5 GREAT ROADS IN YORKSHIRE
North Yorkshire’s a big county. It’s home to the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors, and this means the countryside is rife with roads worth riding
BUTTERCRAMBE TO MALTON ROAD
This fast and quiet route between Malton and Stamford Bridge doesn’t have a name. It’s called at various points Lowfield Lane, Welham Hill, and interestingly Mook Street. It’s a blast riding either way with quality refreshments available at both ends. Call in for a sandwich at Bridge Rolls – parking available right outside in the centre of Stamford Bridge – before riding east on the A166. Turn left signposted Buttercrambe and Malton, and enjoy the next twelve miles of uninterrupted flowing bends. Slow down for the blind crest, there’s a crossroads on the other side. Hunt down Derek Fox the butcher in Malton for fresh pork pies that’ll steal your heart. York’s only ten minutes ’oop the road from Stamford Bridge and is jam-packed with places to sleep. Try the smart Judge’s Lodging in the town centre – £120 per night. There’s space on site to park bikes, or try the free bike parking just over Lendal Bridge. Alternatively, stay at the well-regarded Birk House B’N’B just north of Stamford Bridge across the River Derwent. Prices start at £75 per double. There’s a log burner in the dining room for colder days.
BLAKEY LANE, HUTTON LE HOLE TO CASTLETON
A snaking adventure up through wooded valleys out onto the North Yorkshire Moors. I’ll always remember riding this route on a GSX-R750 with a friend on his V-strom 650. I was in pain and he was in heaven thanks to more forgiving suspension. Ride it in late July or August when the wild heather’s in flower. Hunters Delicatessen on the square in Helmsley provides more pork pie perfection. Pop a few in your panniers and save them for a stop at the Lion Inn on the Moors. Walk up the rise behind the inn to find an 18th Century boundary stone. This rise was originally a Neolithic burial mound that was then scooped out and used for cock fighting. It’s name? Cockpit Howe. Sportsbike riders will have more fun on the smoother B1257 through Chop Gate (pronounced Chop Yat by locals), but will miss out on top-o-the-world views. Back on Blakey ride through Castleton for faster, smoother tarmac to the A171. Turn right for fish and chips in Whitby. The famous Magpie Cafe is closed at the moment, instead head for Hadley’s.
BOGGART LANE, CAWOOD TO ULLESKELF
Less locally famous than the B1222 that crosses it, the B1223 is also a road worth exploring in North Yorkshire’s sleepy southern bulge. Its best section is definitely Boggart Lane, running from Cawood to Ulleskelf. Bent by its proximity to the River Wharfe, the Lane’s corners pinball you between fields and river banks. It’s demanding and technical riding with a smattering of farm entrances to look out for, but the wide open parts are reet good. It is best to avoid the B1222 on weekends when it’s policed with a firm and fatherly hand on the shoulder. Glue one eye to the speedo, however, and a trip to Squires Café west of Sherburn in Elmet is worth the ride just to gawp at the array of machinery you’ll discover in the car park. Show up for the Rock & Bike Show, 10-12 August.
A6108, MASHAM TO LEYBURN
Heading to the Yorkshire Dales from the south east? Get off the A1 at Boroughbridge, cross Ripon, and ride the A6108 to Leyburn. This roller-coaster of a ride takes in a few stonking corners and throws in a dash of culture, too. The 12th Century Jervaulx Abbey was knocked about during the Dissolution of the Monasteries and now stands as a dignified ruin. There’s a tea room, but picnics are actually allowed at the abbey. Got any pork pies left? All in all, a proper day out in just one twelve mile stretch of tarmac. Destination Hawes? Turn left onto Low Lane before entering Leyburn to skip a busy town centre.
B6160, AYSGARTH TO GRASSINGTON
Everyone knows the A684 from Bedale to Sedbergh, and while it is well worth it other Yorkshire Dales roads are intoxicating and with much less traffic. Take the B6160, for instance. Turn off the A684 south between Leyburn and Aysgarth for a road whose centre line comes and goes with reckless abandon. A tight single track follows Bishopdale Beck up the hillside, before the road opens out onto the fast Kidstones Bank section. Tight corners into Cray lead to a more sedate meander along upper Wharfedale. Take time out in Grassington, a small, cosy town in the southern folds of the Yorkshire Dales. Grassington Lodge B’N’B is the best place to stay around here, rooms from £85 and a private car park for bikes. It’s also only a few minutes’ walk from Grassington House, an excellent restaurant for an evening meal, right on the cobbled main square. If prawns are on the menu, order them.
A6108 Masham to Layburn: visit Masham for the Theakston and Black Sheep breweries. Other purveyors of real ale are available