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Cycle ride at Stamford Bridge
THE great battle of Stamford Bridge is well documented, the bloodshed, the pain and the victory.
It tells us how the old wooden bridge was stoutly defended by one man, then lost by the ingenuity of one of his opponents by attacking him from the river below in a makeshift boat.
To celebrate this ‘man in a boat’ the residents of Stamford Bridge would make a pie in the shape of a boat on its anniversary. I wonder if they still do this today?
Many of the dying and wounded from the battle did flee into the surrounding countryside, probably around Aldby Park where the gardens and house stand in magnificent surroundings.
There is an abundance of history associated with Aldby Park and Buttercrambe which would have stood on the Roman Road from Malton to York, Roman relics have been found at a small camp nearby.
There was also a Saxon palace there, the earthen mounds are known as Edwin’s castle. It was there that an attempt was made on the life of King Edwin of Northumberland on Easter Sunday, 627. He was saved from a fatal blow by one of his thanes who died from his wounds protecting his king.
As if this is not enough for us to digest, there is one more piece of historical interest for me to tell you about. Early in the 18th century, a member of the Darley family, the owners of Aldby Park, near Buttercrambe, brought an Arab horse in Aleppo and sent it to Aldby Park.
This magnificent animal became known as the Darley Arabian who became the sire of Flying Childers, supposed to be the fastest horse ever known. He was never beaten on the racecourse and this chestnut with his white nose and legs was easily recognised as it galloped by at amazing speed.
The Darley Arabian of Aldby Park was eventually purchased by the Duke of Devonshire and resided at the Devonshire stud until its death in 1741.
Leave the car park at Stamford Bridge and cycle into the village past the double bends and shops, then turn right signed to High Catton and Low Catton, then at the church, go left along Moor Road signed to Full Sutton and Fangfoss.
Cycle along through pleasant countryside keeping straight ahead guided by the occasional Fangfoss sign, then in about two-and-a-half miles at the Tjunction, turn left to cycle along to Fangfoss village.
At the T-junction, go right signed to Bolton and Pocklington where soon you reach Bolton, just past the village, turn left at an unmarked junction onto a narrow road.
Cycle along for about two miles along this twisty, slippery road following signs for Bishop Wilton.
Eventually you reach Bishop Wilton to cycle through the village to a T-junction.
Turn left here and in a few yards, go right signed to Fridaythorpe. This is a long, steep climb which takes you up the side of Garrowby Hill to a Tjunction at the A166. Go right here with care to leave the A166 in about half a mile to turn left signed to Thixendale and Malton.
Descending now along a minor road with grand views across to York on the left, this is another Roman road which traverses the Wolds. Continue along for about four miles as the road undulates keeping straight ahead at all times following signs for Leavening until you reach a white house, turn left here signed to Acklam and Barthorpe.
In about half-a-mile turn right to Acklam. There is a sign but it was twisted round when I passed it.
The road descends steeply now and passes through a slippery wooded area to a T-junction, go left here to cycle through the village of Acklam which is now signed to Leppington.
The road is narrow and rough in places now but soon reaches Leppington, turn left here at the entry to Leppington village signed to Malton along another rough road. At the Tjunction go left signed to Stamford Bridge and Malton.
In about one mile, turn right signed to Scrayingham along a narrow road.
Take care on the descent which can be quite slippery at times. Soon you arrive at Scrayingham. The church is on your immediate right as you enter the village. There are many interesting features at this Saxon church and is the burial place of the Hudson family, whose famous son was George Hudson of railway fame.
Continue along through the village still on a difficult road until you reach a T-junction. Go right here over two bridges, with the now restored old mill house on the left and Aldby Park, famous for the Darley Arabian on your right as you cycle along through Buttercrambe.
In a couple of miles, turn left signed to Stamford Bridge and Pocklington, then eventually left again to join the main road over the bridge into Stamford Bridge and the car park.
Distance – 24 miles/39km
Terrain – Some narrow steep roads with testing ascents and descents
Best maps – OS Landranger 100 & 106
Start/grid ref – Stamford Bridge, grid ref: 713555
Parking – Car park near the bridge at Stamford Bridge
Refreshments – Pubs along the way
Public toilets – Stamford Bridge