This month, we take a ride from Ryedale across to the great farmlands of the Yorkshire Wolds and as you cycle along the bed of Pickering Lake, you will see a large concrete structure, Knapton Silo, a well-known landmark owned by Boormalt, the fifth largest maltster in the world.

Boormalt is a subsidiary of the large French grain co-operative Axereal which produces more than a million tons of malt annually. There are 18 different malts produced for the brewer and distiller who hone them into their own individual brands.

Boormalt owns two maltings in England, one in Knapton the other in Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk. They also have two maltings in Scotland in the heart of whisky country.

The barley, grown across Ryedale and the Wolds, is steeped, germinated and kilned to produce a malted grain containing between four and five per cent moisture.

But what is the difference between a normal grain of barley and a malted grain of barley? To look at the grains you wouldn’t see much difference, just a slight relaxing of the malted husk. The only way to tell the difference is to taste it. The barleycorn is hard to bite and has little or no flavour, but the malted barley is soft and flooded with flavours of the sugars formed in the malting process.

How does the maltster achieve the flavour? Simply by making the barley grow, then stopping the growth when the maltster judges the time is right to produce his own distinctive flavours in the malt. Other Yorkshire maltsters, though not in the Boormalt Group, are to be found at Flamborough and Castleford.

Before we cycle onto the Yorkshire Wolds let us stop at Wintringham and take a look inside the fine church and its historic artefacts. You will find an ancient poor box, a fine limestone font, some superb stained glass, Jacobean oak pews and the delightful misericords. There is an informative history leaflet in the church for you to read, but please remember to put a donation in the box before you leave this super church.

Your route

Cycle along the wide street in Wilton and past the church to leave the village. Continue along a bumpy road towards the Yorkshire Wolds, which you will see in the distance. At the T-junction, go left past the farm as the road deteriorates to potholes, a gravelly surface and double bends.

Soon pass some holiday railway coaches then at the crossroads turn right signed to Yedingham and West Heslerton, then as you pass a caravan park the road surface becomes good. Continue along to a t-junction, go left here then almost immediately right at the next junction onto the B1258 signed to Yedingham and West Heslerton.

A chance for a little refreshment at the pub in Yedingham now or a look at the tiny church opposite amongst the houses then continue your journey through the village keeping right at the end to stay on the B1258 signed to Malton. An easy ride now across this flat road and soon you see the local landmark, Knapton Silo, rising in front of you, it is the Boormalt maltings.

Soon cross the railway crossing and cycle past the maltings to soon reach a t-junction onto the A64. Please take care here and take your time to cross safely. When you do cross, turn right signed to York and Malton then almost immediately left signed to Driffield, West Lutton and Wintringham. Not far for refreshment at the Lavender Farm then onto Wintringham. The church is at the very end of the village so cycle along to take a look inside, it is usually open.

Continue past the church then start to climb gently over Linton Wold. It is a long way to the top of the Wold but relax and enjoy the view. In about two miles you come to a double bend, at the second part of the bend go left to leave the main road at the sign for Heslerton and Sherburn. Then in about a hundred metres turn right onto a narrow, gravelly, potholed road signed to Sherburn. A steep descent now then a climb onto Heslerton Wold.

As you cycle across the top of the Wold you will see some great farmland around you and their associated farmhouses. Keep straight ahead at all times following signs for Sherburn. Eventually you reach the top of the Wold and have a grand view across the valley to the coast. Start to descend now, take care the road has a few nasty bends and a poor surface.

Soon you are down the hill and approaching a t-junction, go left now to the traffic lights on the A64. Go straight ahead here into Sherburn village and watch out for the nasty speed humps. Cycle through the village to eventually reach a level crossing, the name of the station is called Weaverthorpe, not Sherburn as you might suppose.

Continue along watching out for a humped back bridge then continue across Lake Pickering again to eventually reach the outskirts of Brompton. Before you reach the village take the first turning on the left signed to Snainton Carrs along a narrow road alongside the beck. Keep on this narrow road for almost three miles keeping straight ahead at all times past two crossroads to eventually reach a t-junction. Go right here to cycle along to Snainton.

At the t-junction go left then cycle along to look out for Pudding Lane on the left, do not turn into it but continue a little further along to turn left into West Lane, then take the next right turn to take you to the A170. Turn left here, and then take the next turning left to leave the A170 signed to Malton and York.

Continue along for a while and when you reach a three way junction on a sharp corner turn right signed to Pickering, Ebberston and Allerston. In a couple of hundred meters turn left signed to Allerston and Pickering. At the next junction turn left then immediately right onto the narrow road to Wilton that you came on.

The facts

Distance – 27miles/44km

Terrain – Flat, easy in the Vale of Pickering, a bit more difficult across the Wolds

Best map – OS Landranger 101

Start/grid reference – Wilton GR 862828

Parking – Roadside in Wilton towards the church

Refreshments – Pub in Yedingham, Lavender Farm, near Wintringham, and others along the way

Guide book – Cycling through History across Yorkshire, by J Brian Beadle is an e-book I have just published in the Kindle bookstore. It contains 40 cycles across the county.