Cycling Climbs: Bailey Lane, Warter

Bailey Lane out of Warter has gradually become something of a recent favourite of mine. It is included in one of the shorter loops, ‘A Yorkshire Wolds Red Kite Bike Ride‘, and is best approached along Cold Wold from Huggate or Back Lane from Nunburnholme. At the bottom of Totterdown Hill (the proper name for the locally famous ‘Nunburnholme Hill’) it used to feel as though I was wimping out when I took the gravelly turn east towards Warter instead of grinding my way up to the top. No more. ‘Nunburnholme’ has lost its sparkle for me. Too narrow, too busy, no nice views. The opposite, in fact, of Bailey Lane.

There are arguably stiffer climbs out of Warter – Cobdale Lane (pictured in the distance in the photgraph above) and Cold Moor may well be more challenging – but they lack the views while Bailey Lane still offers significant resistance. To be clear, this is no killer climb – it doesn’t get a ranking in Roger England’s Hill Climbs of the Yorkshire Wolds – but is sufficiently testing that the folds of Bailey Dale down and to the left perhaps provide a welcome psychological distraction that lessens the impact on the tired rider’s legs. You are also more likely to see Red Kite gliding overhead. Which is nice.

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Field House Farm Campsite, Tibthorpe

This page is for Field House Farm Campsite, Tibthorpe. See also the main accommodation page.


Field House Farm near Tibthorpe is an ‘off-grid’ campsite east of Huggate on the Way of the Roses cycle route and three miles from the course of the Yorkshire Wolds Cycle Route. It opened in July 2021 as a ‘pop-up’ site, but there are plans for it to be a more permanent base.

Here’s what Dixe Wills, travel writer for the Guardian, wrote about the countryside in which Field House Farm Campsite is set, between Huggate and Tibthorpe, after completing the Way of the Roses for the first time:

And furthermore, I was ready for the question every cyclist gets asked about a long-distance ride: What’s your favourite bit? My answer? The four miles on the way to the village of Tibthorpe, about 20 miles from the east coast: huge skies, an empty road beneath my wheels and the sylvan countryside below melting away in the summer haze. I’m ashamed to say I threw my arms out wide and, coming over all Leonardo DiCaprio, shouted out, “I’m the king of the wold”. Which just goes to show that country air may not be so good for you after all.

As well as being a potential overnight stop for those riding the Way of the Roses the campsite is in a prime location for cyclists looking for a base in the Yorkshire Wolds from which to complete a range of day rides. Many Yorkshire Wolds accommodation providers rightly state that visitors can enjoy excellent cycling nearby, but for those from outside the area it is not always obvious where to start. This post is the first in the category ‘Ride Base Loops‘ that aims to give visiting cyclists at least five different loop options starting and ending at the same fixed base.

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Shorter Loops: Sledmere 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.

Sledmere_Big_Skies_Bike_Ride_Helperthorpe
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

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Hill Climbs on the Yorkshire Wolds

With the increased popularity of cyclo-sportives there have been numerous articles in the national magazines covering some of the country’s toughest climbs. Also we now have a book describing the UK’s ’100 Greatest Climbs’. Not surprisingly none of our local climbs feature in any of these publications. Our local roads do not have the severe gradients or the length to match those on the Moors or Dales and tend to be overlooked, but there are times when returning home from a ride Trundlegate feels like my personal ‘Killer Climb’.

Burdale 2
Burdale: a short, sharp climb but is it long enough to be amongst the toughest climbs on the Wolds?

In addition to the various articles there are a number of web sites devoted to cataloguing climbs, and one site, climbbybike.com does list one of our local climbs, Staxton Brow. This site is different in that it gives each climb a ‘Difficulty Score’ in an attempt to provide a comparison between different climbs. Staxton scores 44 compared with Blakey Bank on the Moors at 70, and the Lake District’s Hardknott Pass (West) which tops the English climbs with a score of 106. These scores show why climbs on the Wolds do not figure in national surveys. Nevertheless some of the climbs can offer tough challenges to a tired rider.

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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 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.

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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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Cycling Climbs: Birdsall Brow

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.

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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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Cycling Climbs: Leavening Bank

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.

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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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