When you move to somewhere new it takes an age to understand all the riding possibilities and even longer to build a new ‘mental map’ of all the roads, bridleways and trails that intertwine across your new landscape.
Despite being in the ‘valley’ for almost six months now I’d never ridden, let alone visited Hardcastle Crags, National Trust woodland and an inspiration for poet Silvia Plath (listen here). Unashamedly, I stole a route from Strava and set off on the ‘cross bike.
In beautiful evening sun I rode the gravel road up from the main entrance, past Gibson Mill to join the bridleway which runs along the top of the ridge. Turning sharp right I followed the undulating right of way with its patchwork of fields and farms before dropping back down a steep descent to where I’d started.
A great little loop with some challenging terrain and a good test for high speed bike handling on the loose, steep sections.