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Cycle ride around the Sykes’ churches in the Yorkshire Wolds
SIR Tatton Sykes 4th Baronet and Sir Tatton Sykes 5th Baronet were responsible for the financing of the building or restoring of almost 20 churches on or around the Yorkshire Wolds.
Many have ornate interiors, the wall paintings at Garton-on-the- Wolds are amazing, the opulence of the interior at Bishop Wilton is grand and you will love the richly painted ceiling at Helperthorpe.
The church at Helperthorpe stands on the hillside overlooking the village. Originally built of wood, it was demolished in the 19th century and rebuilt. Take a look inside when you reach Helperthorpe and enjoy its painted ceiling which was restored in 1998.
But if you want to see a really striking church interior, I suggest that one day you visit the church at Garton-on-the-Wolds, near Driffield.
The church of St Michael and All Angels dates back to before the 12th century.
Its restoration was funded by the Sykes family in the 19th century, its walls richly decorated.
The unique wall paintings depict biblical scenes of some force, taking you on a journey through the Old Testament into the new. Pictures of Noah building his ark, scenes of monthly labours and so much more that I will let you explore by yourself, finding out is much more satisfying than being told.
The magnificent stained glass windows play their part by being connected with the scenes painted on the walls and to complete the panorama the ceilings are richly decorated.
Along the route we pass nearby five of the Sykes’ churches so you can take a look and judge them for yourself, but none compare with Garton-on-the-Wolds.
The following is a list of all the Sykes’ churches: Bishop Wilton, Cowlam, East Heslerton, Fridaythorpe, Fimber, Garton-onthe- Wolds, Helperthorpe, Hilston (Holderness), Kirby Grindalythe, Kirkburn, Langtoft, North Frodingham, Sherburn, Sledmere, Thixendale, Wansford, West Lutton, Weaverthorpe, and Wetwang.
LEAVE Sherburn heading for the A64 and go straight across at the traffic lights. In about a hundred metres, go right signed to Helperthorpe and Lutton. A narrow country road now which soon starts to ascend as you cycle to the top of Sherburn Brow and East Heslerton Wold.
If you are cycling the route on a Tuesday in summer, you might like to pop in to Jackson’s Wold farm and see the magnificent open gardens.
A cup of tea and cake is available, too. There is a small charge for entry.
Superb views across the valley now to the North York Moors and beyond as you climb still higher.
The road is quite gritty but you will enjoy the long ascents and descents. Soon you pass a large farm, then only a quarter of a mile further along, turn left at the sign for Helperthorpe.
The road surface deteriorates rapidly now with grass growing along the centre and a few potholes to negotiate. However, you soon descend to Helperthorpe, but if you wish to visit the church and see the magnificent ceiling, watch out for a driveway on your right with a broken metal gate before you reach the village. This is the access to the church. Don’t worry about the private house but please respect their privacy.
At the junction, turn right signed to Luttons and Sledmere to cycle through the village of Helperthorpe.
Not far past the village turn left onto a narrow road signed to York.
This is a slippery, twisty road and is used by more than a fair share of traffic.
At the crossroads, go left up the hill signed to Cowlam and Driffield.
Soon you reach the couple of houses and a farm which constitute Cowlam, turn left at the crossroads now signed to Rudston, Scarborough and Bridlington.
This road can be quite busy but is a wide smooth road and in less than two miles, turn right onto a smaller road. In about a quarter of a mile, turn left signed to Langtoft.
A long straight descent along a narrow road now. Watch out for the bumpy corner at the end, then cycle along with good views of the windmills near the coast to soon start a long, serious descent into the village of Langtoft.
At the junction in the village, turn left to climb a long, bumpy and sometimes busy B road. At the top of the hill where the road bends to the right, turn left onto a narrow road and past the Old Mill Restaurant. At the end of the long, straight road, cross the road junction with care, keeping straight ahead signed to Butterwick and Sherburn.
Eventually descend to the cross roads at Butterwick. Our route turns right here but if you would like some refreshment, you could go left to the farm shop which sells sandwiches, pies and drinks.
If you do not need the farm shop, turn right signed to Foxholes and Bridlington. In a couple of miles turn left at the crossroads signed to Foxholes and Scarborough. This is a busy, fast road so please take care.
Not far into the village of Foxholes, turn left signed to Ganton. Ascend past the church, then turn left onto a very narrow, gravely, potholed road. Continue along climbing gently to the summit of Alison Wold, bear left near the top then soon start a very steep, twisty descent. At the junction go right, then not far to cross the A64 at the traffic lights to return to Sherburn village.
Distance – 22miles/35km
Terrain – Steep at times
Best map – OS Landranger 101
Start/grid ref – Sherburn, grid ref: 959769
Refreshments – Plenty of village pubs, café at Sledmere adjacent to the house car park
Public toilets – None