Thixendale is a picturesque, remote North Yorkshire village just over the border with the East Riding of Yorkshire. Almost all sportives I’ve ridden (and all challenge rides I’ve organised) pass through the village, many along Warter Dale which ramps up out of Thixendale heading north west. However, all six of its notable hills are well worth taking. Some, such as the road to Fridaythorpe, are arguably more suited to descending, albeit with particular caution. That climb is rather narrow and goes upwards for what feels like several hundred metres; I don’t like going slowly up busy or narrow roads. All ways in and out of the village offer wonderful views and recently I thought I’d put together a short route taking in each of them. Unsurprisingly, others have come up with their own take on the same theme (more on that later), but on the day I did this ride I had a specific need make the route less than fifty miles.
In 2022 a free car park opened just outside the eastern edge of nearby Huggate, that would make an ideal start point. This isn’t a long ride, but you would be forgiven for taking refreshments in the newly refurbished Wolds Inn afterwards. So here is a suggested route. What’s yours…?
Continue reading Thixendale Hills: A Taster 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. ‘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
Of the three climbs that meet at the top of the hills out of Thixendale and Leavening, it is Birdsall Brow that can be relied upon to defeat me most of the time. Water Dale from Thixendale is a long drag – although not at all in the tedious sense of the word – and Leavening Bank offers the respite with the early dog leg bend to spread out the uphill exertion. Birdsall Brow, on the other hand, offers none of that; after an almost imperceptible rise from the Birdsall Manor road there is no momentum left before the short ramp at the bottom of the climb triggers an adrenaline dump that has me clicking through the low gears on my road bike until no more options remain.
Continue reading Cycling Climbs: Birdsall Brow
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).
Continue reading Shorter Loops: Sledmere and Thixendale from Pocklington