HIDING in the shrubbery near the crossroads in the tiny village of Fordon on the Yorkshire Wolds is a quaint church. It is renowned as the smallest church in regular use across the whole of Yorkshire.

Like many churches it has been left to rot at times, then lovingly restored for worship again.

It is reputed to have been a hideaway for contraband when smugglers roamed the Wolds travelling between villages like Fordon which are in secluded valleys.

There are many interesting features inside its four walls and it is a good place for a rest to explore the church when on route to Rudston.

When you arrive at Rudston, you will find there is a lot to see, mainly in the churchyard, which is where you will see an ancient monolith protruding from the earth.

It is the tallest standing stone in England and is thought to date back to the Bronze Age where it was dragged all the way from Cayton near the coast and erected on the hill where the church is today.

Alternatively, you could believe that it was thrown by the devil who tried to hit the church with one of his stone arrows which thankfully missed its target.

Winifred Holtby, the youngest daughter of a well-to-do farmer, was born in Rudston, in June 1898. She had an eventful life but is probably best known for writing the novel South Riding, which was set in the area she knew well. She probably thought the name South Riding would have fitted in well with the North, East and West Ridings, which would have reached as far south as Hull.

She wrote a second novel, which was based in the same area, called The Land of Green Ginger, which you will find is the name of a street in Hull.

Green ginger is a conserve of ginger and lemon juice and was made along the street called The Land of Green Ginger. It had Royal patronage, however, as King Henry VIII had a large house in Hull where, because of the cold weather, took pleasure in drinking the ginger liquid to keep himself warm.

Winifred also worked as a journalist and had a reputation for writing lively and witty articles. She wrote many more books in her short lifetime, 14 in all, the last was South Riding which, because of her untimely death in September 1935, aged 37, was published posthumously and was highly thought of, winning the James Tait Black Memorial prize.

She is buried at Rudston and if you care to walk to the far end of Rudston churchyard, you will find and amusing but interesting epitaph on her headstone.


Your route

Starting with the church on your left, cycle through Hunmanby to the mini-roundabout. Turn right here signed to Burton Fleming, Wold Newton and Driffield.

A short, steep ascent now, then continue along following signs for Wold Newton for about two miles, then at the crossroads, turn right signed to Fordon along a narrow road.

A bit of a rough road now, but you soon arrive at Fordon. At the cross roads in the village, you will see St James Church on the left. Keep straight ahead here signed to Willerby Wold and Ganton through the tiny village, then start to climb.

Watch out for a gritty road surface.

Eventually you reach a crossroad.

Take care here crossing the sometimes busy B1249 and keep straight ahead, signed to Ganton Dale.

This worsening road has lots of potholes, grit and sometimes mud, so beware. Not far and you reach a T-junction, turn left here signed as Cycle Route 166.You will still have a few potholes to deal with but considerably better than before.

Enjoy this undulating ride across the Wolds to soon descend past the church into Foxholes. At the crossroads, turn right onto the B1249.

Just after the speed derestriction signs, turn left at the crossroads signed to Wold Newton and Bridlington, then almost immediately, turn right just past the cottages along a narrow road signed with a brown byway cycle route.

Another deteriorating road with holes, gravel and mud. Go past the farms, keeping straight ahead until you reach the village sign for Octon. Just through the village, past the row of houses on the right, turn left at the sign for Thwing, along a narrow road and soon you arrive at Thwing village.

At the T-junction, turn right signed to Kilham and Driffield. Climb a little, then at the crossroads, go straight ahead signed to Kilham.

Enjoy this good road as it undulates to eventually a long descent towards Kilham. At the bottom of the hill, turn left along North Back Lane, then at the T-junction, turn left. Not far before you turn right signed to Rudston onto an easy cycling road. At the village, turn left signed to Burton Fleming and Bridlington.

At the next T-junction, turn right signed to Burton Fleming and Bridlington again, then pass the church and turn immediately right at the sign for ancient monument in churchyard.

Take time visiting the church and monolith, then remount and continue past the church.

Bear right along School Lane, then right along Middle Street to the main road.

Go straight ahead at the crossroads signed to Burton Fleming and Hunmanby and in about oneand- a- half miles, turn right signed to Hunmanby and Grindale.

Watch out for potholes again, then at the crossroads, go straight ahead signed to Hunmanby and Scarborough still keeping an eye out for potholes.

Eventually, the road improves and in three miles at the crossroads, turn right to signed to Hunmanby and Bridlington, then at the miniroundabout turn left to return to Hunmanby.


The facts

Distance – 29miles/47km

Terrain – easy apart from the potholes

Best map – OS Landranger 101

Start/grid ref – Hunmanby GR 095776

Parking – roadside in village

Refreshments – fish and chips and pub in Hunmanby. Pubs on route

Public toilets – None