The best routes in Yorkshire

Wheel chair cyclist on Spen Valley Greenway South Bradford

Spen Valley Greenway near Oakenshaw, South Bradford, National Route 66

Child on bike next to waterfall near Ripley Castle on the Harrogate to Ripley Route

Near Ripley Castle on the Harrogate to Ripley route

Rusting metal sheep sculpture on side of traffic-free cycle path. Boy dressed in blue cycling in the background

Artworks on the Spen Valley Greenway

With some of the National Cycle Network’s most beautiful routes, you are truly spoilt for choice when it comes to walking and cycling options in Yorkshire.

Whether you’re looking for city escapes, nature reserves or canalside life, there are many great walks and bike rides just waiting to be discovered. 

Barnsley to Old Moor RSPB Reserve

Best for wildlife…

This short 6.5-mile route takes you from Barnsley train station on a traffic-free path to the RSPB Old Moor Reserve, which is teaming with birds and wildlife. It’s an award-winning reserve where you can spot kingfishers, lapwings, tree sparrows and at dusk, you can listen out for the shrill calls of little owls. 

Barton-upon-Humber to North Ferriby

Best short ride…

This route in Hull is a 7-mile round trip and is on mainly flat traffic-free paths, enabling you to explore both sides of the Humber Bridge with parks, a nature reserve, picnic spots and spectacular views of the bridge. Not to forget you can cycle over the Bridge itself! The route description starts at Barton-upon-Humber station, but you can equally start the route at Hessle or North Ferriby stations.

Harrogate to Ripley Cycle Route

Best city escape…

This route, also known as the Nidderdale Greenway, connects Bilton, North Harrogate and Knaresborough with Ripley on a fantastic 4-mile converted railway line. There are currently unsigned on-road connections between Ripley and the Way of the Roses cycle route to the North and the stunning Yorkshire Dales to the west. 

Penistone to Dunford Bridge

Best for countryside…

This beautiful, traffic-free ride takes you from the busy market town of Penistone to the rolling moors of the Peak District at Dunford Bridge. Fully surfaced, and ideal for children, the path follows the route of the old Great Central Railway, winding through glorious countryside, with stunning views across the valley, and a wealth of wildflowers.

Sheffield to Rotherham (via Meadowhall)

Best for shopaholics…

This surprisingly green 9-mile route takes you between two of South Yorkshire’s main urban areas, Sheffield and Rotherham, using a traffic-free greenway along the canal and the River Don Valley, passing the shopping mecca of Meadowhall.

Leeds to Saltaire

Best for canalside life…

This popular and attractive 14-mile ride begins in vibrant Leeds and winds its way out of the city along the traffic-free towpath of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. The route is full of historic interest and some surprisingly scenic countryside.

Bradford Red Bridge Route

Best for urban adventure…

This great 4-mile route takes you between two of Bradford’s best open spaces - City Park and Bowling Park, travelling over the iconic Red Bridge on the way. You can cross Bowling Hall Road to the northeast of Bowling Park and visit Bolling Hall which is now a museum and a great way to explore Bradford's heritage.

Spen Valley Greenway

Best for artworks…

Connecting Dewsbury and Oakenshaw over seven pleasant miles of a disused railway path, this route boasts an intriguing collection of artworks including Sally Matthew’s scrap metal “Swaledale Flock”.

Find more traffic-free routes near you

Fancy doing your own Tour de Yorkshire? Why not try one of our slow tours