Big Skies Bike Rides: North Newbald and back from Beverley

Big Skies Bike Rides is the name given to eight cycle loop rides 'launched' in 2010. They take their name from the phrase used by David Hockney when he compared the sky over the Yorkshire Wolds to 'the big sky' he experienced in the American West. This 19.5-mile route starts at Beverley Minster and has the halfway point of North Newbald.

The weather forecast for this day was the worst for the week, with few clouds and a temperature of 9 degrees. So I set off wearing my thickest gloves and a pair of sunglasses. I could have been dressed for skiing.


Beverley Minster: the start of 'North Newbald and back from Beverley'.

Just as on the club ride to Thixendale the other Sunday, this ride included roads I hadn't ridden before. Being fairly local I knew where this route would take me, but in trying to follow the directions that came with the otherwise excellent booklet I somehow managed to lose my way before eventually rejoining the route at the beginning of Beverley Westwood. The slight rise takes you on to road to Walkington, where the route takes the rider past a pub on to Northgate then a left turn and on to a quiet road that runs more or less parallel to the B1230 for a while.


A sign of the times? Wooden sign posts gave way to metal and now plastic ones.

A writer for Cycling Active recently travelled this road to Newbald on a very similar route. I’m sure I hadn’t ridden this single-track road before, and only a couple of vehicles spoiled the tranquillity. I wonder if we haven’t cycled this way because a group would have to go single file, or even stop, for cars to overtake.


At the junction of Littlewood Road and Whin Lane, which leads to Trundlegate.

I would normally arrive at this junction either from the south on the main road from Little Weighton or from Whin Lane after climbing Trundlegate. I’m either passing by early in a ride or returning from one. I don’t recall ever cycling Littlewood Road. It’s a very little wood, by the way.


Coming down Trundlegate and the view out to the west.

Trundlegate drops sharply in to South Newbald, and the strong headwind meant I barely got above 30mph. Again, I would normally pass through and cross the main road in to Hotham, but the destination today was North Newbald, somewhere I’d never been to before. To the Gnu Inn and lunch of gammon steak. The landlord was very welcoming and took out photographs of Newbald from well before recent development work. Apparently, there was even a bike shop in this tiny village years ago.

There had been a fairly strong headwind to Newbald, but taking the road back, signposted Beverley, I was pushed along yet another quiet road I don’t remember having cycled before. The road is a lot gentler than the much steeper Trundlegate.


The route returns back along the single-track Middlehow Road.

I just wish I could have taken a photograph that showed the swooping hills, but you need to be there to appreciate the panoramic views in the Yorkshire Wolds. There aren’t so many obvious photographic views such as those you would expect to see in the Yorkshire Dales, for instance. The simple feeling of the openness of the countryside is hard to capture, well, it is for me at least.


Beverley Westwood with the minster in the distance.

On the way back another cyclist caught up with me just before Walkington. We cycled together up to the Westwood and chatted a while. He too had seen the weather forecasts but acknowledged that he had overdressed for the weather. He wore his mountain bike trousers which he said acted like a huge balloon that slowed him down. He was riding a rather snazzy carbon fibre Specialized Roubaix which he admitted was probably a mid-life crisis purchase. However, he had managed to go from 18 stones to about 15 stones in a year since he bought the bike. My ride was delayed by about half an hour while I searched frantically for my wedding ring. Since I took up cycling again last year I’ve managed to lose at least a stone in weight and my wedding ring – less than two years old – just fell off some time that morning. (I find that I hold my fingers in a sort of claw – rather like Mrs Thatcher once did before an operation on her hand – so that the ring doesn’t slip off.) Anyway, the gold band had fallen off in to my rack bag as I packed it. I should have looked there earlier.


Back in Beverley. The CTC Repairer sign above a shop in the market place. There are two bike shops in Beverley. This isn’t one of them.

I really enjoyed this little ride. Usually I just pass by part of the route on the way to somewhere else. It has taken a campaign by ‘Real Yorkshire’, and an article in Cycling Active, to get me to look at a ride in my own backyard. I am grateful to both.


The end of the journey. It’s difficult to take a photograph that shows all of the minster in its glory.


'North Newbald and back from Beverley'. Click on the image for MapMyRide route.

Other Big Skies Bike Rides:

Millington Dale and Warter from Pocklington

South Dalton, Lockington & Lund from Market Weighton

Burton Agnes and Kilham from Driffield

Great Wold Valley from Hunmanby

Sledmere Country from Sledmere

Thixendale from Malton or Norton on Derwent

Bempton Cliffs and Rudston from Bridlington

Yorkshire Wolds Cycle Route

Visit Hull and East Yorkshire Big Skies Bike Rides & Yorkshire Wolds Cycle Route.

