The online route can be found here.
There are many cycle trails along the trackbeds of old railways in the county but my favourite follows the route of the Nidderdale Light Railway from Pateley Bridge. It hasn’t been named and signed and that makes it all the more of an adventure.
The railway was built in the early 20th century primarily to transport workmen and materials to the Scar and Angram reservoirs during their construction. There are four disused stations along the way – at Pateley Bridge, Wath, Bouthwaite and Lofthouse. After Lofthouse the line follows the route of the present day access road which Yorkshire Water opens to the public.
At Scar Reservoir you can see the remains of a village built in the early 1920s to house construction workers and their families.
You can return via Middlesmoor but the track is very steep, rocky and hard work. I recommend returning the way you came as far as Lofthouse then switching to a bridleway (some of it rough) to the west of the Nidd and then a minor road on the west bank of Gouthwaite Reservoir.
Credit: Unknown. (2015). Yorkshire’s top ten bike rides. Available: http://bit.ly/1ms3QkD. Last accessed 21st December 2015.
Medium / Hard (Hills!)
The online route can be found here.
For the first half of the ride we will take advantage of cycle route signage provided by Sustrans and follow part of route numbered 166, the Yorkshire Wolds cycleway.
Turn right out of the car park onto St Nicholas Street, Norton, to the T-junction with Welham Road, where turn left, out of town. This is the same route out towards Stamford Bridge, as followed by stage two of the Tour de Yorkshire, back in May.
Flat at first and then descending on this pleasant single track road, you’ll pass a Road Narrows sign and into a double bend. Cross a stream, passing between white painted fences. Keep right through Menethorpe, and in 100 yards watch for a car parking space on the right, as the road turns 90 degrees left.
Return to Menethorpe Lane and continue in the same direction as previously, now heading due south for half a mile. Pass through shady trees and give way at a T-junction. Turn right (marked Yorkshire Wolds route 166) and the road climbs gently. Ignore the next cycleway sign for Kirkham, off to the right, and instead keep left, signed Westow half a mile.
Beyond the pub, look for the sign to the church and Burythorpe to the left. Follow this out of the village, heading east and it becomes quite narrow, so no traffic encountered. However, watch out for rough surfaces beneath some patches of overhanging trees.
Descend to cross Howl Beck, then straight over the next cross road and in one mile you get a good view of Burythorpe Church ahead. Give way at the T-junction here and turn right, to village of Leavening. Approaching the village, look half left to see a modern communications mast on the ridge above. We’ll be heading up there shortly.
Go left at the cross road in the centre of Leavening onto Main Street, and passing the Farmers Arms (open weekend lunches only), and a steep climb (Leavening Brow) follows to the top of the Wold. I had a short walk which allowed me to enjoy the views of Ryedale off to the left.
The road splits. Straight on looks more gentle, (and is in fact signposted to Thixendale) so perversely take the right turn, signed Pocklington 11 miles, to climb a little further. There’s a reason for this, and I’ll explain later. Continue straight, keeping on the top of the Wold.
About 2½ miles along the Wold from the Pocklington sign, take a left, signposted Thixendale two miles. Be careful not to miss this turn, which looks like it might only be a farm track, and the sign (on the right) is overgrown by bushes. Very soon, you pass right through the centre of Martindale Farm (well, I did say this looked like a farm track). Beyond the farm, the vista opens out to each side as you begin to descend the ridge into Thixendale. Keep right for the Cross Keys pub (if it’s a weekend). Pass the village hall then watch for dead end road on left.
Return to the junction by the village hall where you entered Thixendale, but instead of re-climbing the ridge you arrived on, now keep right, along the valley floor. This is Water Dale, and gives a really attractive (and very gentle until the last few hundred yards) three-mile climb back up to the top of the Wold.
Reaching the summit, you’ll find a large farmhouse on the left, then the road drops through some mature woods to quickly arrive at a cross road. Take the right turn, and a fast downhill, to the country estate of Birdsall.
Beyond Birdsall is a gentle climb to a cross road, where give way, then straight over, signed Malton three miles. One final little blip of a climb, and then it’s downhill all the way.
Into Norton, following the general flow of the road, watch for a mid-brown brick terrace of Victorian cottages with red roofs to the right, and you’ll also see there a blue Yorkshire Wolds cycleway sign, indicating left. Turn here and you are back on St Nicholas Street, where you started out.
Credit: Robert Murphy. (2015). Scenic route high on the Wolds and back.Available: http://bit.ly/1RNyW3x. Last accessed 28th December 2015.
The route of the 2016 Tour de Yorkshire has been revealed.
Split into three stages, the cycle race covers 515.5km (320 miles), and will see riders weave across the Yorkshire landscape.
The race starts on Friday, 29 April in Beverley, East Yorkshire, and will end on Sunday, 1 May in the North Yorkshire resort of Scarborough.
Last year’s inaugural race was watched by an estimated 1m people and brought £50m into the region’s economy.
The event was launched after Yorkshire hosted the Tour de France Grand Depart in 2014.
More than 140 riders joined the first race, including Olympic champion and Tour de France winner Sir Bradley Wiggins.
The 2016 Tour will see the men’s race start on 29 April with a women’s race held on Saturday 30 April.
Beverley played host to the 2015 Tour and riders will parade around the town before heading to the racecourse for the official start.
They will then weave through the Wolds, crossing the A64 at Tadcaster before heading north past Wetherby and into the Yorkshire Dales.
Once the cyclists leave Pateley Bridge there is a tough climb at Greenhow Hill. It is then downhill from Grassington to Gargrave and along the A65 before a finish in Settle.
The second leg, which begins in the home town of Olympic cyclist and 2014’s Otley Grand Prix winner, Lizzie Armitstead, will see male and female cyclists ride the same route for the first time.
Past Harewood, the start of last year’s Grand Depart, riders should be able to pick up speed as the route loops to the east of Leeds. The race then heads south towards Pontefract and into South Yorkshire for a finish in Doncaster.
The final day starts in Middlesbrough, which forms part of the ceremonial county of North Yorkshire before riders take a tour of market towns including Stokesley and Northallerton.
From Thirsk they will head on to Sutton Bank and through the national park before going over the moors to Whitby and finishing along Marine Drive in Scarborough.
As well as the professional race there is a mass-participation “sportive” for cyclists along the same roads as the Tour de Yorkshire.
This will take place on the same day and roads as the third stage of the event’s pro ride.
The race, which is paid for through private and public funding, is organised by Welcome to Yorkshire and Amaury Sport Organisation, which organises the Tour de France.
Knaresborough / Harrogate
As a tour of some of the most desirable neighbourhoods of Harrogate this route takes some beating – and as bike ride it’s pretty good too.
You slip in and out of the suburbs like a fox in the night, stringing together bridleways, cycle routes, tracks and little- used roads.
The route is a sort of cyclist’s M25 of the town but far from being a road to hell it’s an orbit of discovery.
The online route can be found here.