep descents and climbs so young children need to be monitored carefully. At the end of this road cross over through a gate and access a bridleway part of the Dalesway cycle route. Follow this bridleway through a number of gates. Caution is required at the end of the bridleway as you are required to cross a junction on a hill At this point you turn left to briefly join a slightly busy rural road. Continue along this road until you reach the turning for Preston under Scarr opposite a cemetery. Turn left into the village accessed by a short road climb, the prize for hill climbing children is a park at the top! A great free resource and a perfect 10 minute stop off. Even the teenagers lowered their guard and had a climb and a swing.
Once refreshed we set off exiting the village via a right turn at the rear of the villiage. You cycle down the scarr passing over the old railway lines. This is a manual crossing of a single track tourist railway therefore it is a good idea to check before going over the crossing. However it is infrequently used. If you are lucky you might spot a steam train. At the end of this lane you turn left re-accessing the main road and continue to the village of Wensley. Here there is a pub, The Three Horse Shoes, ( if refreshments are required) and a candle marking workshop next door which hosts demonstrations and tours throughout the year. Here you reach a busy main road junction and you are required to undertake a right hand turn. We recommend with children you do what we did and jump off the bikes and take the right hand pavement to the gate at the start of the Bolton Estate. It is a very short walk with the bikes and worth the inconvenience to keep young children safe and happy. At the gate you enter the estate of Lord Bolton who still owns and managers the Castle that we started from. You travel for approx a mile on a tarmac track past the magnificent Bolton Hall. This road is used by the estate traffic but this is generally slow moving and minimal, there is also plenty of space to move out of the way. The road then changes to a woodland track which you follow through Redmire woods At this time of year there is plenty of opportunity for bramble collecting to supplement the snack quota.
Waypoint SE 0595 9016
Follow the track until a junction. At this point the tack divides into footpath and bridleway. You will need to jump off the bikes and take the left track, a footpath that descends quickly and at times is very nobbly, this leads to an ideal lunch spot. (bikes can be safely locked at the top or taken with you on foot)
Once down the hill you will reach a gated field with a river running parallel. This proved to be a perfect picnic spot for the kids. It has lots of interesting limestone features to clamber over and explore and on a hot day paddle. Please note we went at a particular low river level and the children could safely access the water. (Children should be closely supervised at all times near water and entering fast flowing cold water is extremely dangerous and not recommended.)
After we had paddled and picnicked we retraced our steps and returned to the junction. We took the right hand marked bridleway which leads to a gated wide track that passes past a farm. Here it joins a gravelled road that leads into Redmire Village past the church. At the end of the lane you take a right turn onto the main road you then have a short cycle to a left hand turn to the centre of the village.
Redmire has a number amenities telephone, shop (hours variable) and a pub. Therefore and ideal pit stop point if it is too wet to picnic or you are in the need of a packet of crisps to encourage young legs to the next point, Continue on the road through the houses at the rear of the village and onto our second park stop. This proved another great 10 minute stop perfect for all ages!. Rejoin the road and cycle up a tarmac hill, this can be a challenge for very young children but our brave 6 year old managed with encouragement. Here you take a left turn rejoining the first road back to the village and Bolton Castle. All the kids were energised by the site of the Castle and sprinted to their destination. At this final point you have a number of options depending on time or budget.
We decided to allow the children to let off steam around the small maze and enjoy an ice-cream. Access to the gardens is £3 there are also birds of prey demonstrations and wild boar to watch. included in the price The cafe in the castle can be accessed without any charges and serves a range of light meals and cakes.
Did we full-fill our challenge of turning a bike ride into an Adventure
I think so?
For more information about family friendly routes pop in store and pick up one of our leaflets.