Big Skies Bike Rides: South Dalton, Lockington and Lund from Market Weighton
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 20.5-mile route starts at the William Bradley statue in Market Weighton and has the halfway point of Lockington, or Lund.
Market Weighton is not the first place that comes to mind when I think of the Yorkshire Wolds. When the local CTC group heads north west from Cottingham and approaches Market Weighton, they skirt around this market town and pass on to somewhere else. And way back when I started cycling seriously, it was the place I would pass through on the way to York. I still can't quite believe that I would ride along the A1079 all the way from Beverley to York. It is such a busy road.
These days Market Weighton is bypassed although road users are urged to visit the William Bradley statue and the Londesborough Arms Hotel (see below) by those brown signs with white lettering.
I'm not sure that Market Weighton is a real tourist trap, but it is a pretty good starting point for this very pleasant bike ride.
I hadn't set out to do this Big Skies loop. I had left Cottingham on an October morning with four other riders from the local CTC and we planned to have the morning coffee stop at Pocklington or near by. I was the only one who fancied a hot meal so I went to Allerthorpe Lakeland Parks for a gammon steak and a pot of tea. I would have ridden the Pocklington loop, but I didn't have a copy of the excellent booklet that describes these eight rides. I had borrowed a map off Dave before he and the others continued on to their packup stop in Pocklington. They were heading home after their morning snack, but I wanted to do a longer ride.
There are no specific signs for this ride, but after taking a few pictures in Market Weighton I followed the blue NCN sign towards Etton Wold. I’d ridden this road many times, but always in the opposite direction and with others. It was surprised to notice, when going the other way and with time to look around on my own, just how much the terrain changes in this little valley.
Working from memory I managed to miss off a turning and doubled back to pass through the grounds of Hotham Hall. Years ago my granddad – no doubt because he hadn’t the insurance to be on the public roads – taught my dad to drive along the estate roads. The route passes over a cattle grid at the western entrance. You have to open and take care to close the gate at the eastern boundary. If you’re a little squeamish of riding close to unfenced cattle you may wish to consider a detour.
From South Dalton the ride goes east then north along narrow and quiet roads, with only the B1248 to cross at one point. There’s a church in Lockington, but I didn’t notice a pub. You have to go over a little bridge, and I read later that the Big Skies Bike Rides booklet urges you to try crossing at least one of the fords. I don’t recall seeing any other fords in East Yorkshire. They tend to be features of the Dales and Moors, at least in my experience. I passed on that opportunity, by the way.
There was time for a packet of peanuts, and something to wash them down, in the well-regarded Wellington Arms, Lund. I’ve had lunch and evening meals there and they do both very well. Oh, Billy Bear came along for the ride as part of a little project for a nearby primary school. My mother-in-law is also a teacher – of foundation children – and, well, boys and girls, that’s another story…
After crossing the B1248 again there are more peaceful roads on the slight climb towards Money Hill before dropping in to the pretty village of Goodmanham. I didn’t hang around as I was worried about getting home in the dark. This had turned out to be an unexpectedly long day in the saddle (over 90 miles, I think), but a rewarding one nevertheless. I am enjoying criss-crossing the Yorkshire Wolds on these little rides and ‘discovering’ places I have previously overlooked.
Now if only the weather would improve…
Other Big Skies Bike Rides:
Visit Hull and East Yorkshire Big Skies Bike Rides & Yorkshire Wolds Cycle Route.