The National Byway: from the Humber Bridge to Beverley (and back along the National Cycle Network)

At the end of February I had been under the weather since the middle of January. Planned rides had come and gone but I had stayed put. So I took my Kinesis for a very short ride. I rode fewer than ten miles (along the Transpennine Way) to refreshments at Mrs B's Cafe at the Humber Bridge. Then I rode to Beverley (along the National Byway) for coffee and an alarming slice of cake before returning home (along routes 1 and 66 of the NCN). I needed a focus and I needed to get out.

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Two cyclists cross the road bridge over the A63 on routes 1 & 65 of the NCN

I know these national cycle routes are not to everyone's liking, but they have on occasion given me the push to get on my bike. On the day I took these photographs I was still feeling unwell, but I have also made use of these and local 'official' rides when I have been low on motivation. The short route described here would suit families and cycling beginners.

If you are heading towards the Humber Bridge from Hessle train station you may wish to turn right at the junction shown above then take the next left down a quiet side road. Follow the signs and pass underneath the Humber Bridge.

It would have been rude not to try another of Mrs B's Aberdeen Angus beef burgers, and a cup of tea. Hot drinks are in a polystyrene mug with those skinny wooden stirrers instead of the traditional spoon. I was reminded of the pot of tongue depressors that sat on the doctor's desk when I visited earlier in the week (she had prescribed a nasal spray and it was beginning to take effect, incidentally).

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The National Byway and route 65 pass underneath the Humber Bridge

From the Humber Bridge car park road, the National Byway to Beverley goes right along Ferriby Road, underneath the bridge and left along Head's Lane, passing Hessle High upper school. These days there are a set of lights to help you across Boothferry Road, but when I was at school in Hessle we had to manage without. Over the main road towards Jenny Brough Lane, left at the T junction then across the (potentially busy) roundabout towards Swanland.

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After the gentle climb up to Swanland the descent that leads towards Melton. Note the mined chalk that make up those rolling Yorkshire Wolds hills

At Swanland the bottom edge of the Yorkshire Wolds begin to roll. Just outside Swanland the road drops sharply and the make up of the Wolds is laid bare as the chalk is taken from the hills from the nearby processing plant. It's a fast left turn, but take care at the bottom of the hill as it is tempting to keep the momentum going on the noticeable decline towards Melton. (On this day I was also distracted by two, ahem, underwear models in the field opposite who were being coaxed in to position by a photographer and his assistant.) Happily, I managed to stay on the road.

I wouldn't fancy riding away from Melton along the road towards Swanland, but fair progess can be made on the downhill section towards Melton. Take care at the new-ish roundabout. Pass through Melton in to Welton and following the signs towards Elloughton Dale.

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Not quite the highest point of this section of the Byway, but from this viewpoint the south bank of the Humber is clearly visible as the route goes west

After the short stiff climb out of Welton there are good views to be had across the Humber and over in to Barton. Turn right at the bottom of the hill and follow the brown sign up through Ellougton Dale. This is the best direction to pass through the dale. It is a narrow, twisty road and the surface is sometimes hard to make out in summer when the cover of the trees makes visibility difficult at high speed. It was on this road last year that a young man lost his life after colliding with a deer on the fast descent of Elloughton Dale.

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National Byway signs are used sparingly, but here not at all. Go north (left at this junction) to Beverley

From the unsigned junction shown above, the occasionally 'lumpy' roads are clearly marked as you head towards Beverley. If you build up enough momentum through Little Weighton it is possible to get up (another) short stiff climb on the big chain ring before taking a left turn towards Risby. Fairly quiet roads skirt past Walkington and lead straight to Beverley (right at the lights). There is a shared use path taking you on much of the road towards the Westwood if you feel the need.

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At Beverley Westwood with the minster hidden behind trees. Honest

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Yet more trees obscuring the minster. These may be the ones that the verger wants to have cut down because they spoil the view

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A Yorkshire Wolds Cycle Route sign in keeping with the regular cast iron tourist signage

There are plenty of places to find refreshments in Beverley, and two or three bike shops. I managed to find a place in the sun to keep an eye on my bike and enjoy an undeserved high calorie intake.

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A lady from the shop brought me a knife moments later

From the south there are three main ways for the cyclist to safely get to Beverley. I had taken the western-most route. To cycle to Hull, specifically Kingswood, there is now a shared use path for much of the way alongside the A1174 (actually both sides – you have to cross over at least once). Personally I don't care for mixing it with the (admittedly rare) pedestrians, the numerous side roads and the ends of people's driveways, so I either use the road at less busy times or go along Long Lane and NCN route 66. From Long Lane you can continue along to meet the A1174 again. Alternatively, before the railway crossing take the right turn along the minor road. Bear left (I think a sign reads 'No Through Road' or similar) following the direction of a little sticker pointing out route NCN route 1.

