Deep in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, at the head of Wensleydale, lies the small market town of Hawes. Drop in on almost any weekend throughout the riding season and you’re guaranteed to find more than a few bikes parked along its historic market place, in fact it’s not unusual for their number to be in the hundreds - especially when the weather’s good.
It’s not so much the place itself, but the ride that draws so many people to this relatively remote location and Hawes can be considered somewhat of a hub, or indeed an oasis, rather than a destination. At an elevation of 790ft it’s one of the highest towns in the Dales and features spectacular rides and vistas in every direction.
Across its east-west axis is the A684, which to the east makes for a meandering run along the River Ure, passing through the picturesque towns and villages that make this region so popular with tourists. To the west is a more involving ride down Garsdale, chasing the Clough River to Sedbergh before rolling on to Kendal and the Lake District. Head south and you’ll find the savagely steep climb to Fleet Moss, or southwest to experience the remote beauty of the B6255 as it snakes across Newby Head Moss in view of the Ribblehead Viaduct. Best of all is the ride north, up and over the legendary Buttertubs Pass, a sensational high road that rises to 1725 ft before making a dramatic descent into Swaledale.
There are several places to get fed and watered in town but you’ll find no warmer welcome than at the Penny Garth café. Owner Christian Westen has been offering refreshments to bikers for the past 16 years and although not a rider himself likes nothing more than a good chinwag with his many regulars and anyone else who stops by. Home cooked food with local produce is the order of the day, from traditional breakfasts and a brew to amazing cakes and speciality coffee.
If you’re riding the Dales, a pitstop at Hawes is a must!
Where is it? Penny Garth Café, Market Place, Hawes, Wensleydale, North Yorkshire. DL8 3RD
When is it? Open 7 days a week, winter hours vary so check website
How to get in touch? 01969-667066, @pennygarthcafe on Facebook or www.pennygarthcafe.co.uk
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