North York Moors

North York Moors logo
Browse section
Rosedale old railway and ironstone mine by Chris Ceaser

Rosedale Railway Ride

Ride across Spaunton Moor to Rosedale and pedal back in time to the Victorian industrial age. Now there is nothing but peace and quiet, but from 1856 until the 1920s Rosedale was at the heart of an ironstone mining boom. You'll cycle along the old ironstone railway line – used to transport the ore out of the dale – and enjoy magnificent valley views, before dropping down into the pretty village of Rosedale Abbey and returning via the moorland-edge village of Lastingham. It's a great ride for a summer's day, offering a mix of moorland views and rest stops in quiet villages in the midst of stunning North York Moors' landscapes.

Cycle route info

Route type:
Explorer route
23 miles (37km)
3½ hours
Start point:
Ryedale Folk Museum, Hutton le Hole
Cycle hire
Grid Ref:
SE 705 900
OS Map:
Ordnance Survey OL26
Lion Inn at Blakey Rigg, tea room at Dale Head Farm, pubs & café in Rosedale Abbey, pub & hotel in Lastingham

About this cycle route

Explorer route, for mountain bikes and hybrids.

There's an initial stretch on the minor road across Spaunton Moor, before a lovely, mostly flat, 4-mile off-road ride along the stone and cinder track of the old railway. There's then a steep descent on a narrow road into Rosedale Abbey, with wandering sheep and pot holes an occasional hazard.

Route credits
Thanks to our friends at Ryedale Folk Museum in Hutton le Hole who devised this route. It's one of a series of three 'Heritage Cycle Rides', which are available as free guides (including route map) from the museum. This route is Heritage Cycle Route 3.

Route highlights!

  • Stand at the top of Chimney Bank, the steepest public road in England (1 in 3!)
  • Ralph Cross – iconic moorland stone cross
  • Take a well-earned break at the remote Lion Inn, Blakey
  • Ancient church at Lastingham with an atmospheric crypt

Mining days in Rosedale

Almost 3,000 people used to live in Rosedale during the 19th-century mining boom. The panel by the lower car park at Chimney Bank explains the significance of the ironstone industry, including the large roasting kilns at Chimney Bank where the ironstone ore was burned (or 'calcined') to remove its impurities and reduce its weight for transportation. The purified ore was tipped into wagons, which then travelled around the dale on the ironstone railway line – another marvel of Victorian engineering – over the moors and on to foundries in County Durham. Look across from Chimney Bank and you can follow the sweep of the line right around the dale.