Big Skies Bike Rides: South Dalton, Lockington and Lund from Market Weighton

Giant William Bradley statueBig 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.

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Some of the newer houses that have been built in recent times near Market Weighton.

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.

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Parts of the route, including this road, are shared by the Yorkshire Wolds Way.

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The grounds of Hotham Estate. With my inferior camera there is little contrast and you can’t make out the spire of St Mary’s Church in South Dalton beyond the tree line. Watch out for loose cattle.

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.

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The Pipe and Glass, South Dalton. I found out later that they admit cyclists for coffee. I thought the place had become far too posh for that. Don’t turn up for a meal without a reservation, though.

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St Mary’s Church spire – at over 200 feet tall – is, I believe, the model for the spire that appears on the Yorkshire Wolds logo

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.

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Outside the Wellington Arms, Lund. They serve Black Sheep (and brown bears).

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…

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The Wellington Arms, Lund, and village green.

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It’s not quite featureless on the return journey, but the low sun allowed few photo opportunities on the way back to Market Weighton.

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…

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One of only two CTC winged wheels that I’m aware of in East Yorkshire. This one is outside the Londesborough Arms Hotel, Market Weighton.

Other Big Skies Bike Rides:

North Newbald and back from Beverley

Millington Dale and Warter from Pocklington

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.

5 comments on “Big Skies Bike Rides: South Dalton, Lockington and Lund from Market Weighton”

  1. Patrick wrote:

    Chris wrote: There are no specific signs for this ride.

    Are these routes part of the official cycle network? I have mixed feelings about the blue signs you see everywhere. In general I think there are far too many – not just bike route signs but all types. The rides themselves look lovely though, and I hope they become popular. The printed route sheets seem excellent – a better idea than putting up more signs.

    I'm not a great fan of David Hockney's art although I like him as an individual. Seen close up, his paintings are rough – daubed, you might say. But they have a pictorial quality and look much better in books and magazines.

  2. Chris wrote:

    The Big Skies Bike Rides routes are a local affair – rather than a national one – and are unsigned, but parts of their routes inevitably follow stretches of the established National Cycle Network. The first bit of the Beverley ride was unnecessarily circuitous in my opinion, just to keep riders away from the main roads. Once you get out of the town centres the well though-out routes are easy to follow as the guides are based on OS maps with their clear detail.

    These rides are an attempt by Visit Hull & East Yorkshire – maybe one of those quangos that are on their way to a bonfire somewhere – to boost tourism in the Yorkshire Wolds (I’ve written before about how the Wolds suffer as the poor relation of the Dales and Moors.) There is also a proposed 145-mile Yorkshire Wolds Cycle Route that would make a do-able one-day cycle challenge or, like the 130-mile Yorkshire Dales Cycle Way, an enjoyable multi-day tour.

    Apparently, Hockney’s plan was to paint the same scenes during different seasons. Unfortunately, when he turned up one day to record his Bigger Trees Near Warter one spring day last year, he got a bit of a shock.

  3. Kern wrote:

    Okay, Chris, I'll bite ... "Black Sheep"?

    The weather looks pretty good to me. No north wind or blustery flurries. No snow either (grumble).

  4. Chris wrote:

    Sorry, Kern. Black Sheep is a small Yorkshire brewery whose most-sold product is the bitter in the photograph. If you make it over here I recommend their Ale, too. Don't have more than a pint of Riggwelter if you plan on doing anything for a few days. (Billy Bear had the glass of lemonade, of course.)

    Unfortunately, all the photographs were taken in October. Although it stopped snowing here a few days ago the temperature has been consistently below zero, so despite the promised thaw the iced snow looks like it's going to be here for a while. My school closed for four days and only opened again on Tuesday.

    Huggate, where I photographed my Raleigh Road Ace outside the Wolds Inn on another Big Skies ride, was cut off for about a week. Only 4x4s could get through, apparently :shock:

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