Selby York Circuit
Sunday 12 September 2009
An 86 mile round trip using traffic free cycle paths and National cycle Routes, (Sustrans) and quiet lanes (The National Byway)
Starting at Selby Railway station, we used the National Cycle Route from there to York. At first we wend through housing and factories, and on a few busier roads, but soon we are out amongst the fields bursting with hay bales and combine harvesters. The route is full of interest, although flat, as the roads and lanes are narrow and winding. Every turn brings not only fresh views but a new scent, manure, grain siloing, pigs, barbecues, grass, honeysuckle, hay, cows, earth, woodsmoke, sausages.
The (National Cycle Route 65) traffic free exit from York to the North leaves virtually opposite Baileys Café, near the minster, you go down a dark cobbled street into the park and onto the riverbank, which is then followed through the playing fields, (everybody having fun). The dark willowy bank conceals boat action on the other side, in the brown swift waters, rowing fours and small creatures rustling.
When it is time to leave the river, the route weaves through fields on a tarmac strip made specially for us nearly all the way to Easingwold. The place names are a treat in themselves, coming up rewardingly often as we pedal onwards- Stillingfleet, Acaster Malbis, Nether Poppleton, Thickpenny, Nun Monkton, Wool Knoll, Full Sutton, Buttercrambe, Fangfoss, Wilberfoss, Wheldrake, Thorganby and Skipwith.
The road between Brandsby and Castle Howard remains in the memory, as a high, airy ridge with long views off on either side. The long straight road, punctuated with lofty extravagant follies leads to Castle Howard, where on the green sward we ate our butties, looking at the intrusive portable show home, and the invitation to phone ‘Simon’ about buying one on the estate. Simon is most likely Simon Howard, of Castle Howard, enterprisingly opening the gates to new initiative. Don’t suppose it would be such a bad address to have.
We encountered the National Byway, for the first time and found out that it is a 4,500-mile (7,240 km.) sign-posted cycling route round England and parts of Scotland and Wales. Quiet lanes through sleepy villages led us via several crossings of major roads (long time waiting and thanks to the driver who stopped for us) to Cliffe where if you turn right at the bottom of the village, you will find the traffic free route leading along the river and back to the centre of Selby.
View from Google Earth of Selby showing where the cycle path weaves through the flat fields
Castle Howard showing the long straight road with obelisks
Memorable are the views of imposing Drax Power Station and the strange otherworldy quality of the dwellings and factories along the river side.