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
Of all the Yorkshire Wolds hills Leavening Bank is the one that I always seem to approach via a leg-sapping loosener. In the case of Leavening Bank it is usually the arrow-straight roller coaster Castle Howard road. Perhaps we should be grateful that this lengthy drag has an early dog leg to get up the first stiff yards as a more direct line up the escarpment would surely be too punishing to bear.
Continue reading Cycling Climbs: Leavening Bank
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
I should acknowledge straight away that this little dink of a rolling road out of North Newbald towards the A1079 is no killer climb. However, it is one of the few hills to test the legs of the fully laden traveller attempting to ride the Yorkshire Wolds Cycle Route in a clockwise direction. And on short rides around the southern Wolds Stoneknowle Hill provides a few minutes of uphill resistance – perhaps coupled with Kiplingcotes Lane to get the heart pumping on a loop taking in Kiplingcotes Valley and back over the A1079.
Continue reading Cycling Climbs: Stoneknowle Hill
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.
Continue reading Shorter Loops: Huggate from Goodmanham via Millington Dale
The Yorkshire Wolds Cycle Route is a scenic, 146 mile tour of the East Riding and North Yorkshire, taking in the coast along the way. It was opened in 2011 and I rode the then proposed route with ride buddy Steve one day in April of that year. Seven years on, and with a few revisions to the official route, I once again set off from Beverley Minster in a clockwise direction just after 6.00am with one other rider – this time Paul.
The spiritual start of the Yorkshire Wolds Cycle Route: Beverley Minster
I knew we would be deviating slightly from the prescribed course, north of Newbald, because on Stoneknowle Hill riders are pointed in the direction of a stretch of lumpy bridleway (more on that later). I wanted to otherwise follow the route as faithfully as possible, so naturally I strayed off the official course within about twenty yards of starting. It would appear that the short stretch of road running perpendicular to where we had started from – just outside the minster – was the same road I’d already travelled that morning. I thought it was further on when I plotted the route online and couldn’t make out the fuzzy yellow highlighting on the official map. Ahem. Maybe next time…
Continue reading Yorkshire Wolds Cycle Route – June 2018 day ride
A man of my advancing years really should know better than to even think about checking out his place on the Strava leaderboard for cycling climbs on the Yorkshire Wolds. And yet here I am with the first in a series of posts about these occasionally testing – but always scenic – ascents that start in the southern slopes of the Wolds with Brantingham Dale and extend to the climbs out of Filey on the North Sea coast.
Continue reading Cycling Climbs: Settrington Bank
A chance meeting with an old footballing mate in the pub only ten days earlier meant I was in the car park of Halford’s in Beverley at 6am on the morning of Saturday 13th September 2014. Josh (the old mate) said that he was raising funds for Hull Ionians rugby club by taking on the Yorkshire Wolds Cycle Route 146 mile challenge in a day. He said that he was looking for riders to join them along the way and give them a morale boost for a few miles. I offered instead to do the full ride with them!
An early – and wet – start for the Yorkshire Wolds Cycle Route ride in aid of Hull Ionians
Once everybody arrived and stored bags in the support van we pedalled to Beverley Market Place for the official Grand Depart. A passing early morning pedestrian kindly volunteered to take a group photo. There were five riders (with one taking turns to drive the van).
Continue reading Yorkshire Wolds Cycle Route – A Ride for Hull Ionians