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Cycle ride in The Wolds
Spotting the extinct Bustard in its old haunt on the wolds
THE Great Bustard was last seen in this country in 1832 and is one of Europe’s most endangered birds. The extinction of these birds in Britain is thought to have been brought about by changes in agriculture and the destruction of eggs. The Great Bustard is the heaviest flying bird in the world topping out with weights of more than 20kg and having a lifespan of about 20 years.
The re-introduction of the Great Bustard started in 2004 with chicks reared in Russia and annual releases of several birds in this country each year since. The biggest achievement of the re-introduction of these giants of the bird world was the successful hatching of eggs in the wild on Salisbury plain in 2009.
What is the connection between the Great Bustard and this cycle ride? Until their extinction the Great Bustard was common on the Wolds of Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, last seen here around 1826. The habitat suited them as they loved treeless plains, and wide fields of corn, grass and clover.
Their demise came with the change in agricultural methods which resulted in their nests being destroyed, they were also hunted as they were a popular tasty dish. So as we cycle around the Wolds, keep an eye out for the odd Bustard, especially as you pass Bustard Nest Farm and Little Bustard Cottage on the road to Hutton Cranswick.
There is another treat for you on this ride, the wonderful church at Garton on the Wolds. Take time to stop and admire the architecture and the glorious interior of this ornate church. There is an excellent colour guide for sale in the church.
Leave Driffield from Richardsons Ford garage on Westgate. Keep the garage on your right, then at the junction, turn left to soon reach a roundabout. Straight ahead here signed to York, Little Driffield and Garton. Not far to Garton on the Wolds, cycle through the village past the pond and phone box, then turn left along Station Road signed to Kirkburn and Norman Church.
Take a good look at this magnificent church with its superb Norman arches outside and the glorious painted walls and ceiling inside.
Continue along past the church to eventually reach a T-junction. This is a busy road, so turn right here with care signed to Goole and Kirkburn. Pass through the double bends, then take the right turn into Kirkburn. Dismount if it is busy for a safer right, turn when clear.
Cycle along through Kirkburn heading towards the church which is another fine wolds building. At the junction, turn right signed to Tibthorpe, then cycle along until you meet the crossroads at Tibthorpe. Go straight across here with care to continue through the village along Main Street into open country with grand views all round.
The road along here is wide and straight for about four miles ending at a junction. Go left here signed to Huggate and Pocklington.
At the next junction you have a choice, keep straight ahead if you are having a snack at the Wolds Inn, Huggate, if not turn left signed to North Dalton. More grand views as you descend towards North Dalton, keep straight ahead at all times until you arrive in the village. At the T- junction go left onto a good road but be wary of double bends and a slippery surface. In about two miles look out for a narrow road on your right signed to Bainton. Cycle along here through the quiet village to the main road.
Take care at the crossroads and go straight ahead along the appropriately named Dead Lane which leads to the church and cemetery.
At the end of Dead Lane, turn right along Church Street. At the church go left along Applegarth Lane.
A narrow, slippery road now with double bends taking you through Neswick Farm to a T-junction. Go right here over an old railway bridge, then soon turn left to cycle along past Burn Butts farm.
Enjoy the open countryside with good views all round, if you look to the left now and across the field you will see Bustard Nest Farm.
Turn left at the Wolds Cycling sign, then cycle down to Bustard Nest Farm, go right here taking care on these narrow, slippery roads still keeping an eye out for double bends.
Soon you pass Little Bustard cottage, evidence that the mighty bird once existed around here. Continue cycling along towards Hutton Cranswick passing TJ’s coffee shop along the way to soon reach a T-junction at the A164. Go left here to cycle along the main road with care to a roundabout. Bear right now, then left at the next roundabout to return to Driffield.
Distance – 27 miles (43km)
Terrain – Easy
Best maps – OS Landranger 106
Start/grid ref – Richardsons Ford garage in Driffield, grid ref 023579
Refreshments – Wolds Inn at Huggate is recommended. Try the steak pie if you are hungry. TJ’s coffee shop on the approach to Hutton Cranswick
Public toilets – Driffield