The 'road' is certainly quiet and its surface woud suit tyres commonly found on hybrid or mountain bikes. Each time I've used this way I've been mildly anxious about punctures (the surface possibly last saw attention from the Luftwaffe rather than East Riding Council). To be fair I think it is an unadopted or private road made a permissable route for walkers, cyclists and horseriders. Turn right at the electricity sub station towards Cottingham.

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An electricity sub station is the only thing of note on the NCN routes 1 & 66 between Beverley and Cottingham

No more pictures. Not even of my clogged up front wheel that I had to remove when I got to the tarmac near the power station (I could have done with one of Mrs B's special tongue depressors, instead I found a branch to scrape the mud out from the underside of my 'guards). If you were going back to the Humber Bridge, NCN route 1 guides you back through Cottingham, Kirk Ella and Anlaby. I didn't, preferring to go home and have a lie down. But every little helps.

The National Byway and the National Cycle Network are quite separate endeavours that inevitably share the same routes along part of their length. The last time I checked, the Byway map for this area was out of print, but you don't really need it anyway. That's the point, I suppose. There are various NCN routes that pass through East Yorkshire. If you fancy buying the map for this region ('Discover Yorkshire Wolds, York and Hull') make sure it is marked '2011 edition' as this includes the full course of the Yorkshire Wolds Cycle Route.

A 32-mile route. Click on 'View Elevation' then the Full Screen icon to see the five-mile markers

9 comments on “The National Byway: from the Humber Bridge to Beverley (and back along the National Cycle Network)”

  1. Patrick wrote:

    Good route Chris. Fine looking cake as well – the actual place deserves a mention I reckon.

    I had no knowledge of the National Byway until now, probably because there's none of it yet in north west England, though there apparently will be and I must look out for the new brown 'heritage' signs when they are added to the blue ones. It's good to read that the U.K. cycling market is burgeoning but are there really 24 million young people who already own bicycles? (or even 24 million young people?)

  2. Chris wrote:

    Patrick wrote: Fine looking cake as well – the actual place deserves a mention I reckon.

    Er, I don't know the name of the cafe! That's partly why I wrote that there were so many places to buy refreshments in Beverley 🙂

    The picture taken on the Westwood shows the sort-of competing signs on the same sign post. I know you're not keen on such clutter, but in some places (I wish I'd taken a photograph just outside Easingwold) the National Byway and National Cycle Route combine their signage in to one sign bearing both 'house styles', for want of a better phrase. In the case of the Humber Bridge to Beverley (in that direction) I think the National Byway is a much better route for the cyclist- albeit a lot hillier – than the NCN routes.

    Not sure about those figures. It may take a while to get round to the north west of England; as far as I know the National Byway is the work of just one man. I read about him in a copy of Cycling Active. Unfortunately, not all of that magazine's articles are available online. I think the National Byway maps are back in print, though. Allow 21 days for delivery...

  3. Kern wrote:

    A very nice little route, Chris. That cake looks positively lethal.

  4. Hilary wrote:

    The National Byway seems a bit of a labour of love – as do those cakes! There is certainly none of it on the Isle of Wight and I don't think its reached the mainland round here. Seems like a nice idea.

  5. Kern wrote:

    I suspect that "Smoking Toes" (a.k.a. Chris) may have missed a "Cyclists Dismount" sign at the left hand turn to Melton – something to do with the scenery (i.e. underwear models)? 🙂

  6. Keith Edwards wrote:

    Why did Smoking Toes not get a picture of that scenery?
    Chris does write great ride reports even making the direction interesting.

  7. Mary wrote:

    Chris, I do hope you are feeling better soon, you seem to have been poorly for some time. Fingers crossed all will be well again as Mr Sunshine and his partner Mr Warmth appears.

    Great post. There seems to be ever ending roads on the East Coast of the UK with no traffic on them at all.

    As for the underwear model.... must ave' been cald lasses, for it did not look a cosy day out.

    The chalk hill though, made me think of snow, so maybe it was indeed a warmer day.

  8. Bill wrote:

    The cafe is possibly The Tea Cosy in Highgate judging the position on the map. Always enjoy these ride reports as I live in the area.

  9. Chris wrote:

    Well, after a fruitless search on the Internet I asked the Oracle that is Mrs Bailey. Straight away she told me that the cafe is Lempicka, or La Boutique Du Cafe Lempicka as they call it on the mean streets of HU17. Glad you enjoy reading the blog, Bill.

    I nearly went off the road with both hands on the bars, Keith. I thought it wise to keep moving 😯

    I took an age to get round to writing a post for this little ride, Mary. The pictures were taken back in February, and I've put a few miles in since then, thanks. I still don't think I'm as fit as I was this time last year. I'm just on a lighter bike 😉

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