Category Archives: Shorter loops

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. ‘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.) 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 Gate 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.

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A Yorkshire Wolds Red Kite Bike Ride

I was a member of the Young Ornithologists’ Club before I joined the Cyclists’ Touring Club as a schoolboy and for me the experience of appreciating Yorkshire Wolds wildlife has been a vital part of cycling in and around the area. Back then I collected the full Orbis publication ‘The Encyclopedia Of Birds’. Week by week the collection would build up in to a pile of magazines that went in a cardboard box to be stored in the loft for the next three decades. Yes, you can find all the up-to-date information you need – and more – on the Internet these days, but when I wanted to carry out some research about the UK distribution of Red Kite I was interested to read a contemporary account from the time when I was a child. A map confirmed that areas where Red Kite could be found all year round were limited to Wales.

Red Kite distribution 1980s

Compare that to the map on the Yorkshire Red Kites web site that also details the reintroduction programme of 1999 at Harewood Estate in West Yorkshire.

Over the past few years I have noticed these magnificent birds more frequently whilst cycling around particular parts of the Yorkshire Wolds. So I thought I’d put together a ride that takes in most of the places where I’ve spotted Red Kite. The route is a little under forty miles long.

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Shorter loops: Market Weighton 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…

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Shorter Loops: Sledmere and Thixendale from Pocklington

This wonderful 50-mile loop takes in elements of two Big Skies Bike Rides, but is different enough from both to be worth our consideration here. Heading out east from Pocklington you’re not on the B1246 long before taking the left turn at Kilnwick Percy. There follows six miles of glorious Yorkshire Wolds countryside through Millington Dale shared with the Way of the Roses and Yorkshire Wolds Cycle Route up to the outskirts of Huggate, before carrying on with the coast to coast route through Tibthorpe – described by Dixe Wills in the Guardian as his favourite road on the Way of the Roses – and as far as Kilburn (National Cycle Network Route 164).

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Shorter Loops: Beverley Big Skies Bike Ride (With a Twist)

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…

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Shorter Loops: Huggate from Goodmanham via Millington Dale

It’s rare that I lack the motivation to get out my bike. Sometimes – as with this ride when I hadn’t been out for five weeks – I need the incentive of a ‘motor-assisted’ ride and a nice cup of coffee at the end. Occasionally, then, I will drive to a café, park up, do a ride then take refreshments when I’m done. There aren’t many places better to do that than the Fiddle Drill, Goodmanham.

This loop is less than 30 miles and is best done clockwise. Do park at the sizeable public car park down the hill from the Fiddle Drill, and past the pub – also recommended – so as not to clog up the car park at the café.

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Shorter Loops: Skinny Loop to Sledmere from Little Weighton

This 50-mile route is a skinny loop north out of Little Weighton up to Sledmere on the high Wolds. After the drag up to High Hunsley – the highest point on the southern Wolds – there follows a descent to North Newbald and the short sharp ramp of Stoneknowle Hill, and a crossing of the A1079 before another descent to Gardham. Aside from Stoneknowle Hill the noteworthy ascents on this route include Kiplingcotes Racecourse; North Dalton to Huggate; and Life Hill (between Wetwang and Sledmere), although ride buddy Rob described the terrain to Sledmere as being “fairly flat”. Crikey.

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