10 comments on “Big Skies Bike Rides: North Newbald and back from Beverley”

  1. Patrick wrote:

    Nice one Chris. I love those place names, especially Trundlegate. Big skies can be hard to photograph and get the effect of bigness with enough foreground to make a picture. Lovely views. Those skies are a thing I enjoyed in Holland, and also in Australia. The skyscape in the outback is amazing.

    Lucky you didn't lose your wedding ring. I took mine off soon after I was married when it caught in a door handle and dug into my finger. Sandra left hers on but her fingers swole up after her fall in Holland and it had to be cut off. It's currently at the jeweller's shop being enlarged. They can also be shrunk if you lose weight!

    Quote: So I set off wearing my thickest gloves and a pair of sunglasses.


  2. Mary wrote:

    Really good post Chris. My hubby was born in Beverly, but I have never been there. I always assumed that Yorkshire was very hilly! But those skies are a sign of great flatness are they not? Super pictures and loved that first one with the Minster and your bike.

    I never wear my wedding ring. Not allowed to at work, so it sits in my jewellery box waiting for me to die and my girls to get it. 🙂

    COLD weather isnt it. Im freezing out on my bike.

  3. Kern wrote:

    It looks like a great day and a great ride. I particularly like the angle of the opening photo – quite dramatic.

    Your comment about the wind brought to mind a recent photo display put on by the Icelandic tourist board in the building in which I work. The photographer's comment was that he has spent decades photographing all aspects of Iceland, but one thing he has never been able to capture is the wind.

    I have lost two wedding rings. The first I left I in a locker room and the second slipped off my finger while swimming in Dal Lake in Kashmir many, many years ago. Mary got me a third which didn't fit after a fall and my knuckle swelled. This year in Dublin we got claddagh rings which I now wear (pointed in the proper direction).

  4. Hilary wrote:

    Your photos really convey the feeling of open space. Strange isn't it how the closer to home something is the more likely we are to overlook it.

  5. Chris wrote:

    Mary wrote: I always assumed that Yorkshire was very hilly!

    Yorkshire is a huge county with a variety of landscapes. There are some very steep hills in the Yorkshire Wolds, most notably around places such as Leavening and Thixendale. But the Wolds, to quote from the excellent – free – booklet I tried to follow is “a crescent of rolling chalk hills extending from the Humber estuary at Hessle to the magnificent cliffs of Flamborough Head and Bempton”. So to the east of the Wolds the terrain, including the Holderness plains, is very flat indeed. Read Wikipedia's account of the East Riding's geology and landscape.

    Hilary wrote: Strange isn't it how the closer to home something is the more likely we are to overlook it.

    Too right. I think I've become a little too obsessed with the distance I've been travelling. When these routes were publicised earlier in the year I was a bit sniffy about routes of only twenty miles or so. But on Sunday, when the other blokes in our group returned after the morning stop, I cycled another of these routes. I would have done the Pocklington loop (the morning stop was at Allerthorpe just outside Pocklington), but I had left my booklet at home so I did the Market Weighton loop from memory having already plotted it on I'm afraid another obsession may be forming...


    Changeable weather. Beverley Road out of North Newbald.
    (Photograph taken Sunday 24th October 2010.)

  6. john wrote:

    i did a 50 mile route last weekend and came back that way and agree a 100% with your coments and photos, we might pass some each other some time while rideing in the wolds.

  7. Chris wrote:

    I prefer Beverley Road from North Newbald compared to Trundlegate from South Newbald going home. Unfortunately, the route from North Newbald is a bit too far out of the way when I just want to get home after a long ride so I'll continue to drag myself up Trundlegate instead. Struggled a bit last time 🙁

  8. Paul wrote:

    Cycling around Newbald and the Wolds is fantastic. Big skies, not many people and yes some hills (try Garrowby,the road up to the 166 out of Bishop Wilton or Leavening). Don't let too many people know though. Don't want the roads to get too crowded round here!

  9. Chris wrote:

    The Beverley Cycle Map has included a very similar ride but, interestingly, suggests riding the route anti-clockwise for reasons of safety. Personally, I think it should be ridden anti-clockwise for reasons of fun, specifically Trundlegate.

    However, still better, in my opinion, is to ride this route as a sort of figure eight on its side. Set off out of Beverley along Walkington Road, turn right (so northward along Wold Road) at the crossroads you meet after the long drag out of Walkington, then turn left (westward) at the T Junction and drop in to Newbald before ascending Trundlegate. Follow the route back then at that crossroads again go north along Wold Road, but this time turn right at the T Junction and go back in to Beverley along Newbald Road.

    The reason for this is that Newbald Road from Beverley is a long drag and has become increasingly busy, in my experience. Better to go slow along a quiet road uphill from Walkington and then later go quicker downhill back to Beverley following the more major Newbald Road. Also, for the beginner or returning cyclist leaving Beverley there is the added comfort of a cycle path, once you are over the cattle grid and off the Westwood, most of the way in to Walkington. I use it, too.

    Tick the 'Mile Markers' box and zoom in, or view the Garmin course

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