Leeds Liverpool Canal Bike Ride


Trail photos

Photo ofLeeds Liverpool Canal Bike Ride Photo ofLeeds Liverpool Canal Bike Ride Photo ofLeeds Liverpool Canal Bike Ride


Trail stats

126.99 mi
Elevation gain
1,099 ft
Technical difficulty
Elevation loss
1,070 ft
Max elevation
533 ft
Min elevation
8 ft
Trail type
One Way
2 days 2 hours 8 minutes
October 11, 2017
October 2017

near Vauxhall, England (United Kingdom)

Viewed 1197 times, downloaded 15 times

Trail photos

Photo ofLeeds Liverpool Canal Bike Ride Photo ofLeeds Liverpool Canal Bike Ride Photo ofLeeds Liverpool Canal Bike Ride

Itinerary description

I undertook this ride in October 2017 after a month of rain, which made a lot of the grassy sections of the tow path very muddy and very slippery. So, my advice is to do it in summer when the ground in hard and dry. Also, I did it on a hybrid bike and a mountain bike with fatter tyres would have been better.

I started from Eldonian Village, right at the Liverpool end of the canal at about 1pm on day one. The first 10 miles out of Liverpool was very easy riding on good surfaces. At about mile 20 I stopped at Scarisbrick Marina and had a scone and tea, before carrying on to Wigan, completing 35 miles. Progress wasn't as quick as I'd expected because I was stopping all the time for walkers and gates, all of which slow you down.

In Wigan I stayed in the town centre Premier Inn, who let me take my bike into the room. Ideally, I should have started earlier and done another 10 miles, or so, to Chorley, where there is also a Premier Inn.

After an "All You Can Eat" breakfast my next day was a long one of 58 miles from Wigan to Gargrave, which took me about 10 hours. It would have been better to have done two more equal days, but that's hindsight for you. There were long parts of the towpath that weren't surfaced and I was slipping and sliding all over the place. I had been warned about this, and the danger of falling off. It did happen once, but fortunately, not into the canal. The other problem I had was lack of canal side cafes, and it wasn't until Foulridge that I found one open for tea and scones. Again at Gargrave I booked into a Premier Inn where the locked my bike in a maintenance room overnight, as by this time it was filthy.

Day three was just 34 miles from Gargrave to Leeds. Apart from an upgraded section east of Skipton, the first 15 miles were quite poor, until I reached Riddlesden, after which it was easy riding all the way into Leeds. I stopped off for a lovely bacon butty at the Five Rise Lock cafe at Bingley.

In summary, the ride isn't too difficult, as there is little climbing, but it would have been easier if the ground had been dry. Apart from a sore backside I suffered a little numbness in my hands as a lot of it is quite rough and your wrists take a pounding.

I hope you find this interesting and are tempted to have a go.

Below is a video of the ride...

Comments  (2)

  • Bat-i-Burrillo Jul 26, 2023

    Hi John - great video! I only did the first 20 miles from Liverpool (maybe at a later date I'll do the rest) Agree with you, sometimes your wrists can take a bit of a pounding, though this depends on the stretch...and some parts are still slippery, even in summer and on a mountain bike. You often have to stop/slow right down to let other people pass. Still, the payoff is worth it - especially if you're in no rush. Plus, no need to worry about getting lost or traffic. People are really friendly, I stopped and chatted to lots of dog walkers, walkers, anglers and narrow boat owners. Plus if you're into wild/stealth camping as soon as you get past Lydiate you'll easily find places near-ish to the path where you can camp.

  • Bat-i-Burrillo Aug 27, 2023

    There was a break in the weather so I did the rest of it - just a few things to add. Due to rain/wet, it was very slow going especially in the parts between towns and cities. It's often just a very narrow path or going over very slippery tree trunks - especially between East Marton to Gargrave.

    Just past Wigan, they are resurfacing the path, so you have to slow down or get off bike and push it - they're also using quite large pieces of gravel which made braking problematic especially if you're carrying a lot of gear (might be difficult for bikes with thin wheels too).

    When you get to Foulridge Tunnel, you have to ride around and it's not signposted - according to the map you can follow old railway track, but you can only follow this for 500 mts and the rest of it has been eroded - so easier to follow the (very quiet) road to The Foulridge. Like John I think it's best to go from Liverpool to Leeds, from Skipton to Leeds it's almost all downhill and the paths are in very good condition.

    Remember to get a bell...some bikes/e-bikes came up behind me really quietly and made me jump when they went past, especially on quieter sections of the route.

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