MY last two routes centred on Malton, so by way of a change I’ll now take you to the southern boundary of the area covered by the Gazette & Herald.

There’s still a bit of a theme though, because last month we looked at the rivers Dove and Seven (tributaries of the Derwent) north of Malton, and now we will explore a little of the Derwent itself; downstream, south of Malton, in fact, south of Stamford Bridge.

This also gives me an opportunity to visit the St Vincent Arms, at Sutton-upon-Derwent. I’m pleased to be able to report this is still the excellent watering hole I remember from about 10 years ago when our cycling group called in for lunch on the return journey from Belgium (via P&O Ferries, Hull).

Today’s route is pretty flat. It is also relatively short at 20 miles. I was glad of both of these features when I rode round on a quiet Tuesday afternoon, early in February. The Vale of York and Ryedale both being shrouded in freezing fog added some atmosphere to proceedings and I was content in my choice that I wasn’t taking on anything more adventurous.

It is a good one for beginners, or if you have teenagers in tow. While most of the roads are quiet, there are two crossings of the A1079, which is anything but. So I would not entertain this with a child under (say) 12.

Just to complete this introductory section, a quick mention of Sustrans, the Sustainable Transport charity. Sustrans seeks to map, and to mark by discreet signage, quite, scenic routes for the convenience of the leisure cyclist. These routes are researched and submitted by a network of club cyclists, each having an intimate knowledge of their own area. Therefore it is inevitable from time to time that their opinion of a pleasant route will coincide with mine.

One of these numbered routes (No.66) runs right through the centre of Stamford Bridge. So for the first few miles today, (as we leave town) you’ll have the benefit of the signage to supplement my description. The middle part of the day will be ad-hoc and then we’ll pick up Sustrans route 66 again towards the end of the ride as we come back into Stamford Bridge from the west.

Today’s start is the Viking Road car park, off The Square in Stamford Bridge.

Leaving the car park, head for The Square, straight ahead, but I’d suggest you walk your bike along the footpath for a few yards, to save crossing the A166 as in only a few yards we are going right. So instead, keep to the footpath on the right hand side of the A166 and your walk will take you past the doctors surgery, public toilets (well maintained) and to a sign for Fangfoss (right). At this point, you may be tempted, as I was, by Temptations Café, open seven days, 9am until 4pm. An excellent filter coffee and bacon roll ensured that I was suitably fuelled for the cold misty lanes ahead.

Getting underway finally, head out of town towards Fangfoss, taking the left in front of the church, onto Moor Road.

You’ll also notice the little blue, white and red Sustrans sign, indicating route 66, which we will follow for a couple of miles. The route here is actually part of a long-distance signed Way of the Roses, which runs 170 miles from Morecambe to Bridlington (or vice versa of course). The route has its own marking of a red rose and a white rose, signifying the Houses of Lancaster and York, respectively.

About two-and-a-half miles out of town, and still following signs for Fangfoss, take the left, and pass the interestingly named Fat Rabbit Farm.

Very soon, there is a road on the right, signed Barmby Moor three miles. Taking a little breather, and photo, I noticed that the brick building at this junction is the Old Station House. If you look to the left of the road (towards Fangfoss) you’ll see the remains of what must have been quite a substantial platform. On the York to Beverley line, the station functioned from 1847 to 1959. It served nearby Full Sutton airfield (Halifax Bombers) during the Second World War and the RAF had its own dedicated siding. The station building was grade II-listed in 1987.


Gazette & Herald:

Taking a brief rest from the Stamford Bridge circular

Back in the saddle, head south towards Barmby Moor. Straight over a crossroads (Bolton Lane) and about another half-mile later, the Sustrans route goes left towards Yapham.

This is where we leave the Sustrans route, so ignore this left and continue straight on, in the same direction as before, now signed Pocklington. Immediately over this small crossroads you’ll see a sign on your left with the street name Feoffee Common Lane.

So hands up, who knows what a Feoffee is? Well, in modern language, it is a trustee, but the term originated in medieval times. A feoffment was a gift of land, property and income there from, for local charitable purposes. Still in existence, and registered at the Charities Commission as the Yapham Poors Charity, but known locally as the Feoffee Trust, it was believed to have been established in the 1600’s, with the earliest surviving documentation dated 1733. That document is a Terrier, or register of property, owned by the trust.

We arrive now at the A1079 where the traffic dispels all historical thoughts. We need to be straight over into Main Street, signed as Sutton-upon-Derwent four miles.

Safely across, the peace and quiet returns as we head south-west, entering the woodland of Allerthorpe Common. This is National Trust woodland, and a nature reserve.

Beyond the woods, watch to the right for Sandhills Cottages and the patriotic V.R. (indicating Queen Victoria) set into the front elevation with contrasting brickwork. Onwards past Woodhouse Grange Cricket Club on the left (used by the local team at our destination of Sutton-upon-Derwent) then another set of matching “Queen Victoria” cottages on the right.

Sandhills was a Georgian Regency resort on the south coast near Bournemouth, and with which the young princess Victoria was familiar. However, I’d guess that the cottages will have been built about the time of her diamond jubilee in 1897.

At this point we reach the one and only hill of the day, a gentle rise really, and lasting about a quarter of a mile. You’ll see some warning chevrons ahead, marking the top, from where you will have a view of Sutton-upon-Derwent.

Into the village and left at the T-junction, you’ll see the St Vincent Arms ahead. Inside, there is a restaurant and a comfortable bar, with warming coal-effect (gas) fire, which was most welcome, as was the choice of beverages. The pub is, of course, Camra recommended. So I had a choice, among others, of three varieties of Fullers, Timothy Taylors and Greene King.


Gazette & Herald:

Outside the St Vincent Arms in Sutton upon Derwent

However, I followed my usual custom of choosing the local brew, in this case Yorkshire Terrier (4.2 per cent abv) from York Brewery, my second encounter of the day with a Terrier. The St Vincent also does a varied bar menu, including 11 types of sandwiches, most at £5.95 to include salad and chips.

So who (or what) was St Vincent? Well, the pub sign shows HMS St Vincent (1815) a 120-gun (Nelson Class) ship of the line. She saw active service and was, among other things, flagship of Rear-Admiral Sir Charles Napier, commanding the Channel Fleet, from 1847 to 1849.

The true connection, however, is more prosaic, with the village having had a close relationship with the Jervis family (holders of the title of Viscount St Vincent since 1735). The manor passed to Carnegie Robert John Jervis, third Viscount St Vincent, in 1857. I think the historic warship makes a much better pub sign than would a portrait of the Viscount.

Back to pedal power and left out of the pub onto the B1228. Retracing to the T-junction, but now keeping left on the B-road, direction York. The road comes close to River Derwent on your left, and there’s some hard standing (with a metal height barrier) where you can stop and safely view the river, weir and remains of a lock on the far bank.

A few yards further on, you arrive at the grade II-listed bridge over the Derwent, controlled by traffic lights. Crossing to the west, we are now in Elvington, home to the Yorkshire Air Museum. The mist meant I could see about a field’s width, either side of the road. Somewhere above me, hidden in the mist, a single engine propeller driven aircraft circled. I have to admit it felt a little eerie.

A note of caution about this stretch because once out of Elvington the road reverts to the national speed limit of 60mph and we have about one-and-a-half miles before turning off.

Watch for the turn on the right, signposted Dunnington. