Main Line Route
This a route following mainly quiet rural roads which has been used by the Sheffield CTC for many years, when visiting the annual CTC rally on the Knavesmire racecourse in York. The main route crosses the River Ouse at Cawood, the Tadcaster variation avoids the Ouse and crosses the River Wharfe. The main route uses one very short roughly surfaced section between Brampton and Darfield, with a busy smooth tarmac alternative. The other off road sections are NCN routes at Meadowhall / Shiregreen and again at Escrick / Bishopthorpe. Both of these are tarmac and suitable for lightweight bikes. However, the Tadcaster variation includes some rough tracks. See the notes at the end of the route description. The main route is about 65 miles.
From Meadowhall station car park, follow the Trans Pennine Trail no. 67 towards Chapeltown. Join this from the corner of the car park opposite the pedestrian bridge to the station. Follow the trail for 1.5 miles until it meets Grange Lane (B6086). The tarmac section of the trail continues to Butterthwaite Lane.
Turn right on Grange Lane and pass under the motorway bridge. Continue up the hill for 1 mile, turn right at the junction on Upper Wortley Rd. (A629), then first left on Scholes Lane. The road bends to the left in the village of Scholes, then bends right and goes down a steep hill. Another left hand bend, then turn right at the T junction onto Hague Lane and climb to Wentworth. Just before the T junction with the B6090, there is a garden centre on the right hand side with a reasonable cafe if required. Otherwise, turn right on the B6090, then second left on Coley Lane. Follow Coley Lane for 1.7 miles to the staggered junction on Elsecar Rd. (B6097). Cross the main road and continue on Westfield Rd towards Brampton. Straight on at the next cross-roads, following Pontefract Rd (B6273) as far as it goes to the junction with hideously dangerous A633, turn left here. We want to get to the traffic island on the junction of the A6195 and the A635 at grid ref SE 4289 0433. The quick way is to take the 3rd exit at the traffic island and follow the A6195 for 1.3 miles. This is very busy and unpleasant, but there is a road margin that can be ridden on to get you out of the line of traffic. It is the two traffic islands which are the most dangerous bits to negotiate.
A better way to tackle this section is to take the second exit off the first island, onto a minor road called Highgate. After 0.3 miles, take the bridleway to the right at the point where the road turns left. Pass through the vehicle barrier and follow the bridleway (an abandoned road) for 1 mile. There is sometimes a large puddle at the lowest point of the road, but it is normally possible to get around it easily. If the barriers and amphibious assault course are too much for your cycle, you will have to take the main road. The bridleway comes out on the A635, turn right here and then left (1st exit) at the traffic island.
From the second traffic island, continue up the A6195 to yet another traffic island. Take the second exit (B6273), straight on up the hill. Turn right after 0.3 miles on Middlecliffe Lane. The route becomes much more pleasant from this point on. Continue straight across the minor cross-roads and then turn right on the B6411 at the T junction towards Thurnscoe. Take the first left in Thurnscoe (Clayton Lane). The road climbs steadily towards the village of Clayton, where it turns to the right and crosses over the railway line. Continue to Hooton Pagnell, prettiest village in South Yorks. Turn left in the village, and then take the right fork (North Field Rd) as you leave it. Descend the hill, and turn right at the T junction, passing under power lines, to another T junction on the A638.
If you are in need of refreshments, follow the Askern Cafe Loop from here, details at the end. This will involve hauling your bike up the stepped ramp of a pedestrian footbridge over the A1.
(Editors’s Note: At some point since this was originally written Wrangbrook Lane has been turned into a busy truck route with no alternative cycle track. Therefore we recommend the instructions after the struck through section)
Otherwise, turn left on the A638 over the railway line, and then first right. The road bends left, then right, and continues towards the tiny village of Skelbrooke. Turn left immediately outside the village on Sleep Hill Lane. If you find yourself at the A1, you have missed the turning. Retrace your tracks for 0.2 miles and try again. Follow Sleep Hill Lane for 1.2 miles to the T junction, turn right here and follow Wrangbrook Lane up the hill to Barnsdale Bar, a busy junction on the A1 which requires great care. Turn left on the A639, and then immediately right onto the bridge over the A1. Be careful of traffic leaving the A1 emerging from the slip road on your left. After crossing the A1, turn left on Woodfield Rd towards Campsall. Take the left fork 0.4 miles after Barnsdale Bar, heading towards Little Smeaton. The road will take you past the turning to Little Smeaton, and on to Womersley. Askern Cafe Loop rejoins main route here.
Turn right on the A638 , and then first left. The road continues over the railway line towards Skellow. When you reach the A1, services are available. Walk your cycle over the pedestrian bridge, and remount on the B1220. After only ten or twenty yards, turn left on Crabgate Lane and head for Burghwallis. After the church, which has a water tap just inside the gate, take the first turning on the left towards Campsall. The road turns right then left,then take the left turn for Ryecroft Road, a long straight road with street lights. Continue onto Spittlerush Lane and veer right onto Willowbridge Rd. The road will take you past the turning to Little Smeaton, and on to Womersley. Askern Cafe Loop rejoins main route here.
The road sweeps round to the left in Womersley, turn right on Northfield Lane towards Cridling Stubbs. Turn right into Cridling Stubbs on Wrights Lane 0.5 miles after the level crossing, then the road turns left in the village. There is a general store on your right hand side which is very handy for supplies. Turn right on Cobcroft Lane, then first left on Beal Lane under the power lines. The road passes over the M62 motorway, and then over the Aire & Calder Navigation. Continue to the T junction with the A645. Turn right, and then immediately left on Common Lane to Beal. Turn right on Main St in Beal, then left on Craven Garth, left on Marsh Lane, and right on Intake Lane crossing over the River Aire. Straight on to Birkin. As you enter Birkin, there is a church on your right hand side. If you require water, there is a drinking water tap just through the gate to the church yard. Please ensure that you have not left the tap dripping, and that the churchyard gate is properly closed when you have finished. Just 0.2 miles after the church, the road forks. The Tadcaster Variation takes the left fork, and the main route the right. See the end of the route description for the Tadcaster variation. If you are tired or the weather is bad, stick with the main route. It is shorter, flatter and better in the wet.
Taking the right hand fork, head towards West Haddlesey. Just before the village, turn left on Pale Lane toward Gateforth. In Gateforth, turn right, then right on Gateforth New Rd. After 0.3 miles, turn right again, then left on Morton Lane. At the next T junction, turn right towards Thorpe Willoughby, passing over the railway line. In Thorpe Willoughby, turn left on Fox Lane and continue through the village until you reach the T junction with the A1238. Turn right, and then first left towards Cawood and continue over the level crossing. After 0.8 miles, the road bends to the right, turn left after the bend. Continue under the power lines and past the end of a lane joining from the right. Go straight across two cross-roads, the second one being slightly staggered. Continue towards Cawood, where the road joins the B1223 and takes you to the centre of town. Turn right at the cross-roads onto the B1222 to Stillingfleet and pass over the wooden bridge on the River Ouse. There is a T junction 0.7 miles after the bridge where the main B1222 turns left, turn right here towards Kelfield. In Kelfield the road turns sharply to the left. Ignore the road to Riccall on the right immediately after this bend. Carry straight on on Moor End, turning left at the next junction just before the power lines. After 1.1 miles, turn right at the minor cross-roads on the outskirts of Stillingfleet, towards Escrick.
It is possible to get to Stillingfleet from Cawood by sticking to the B1222 and bypassing Kelfield, but this is not recommended unless you are pressed for time, or the traffic is very light. A horrible road!
Leaving Stillingfleet, after about 1.3 miles you will pass under power lines, and then under a retired railway bridge. This bridge now carries the excellent NCN 65 cycle route that will take you into York. Immediately after the bridge, turn off the road to the right and climb to the cycle route. Turn right again, passing back over the bridge, and follow the signs for York.
There is a scale model of the solar system built along the length of this route between Bishopthorpe and Riccall, keep an eye open for the models of planets at the side of the track. You have joined the route between Uranus and Neptune, and are heading toward the Sun at Bishopthorpe. Pluto is tiny on this scale, about 6 mm in diameter, and 6.4 miles from the Sun. If the cycle track were ever extended to include the nearest star (Alpha Centauri) on this scale, it would have to stretch about 1.75 times around the Earth, ending perhaps near Hawaii on the second time around!
The cycle path is easy to follow from here on, it is all off road except for a very short section at Bishopthorpe which is well signposted. The route passes under the A64(T) about 0.5 mile after Bishopthorpe, and immediately after this is the model of the Sun suspended from a gantry.
For the Knavesmire racecourse, turn right here on the cycle path that runs parallel to the main road. After 0.3 mile, the path passes under a road bridge and turns left leaving the main road, and then right. Follow the route for a further 0.5 mile until the racecourse can be seen on the left. At this point, the cycle path crosses one of the training gallops which is occasionally used by racehorses at speed. Take care, they have priority and are very fast!. The cycle path turns left here and will take you to the entrance to the racecourse.
For the centre of York, keep straight on on the cycle path at the Sun, do not turn right. After 0.3 mile, the path passes under the main A1036, which will take you to the city centre. This is York, so there are adequate cycle lanes to help you the rest of the way. You are on the Trans-Pennine Trail, so you can also follow the signs and come in along the river – very pleasant when not flooded.
