Adventure Weekender

This route is also used for the Yorkshire Coast Dirt Dash, packing everything unique about the Yorkshire Coast into a long weekend. Enjoy the tranquillity of the North York Moors, the striking coastline and beautiful villages and towns while you cycle on gravel tracks, cycle paths, quiet lanes and roads through the stunning countryside of England’s east coast.

The Route YC Adventure Weekender is designed for gravel bikes but is equally fun on mountain bikes. With no gates to left bikes, it is suited for heavier e-bikes and trailers, although some sections of the Cinder Track will only be suited for adventurous riders.


Route YC Icon Trademarked

The recommended start point of your adventure is at Whitby railway station. However, there are railway stations in Ruswarp, Egton Bridge, Seamer, Filey and Scarborough, which are also good starting points. The North Yorkshire Moors Railway also services Levisham station on the route. 

The route follows Sustrans Route 1 from the railway station and climbs uphill on a road. Shortly after crossing the A171, the route joins the Cinder Track for a short section. The Cinder Track is a picturesque coastal route from Scarborough to Whitby on the route of the old railway line, which closed in 1965. After crossing the Larpool Viaduct, leave the Cinder Track and descend on Sustrans Route 165 (Eurovelo 12) into the Esk Valley. 

The Esk Valley is a haven for nature enthusiasts, hikers, and history buffs alike, with the meandering River Esk running through the valley’s heart. You follow the River past Ruswar on a relatively flat road. In Sleights, the first big climb awaits Aislaby, first on the road and shortly afterwards on a nice gravel path. 

Once you have reached the village, the route follows a quiet road with stunning views into the Esk Valley all the way to Egton, located within the North York Moors National Park. The downhill to the nearby village called Egton Bridge is great fun, and the village is home to Egton railway station. The route continues on the road. Where it crosses the River Esk, the biggest climb of the route starts and takes you right into the fascinating landscape of the North York Moors. Almost at the top of the climb, you pass the ‘Lone Tree’ on Egton Moor - a stunning landmark and a brilliant sunset location.

On a clear day, the straight road over Murk Mire will give you 360-degree views over the North York Moors. Take care when crossing a Ford before you pass the start of Wade's Causeway or Wheeldale Roman Road (please do not cycle on this ancient monument). The causeway's visible section on Wheeldale Moor shows the remains of a continuous surface metalled with closely fitted sandstone slabs with flat upper surfaces. The linear monument on Wheeldale Moor was first recorded as ‘Wade’s Causeway – a Roman Way’ on a map of 1720. It then features in most antiquarian accounts of the area as part of a Roman road, traced for various distances along a route from Amotherby, near Malton, south towards the coast north of Whitby. More recent work, however, has suggested that it could be medieval or not a road at all but a much modified Neolithic or early Bronze Age boundary feature.

Shortly after the Roman Road, the route continues on a wide gravel track on the medieval Brown Hove Road into Cropton Forest, passing the Mauley Cross. The Cross is named after the de Mauley family of Mulgrave Castle, who were notorious poachers, and it is presumed that the cross marks their boundary of grazing rights. The route continues on a network of gravel tracks through the forest on what used to be a Forest Drive for cars. At Yorfalls Wood, the route joins the Moor to Sea Cycle Network, which connects Scarborough, Whitby, Dalby Forest, Pickering and Great Ayton in a series of moorland, forest and coastal loops. You continue to follow a gravel road alongside the railway line at Newton Dale, and if you are lucky, you can spot a steam train on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway while you descend to Levisham Station. 

From here, the route rejoins the road, and another steep climb takes you onto Levisham Moor, which offers open-access land (for walkers) with amazing views. While not on the route, you can make a detour on bridleways to the Hole of Horcum, a once narrow valley which widened and deepened into an enormous cauldron. The moor is also home to a herd of Highland cattle, at times it feels like you are in the middle of the Scottish Highlands here.

Levisham is a small village with a pub and a population of less than 100. The village was used as a filming location for ‘Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One’ in 2021. The route continues on the road to nearby Lockton, which offers hostel accommodation and a tea room and is a good overnight stop if you cycle the route in two days.

of 6

Continue on the signposted Moor to Sea route from here; crossing the A169 before a nice descent on a bridleway takes you to Dalby Forest Visitors Centre, a good place to stop for food. Dalby Forest Cycle Hub is just a short detour from the visitor centre. Dalby Forest is packed with loads of trails for gravel and mountain bikes and is maintained by Forestry England. Along with Langdale Forest and Cropton Forest, it forms part of the North Riding Forest Park.

