In 2010 a series of eight Big Skies Bike Rides was launched with the aim of encouraging cyclists to discover the varied and interesting terrain of the Yorkshire Wolds. ‘Thixendale from Malton or Norton on Derwent’ is an at times challenging ride of just over twenty miles. It includes the stiff climb out of Birsdall; the wonderful Water Dale descent in to Thixendale; Burdale, with the short but punchy Fairy Dale climb up to Wharram Percy Wold; the reward of an enjoyable descent of Grimston Brow, and the final downhill stretch over Langton Wold as the route is retraced back to the start.
The only criticisms of this route – levelled by one of the group of cyclists who rode with me one day way back in 2012 – concerns the same road: the route over Langton Wold to and from Malton. It’s a fast descent but, unsurprisingly, a correspondingly slow ascent, which isn’t a problem with the other, quieter uphill stretches on this ride. It’s just that this can be a busy road and, for me at least, there is a greater sense of vulnerability as I puff and pant uphill with motor vehicles whizzing past. The other objection on the day was Langton Wold is effectively and ‘out-and-back’; a circular route is generally preferred by the majority of my ride buddies. Still, the same climb forms part of the Pock Pedal, following refreshments in a community centre or similar in Malton/Norton. Perhaps it’s an age thing.
Once over Langton Wold from the start in Malton there is a descent towards Birdsall and pretty views to be had through the estate of Birdsall House, one of an increasing number of Yorkshire country houses now offering its services as a film set.
Continue reading Shorter Loops: Thixendale Big Skies Bike Ride
In 2010 a series of eight Big Skies Bike Rides was launched that were designed to encourage cyclists to discover the varied and interesting terrain of the Yorkshire Wolds. ‘Sledmere Country from Sledmere’ on the High Wolds is a ride that starts in East Yorkshire and passes over the border in to North Yorkshire. If you’re not already cycling through the village you can pull up in the car park near the memorials, grab your bike and set off down the hill. This is my favourite way out of Sledmere (at the Triton Inn turn left at the sign marked “Luttons Weaverthorpe”) and enjoy the rolling road towards the junction at a dip in the road between West Lutton and Cowlam.
Straight over the crossroads on towards Helperthorpe. This is a stretch of the Yorkshire Wolds Cycle Route, but once in Helperthorpe you’ll be looking out for a left turn signposted “E Heslerton Wold” – there’s also a brown Byways sign on the post – that will take you off the long distance route and on to a road with a heavily shrouded tree-lined summit. It’s almost a relief that you’re not on this road for long – the way ahead at first appears ominously steep – before turning left and passing Haverdale House along a very broken road surface that makes for a quiet route – unless you’re on bike that rattles. This road will find any lurking noise.
The road out of Helperthorpe. If you have time there is a longer ride straight ahead, but on the Sledmere Big Skies Bike Ride it’s a left turn at the bottom of this hill
Continue reading Shorter Loops: Sledmere Big Skies Bike Ride
In 2010 a series of eight Big Skies Bike Rides was launched with the aim of encouraging cyclists to discover the varied and interesting terrain of the Yorkshire Wolds. ‘Millington Dale and Warter from Pocklington’ is a ride of less than twenty miles that includes the delightful Millington Dale; Huggate, with the highest pub on the Yorkshire Wolds; and an enjoyable descent in to Warter before the quiet and scenic Back Lane to Nunburnholme.
The B1246 east out of Pocklington is not the most pleasant way to start a bike ride, but the sightlines are good until the bend just before the turn off to Kilnwick Percy.
(I’ll get this bit out of the way now: there is only one downside to this ride – but don’t let it put you off – as the road surface later between Burnby and Pocklington – at the time of writing – is not great.) [edit: the road surface between Burnby and Pocklington was resurfaced summer 2023] With the KP golf course to your left and the Kilnwick Percy Hall meditation centre to your right there is a steady incline before dropping down and then climbing gently to the pretty village of Millington. In normal times the Gait Inn and Ramblers’ Rest are recommended stops, and shared with the Western Wolds from Stamford Bridge Big Skies Bike Ride, a later addition to the series of rides, at this overlapping point.
Continue reading Shorter Loops: Pocklington Big Skies Bike Ride
In 2010 a series of eight Big Skies Bike Rides was launched with the aim of encouraging cyclists to discover the varied and interesting terrain of the Yorkshire Wolds. The first time I rode “South Dalton, Lockington & Lund from Market Weighton” I had already been to Pocklington with ride buddies and stopped at Market Weighton to see the wooden statue to local legend William ‘Giant’ Bradley. (In the olden days when I would breezily cycle from Beverley to York along the length of the A1079 the road went through the centre of Market Weighton. Since then the town has been bypassed by the main road: Giant Bradley Way.)
On subsequent undertakings of this route I have parked in Goodmanham and ridden from there. Crossing the busy B1248 – twice – and having to spring open the Dalton Park gate at the Pipe and Glass means that the route is not exactly suited to being a time trial course, but when time is short – or fitness levels low – I have used the gently undulating road to test my fitness – or confirm the lack of it. But the main purpose of this and the other Big Skies Bike Rides is to explore the wonderful Yorkshire Wolds by bike – and for the Market Weighton ride there is something of a pub theme going on…
Continue reading Shorter loops: Market Weighton Big Skies Bike Ride
In 2010 a series of eight Big Skies Bike Rides was launched that were designed to encourage cyclists to discover the varied and interesting terrain of the Yorkshire Wolds. ‘North Newbald and back from Beverley’ was the first that I rode. Since then the East Riding of Yorkshire Council developed and expanded upon rides from Beverley, Pocklington and Bridlington amongst others. One of the ERoYC rides from Beverley closely follows the route of the Big Skies Bike Ride – only in reverse. Instead of doing the route clockwise, the notes accompanying the newer variant suggests it should be ridden anti- clockwise “for safety reasons” – it tackles Trundlegate uphill rather than as a descent.
Writing in Cycling Active, Maria David rode a variation of the original route that avoided backtracking on Middlehow Road to Walkington instead returning to Beverley along Walkington Heads to make a loop of it.
So, that’s three versions of a ride from Beverley to North Newbald and back. Here’s a fourth – with a twist…
Continue reading Shorter Loops: Beverley Big Skies Bike Ride (With a Twist)