Askern Cafe Loop (not mapped)
In Burghwallis after the church, ignore the first turning on the right. The road turns left, take immediate the next right (Burghwallis Lane). Continue along Burghwallis Lane and turn right at the T junction towards Sutton. Turn left at Sutton and continue to Askern. This road will join the busy A19 through the centre of Askern. You will see a park with a pond on the right hand side of the road. Turn right immediately after the park, Lakeside Cafe is the single story building by the pond.
Heading back towards the A19, turn right for 0.2 mile. On your right hand side is an alternative cafe popular with motorcyclists. Fork left here on Campsall Rd. After 1.2 mile, turn right on Campsall Balk to Norton. Go straight across at the cross roads in the centre of Norton on Priory Rd. Just outside the village, the road turn right onto Spittlerush Lane. You are now back on the main route to York.
Tadcaster Variation (not mapped)
There is an alternative end to the route which uses some unmetalled bridleways and crosses the River Wharfe at Tadcaster. The bridleways are quite reasonable in good weather and are usually easily manageable on a loaded touring bike, but you may wish to think again if you are on lightweight rims and tyres. It will only add about 5 or 6 miles to your total, but your average speed may drop slightly.
In Birkin, take the left hand fork 0.2 miles after the church. Turn left at the next T junction and go into the centre of Hillam. Turn right on Main St, continue towards the A63(T) at Monk Fryston. The A63 doglegs on the middle of the village, follow the road to your left towards the A1. As you leave the village, fork right on Lumby Lane towards South Milford. Pass over the railway, then continue straight over the minor cross-roads. Go straight across the A162 at the traffic island outside South Milford. The road bends to the right and continues through the village towards Sherburn in Elmet, passing under a railway bridge. Turn 2nd left on Eversley Garth Crescent 0.7 mile after the bridge. 2nd right on Deighton Ave, left on Eversley Court. Continue to the end and follow Park Ave to the right to its junction with Tomlinson Way. Turn left, then right on Garden Lane and continue to the T junction with the B1222. Turn right, then 1st left on Sir John’s Lane. Ignore the 1st turning on the left, follow the lane round a left hand bend and under a railway bridge. Take the next right to Saxton and continue to the centre of the village. Take the left on Dam Lane after the church, then the 2nd right on Milner Lane, and continue to the cross-roads with the B1217.
The battle of Towton, reputedly the bloodiest battle ever on British soil, took place on the hill 0.5 miles to your right from here.
Continue straight across the cross-roads, follow the minor road for 0.7 mile, passing under a power line, and take the first right. Continue along this track for 1.4 mile, staying parallel to the power line, which should be on your right hand side. At the T junction with another farm track, turn right and go under the power line. Continue straight on to White Quarry Farm, forking left here and then going straight on. Don’t turn off into Stutton, keep straight on until you find yourself on a bridge crossing the A64(T). There should be an impressive windmill tower on the embankment to your left.
Go straight on into Tadcaster, then right on the A659 through the centre of town. After crossing the river, take the second left turn at the traffic lights, on Wighill Lane, to the village of Wighill. In Wighill, the road doglegs right, then left. Follow this to Healaugh, where you should follow the road to the left to Askham Richard. About 2 miles from Healaugh the road forks, take the right fork, not the left one into Askham Richard. After another 1.5 mile, turn left at the T junction toward Askham Bryan. Turn right in the village to the A1237. Turn right on the main road, then almost immediately left on Moor Lane. Keep on Moor Lane for 1.5 miles until you reach Askham Bar traffic island, turn left here. The off road cycle paths are to be recommended.
For the centre of York, keep on the main A1036 from Askham Bar, passing the Knavesmire racecourse on your right.
For the Knavesmire itself, take the first turning right from the A1036, Middlethorpe Drive. Middlethorpe Drive turns to the left, keep going straight on on Lycett Rd, until it turns left and joins Dringthorpe Road. Turn right on Dringthorpe Rd, then left on the last cul de sac before the end of the road. At the end of the cul de sac is a track into the woods. Walk your bike along this, turning right in the woods. After a few yards, you will find yourself on the tarmac NCN 65 cycle path. Turn left here. Follow the route for a further 0.3 mile until the racecourse can be seen on the left. At this point, the cycle path crosses one of the training gallops which is occasionally used by racehorses at speed. Take care, they have priority and are very fast!. The cycle path turns left here and will take you to the entrance to the racecourse. If you are continuing to York City centre, the route takes you out onto Bishopthorpe Rd, then down a narrow snicket to the riverside. Be aware however that this floods regularly, so be prepared to use Bishopthorpe Rd instead – it’s reasonably cycle-friendly.
From York you can continue towards the North York Moors (pictured) – amongst many other locations