Knaresborough to Ripley (Nidderdale Greenway) Cycle Route For Families

Where does the ride take me?

The reason this is called 2.0 is because the first time we completed this route (but the other way round) was on Daddy’s Day a few weeks ago but unfortunately something happened to me that has never happened before…all of the photos I took had not been saved when I looked the next day. I was a little upset as I had taken care to picture everything I thought important to guide another family on the trip however we just decided it was no biggie and we would just have to do the route again asap! 

This time we decided to start at Knaresborough as it is 15 minutes closer to our house so it makes sense to start there, rather than 30 minutes more in the car. We had thought Ripley was the better place to park because the car park is slightly less busy and free but when we arrived in Ripley we saw that the parking prices had in fact resumed post covid. The car park at Ripley is still slightly better but not enough to worry about it either way. 

Ok, so we parked in The Ugly Duckling Tearooms, Knaresborough, (opposite Mother Shipton’s Cave),  which if you are coming from Sandal Wakefield like us, is on your right after some traffic lights. The address is 52 Bond End, Knaresborough HG5 9AX. The parking was a couple of pounds and you can pay by cash or card. There are plenty of spaces and we arrived at about 10 and they were mostly free – when we were leaving mid-afternoon most of it was more like one in and one out. We always like to arrive at places first thing and leave early/mid afternoon but everyone has their preference!

As we were walking to leave the car park there was a man collecting for Marie Curie so we gave some money and listened to his music for a while. There always seems to be something happening here and there is a lovely buzz about the place. 

We headed out of the car park, leaving our bikes on the car, and walked round Knaresborough. We went up to the castle, along the river, and all around the shops. Matilda’s favourite shop was in a gorgeous little courtyard and I won’t spoil the cute little surprise but she was very excited when we bought some 5p (yes 5p!) sweets from a little cart outside of an old sweet shop and something happened as she gave the money. I hope you can find this too! I was open the first time but not the second so it may not always be open. 

There is plenty to do in Knaresborough and lots of beautiful sites. We took a picnic the first time and sat in Bebra Gardens. To our surprise we found an amazing outdoor paddling pool within the park too! It is steep with lots of steps, as a heads up. Fine for us but just in case you are with someone who may struggle to get up there and to the castle. There is a longer way round without as many steps.

Back at the carpark, and on our bikes now, turned right and cycled across the bridge to look at the beautiful view. We then took another right and you will see a sign for the trail named Beryl Burton cycleway. You can see that you can also go to Harrogate and we pass Bilton on our route. 

You then cycle along with the river to your right. It is a nice path and there are walkers, dog walkers and other cyclists too. You then take a slight left and I have to say there is now a long hill. It is quite hard (depending on your ability etc) however Matilda, aged six, has now managed it twice with only a couple of stops/get offs. I also had to stop a couple of times and walk with Barney on the back of me but could do most of it. You can obviously go at your own pace too.

After starting both Ripley and Knaresborough, for us, we preferred starting at Knaresborough because we tackled the hill when we were fresher. 

The trail is then fairly easy to follow the whole way with good signage. When you arrive at a place where you stop and there is a map (see picture below),, you turn left to go to Ripley and straight on to go to Harrogate. We obviously turned left but the first time we did it there was a cute little coffee van there which was quite busy! It wasn’t there the second time so obviously don’t rely on it but nice if you want a refreshment stop. 

We alway take plenty of water and lots of snacks because as parents will know snacks are incredibly important, especially when you are exerting so much energy on quite a challenging route such as this. Over all it is 10 miles ish and we are incredibly proud of our daughter, and that we can all achieve it together.

(This picture is of the map but on the return journey back to Knaresborough!)

When you nearly get to the end of the trail you turn right and cycle up a small hill. Then you cross at some traffic lights and you come out just before the car park – there is small a road into the car park that you need to cross so just be aware if your children are ahead of you. When we arrived in Ripley we did our usual there and went to the park (at the far end) for our picnic whilst playing. It is a really lovely park with a good range of equipment for the size. There are a couple of benches and places to put bikes etc. 

After this we always get an ice cream from Ripley Ice Cream. I think this place is our favourite for ice creams! Matilda and I love the fudge sticks they do too! 

I have added a couple of pics from other trips there too!

There is always a lovely atmosphere in Ripley too with many people passing through either on holiday, walking or cycling or attending an event. There is a castle you can visit and several walks or cycles we have done around the castle too. There are toilets in the car park available free of charge. 

The route back to Knaresborough

The route back involves some small hills but we just take our time, stopping for water regularly and to chat and take in the scenery etc. We said hello to many nice people and often end up chatting to someone along the way! Halfway ish back there is a huge bridge to cross which is quite fun with views stretching pretty far! 

Once we arrived back in Knaresborough we got the bikes back on the car and then have a nice chilled drive home listening to music whilst both of them intermittently nap!


This route is just under 10 miles but you could take as long as you like to do it with many more stops along the way or you could pick either Ripley or Knaresborough to park at and then do half of the route and back. It really is up to you but there are no rules. When we cycled back it was raining heavily on and off so we took our time, taking jumpers on..and then off again.

My top tip is to have water on all bikes and plenty of snacks and enjoy a very inexpensive day out with your family.

Pros & Cons


  • Mostly traffic-free once on the route
  • Suitable for children who are competent cyclists.
  • So much to see and do!
  • Brilliant play park in Ripley.


  • The initial hill out of Knaresborough onto the trail is tough for kids.
  • You need a supply of snacks!

Cycle enjoyment rating

Last Updated on February 3, 2023 by Ryan

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