The route continues on gravel tracks through the forest, leaving the Moor to Sea route at Red Dike to continue to Broad Head Farm. From here, the route climbs on gravel tracks to a road for a short section before rejoining the Moor to Sea route over Troutsdale Brow. This is one of the nicest sections of the route, with wide gravel tracks and splendid views of Wykeham Forest. You rejoin a tarmac road into the Wrench Green. From here, the route continues to Raincliffe Woods and through the beautiful Forge Valley into East Ayton. 

Take care on the B1261 from East Ayton to Cayton. This road can be busy at times. In Cayton, you rejoin Sustrans Route 1 (Eurovelo 12) to Folkton before a climb takes you into the Yorkshire Wolds and Hunmanby. The village is home to Yorkshire's first whisky distillery, which opened in 2017. From here, the route descends towards Royal Oak, and after a short section on the busy A165, it goes to the coast at Filey.

The seaside town is at the eastern end of the Cleveland Way, a long-distance footpath, the second National Trail to open in England in 1969. Like all other towns along the coast, its seaside will be very busy in summer, but it feels less hectic than the other towns. 

The route passes Filey railway station and continues on roads to Muston and on to Manor Farm, from where a number of bridleways take you away from the traffic and across the beautiful countryside to Lebberston. 

of 4

The route crosses the A165 and continues on quiet roads and cycle paths to Cayton Bay, with amazing views across the stunning coast. The route rejoins Sustrans Route 1 for a short while into Osgodby. Then, it follows a cycle path and residential streets to a bridleway, which takes you onto Oliver’s Mount, an area of high ground overlooking Scarborough. In 2016, this was the summit for the final classified climb on the third stage of the Tour de Yorkshire cycle race. 

The roads here double up as a street circuit, the only one of its kind in England. If the roads are closed, you can descend on Jackson’s Lane to meet the route again at Filey Road in Scarborough. The views from the monument of Scarborough and the Yorkshire Coast are stunning on a clear day, and shortly afterwards, you descend through a stunning woodland to Scarborough, the largest town on the Yorkshire Coast. 

Scarborough is a great place to spend a few days. The Bike & Boot Hotel has excellent cyclist facilities: You’ll get secure bike storage, bike wash and a free afternoon cake with your room. The town lies between 3 and 70 m above sea level, rising steeply from the harbour to the north and the west. As you descend to the Foreshore Road, you pass the Central Tramway Company Scarborough Limited, a Victorian cliff railway built in 1881 and one of the oldest cliff railways still running in the UK. 

Scarborough is a tourist hub with plenty of attractions and eateries. After reaching the harbour, the route follows the coast on Marine Drive around a rocky promontory, where the ruins of Scarborough Castle, a former medieval royal fortress, sit. You’ll pass Royal Albert Park and a statue of Freddie Gilroy by Ray Lonsdale. The North Bay Promenade takes you to Scalby, where you’ll climb inland to join the Cinder Track. The promenade will be difficult or impossible to cycle in high winds and spring tides. An alternative is to take Burniston Road and rejoin the route at Hillcrest Avenue. 

The surface from here is a mixed bag. Be prepared for some rocky or muddy sections, but the scenery along the route will make up for the sometimes challenging cycling. Along the way you pass a pub. The tea room in Ravenscar is a great place to stop for food, with a big outside seating area.

of 2

At the turn of the 20th century, plans were made to turn the village of Ravenscar into a holiday resort to rival nearby Scarborough. Roads and sewers were laid out, and some houses were built. Because of the long trek to its rocky beach, Ravenscar never achieved popularity, and the development was left unfinished – a town with sewers and streets but no houses. 

From here, you follow the most scenic part of the Cinder Track to Robin Hood’s Bay, with great coastal views. The origin of the village’s name is uncertain, but it is doubtful that Robin Hood was ever in the vicinity of the village. Today, Robin Hood's Bay is a picturesque old fishing village on the Heritage Coast of the North York Moors, with narrow, twisting cobbled streets and alleyways. When taking a detour into the village, be aware that you must negotiate a 31% incline on the way back. 

You leave the Cinder Track at Hawsker to continue on Hawsker Lane, a quiet road, towards Whitby Abbey. Whitby Abbey was a 7th-century Christian monastery that later became a Benedictine abbey. The abbey church was situated overlooking the North Sea on the East Cliff above Whitby, a centre of the medieval Northumbrian kingdom. While not directly on the route, to save you the very steep descent on Donkey Road, the abbey is one of the highlights.

The route continues down Green Lane into Whitby, along the banks of the River Esk, to the finish at Whitby railway station.

of 5

Other Routes nearby

For anything bike-related

Where to fuel?

Selected places to stay

Share your adventure #enjoytheride

Be the first to get news & offers

Enter your details below and we will send you all the latest Route YC news, events and offers

© Copyright RouteYC Ltd. All rights reserved. (C) and (M) 2021 Route YC Limited. Company Number: 13469494