The Swale Trail is a multi-user, family friendly trail starting at the top of the dale in Keld and finishing in the pretty village of Reeth. Originally designed with cyclists in mind the Swale Trail is also used by horse riders and walkers and in parts is suitable for all-terrain pushchairs and trikes https://cyclethedales.org.uk/swaletrail/
We hired e-bikes from the Dales Bike Centre in Reeth https://www.dalesbikecentre.co.uk/ These electric bikes are fitted with a motor that has four levels of ‘boost’. Despite this advantage the trail between Gunnerside and Keld is challenging and there are several places where unless you are an experienced mountain biker, it is best to get off and walk.
I have cycled the Swale Trail both ways and can conclude that tackling it west to east is best. When starting from Keld the most difficult climbs and some of the trickiest surfaces are met at the beginning of the trail when the rider is fresh. Once the tough early stages are completed its plain sailing – well almost!
The Swale Trail is a route of two halves. For those who relish a challenge the full route is 12 miles. Experienced mountain bikers will complete the linear route in both directions. For those with young families there is plenty of easy riding in the valley bottom. Choose a section that you are comfortable with and build on it over the years.
Drop in at the Dales Bike Centre to return your bikes. If you are riding your own, call in anyway. The cafe is exceptionally good – Brenda’s cooking and baking is legendary! https://www.facebook.com/dalesbikecentre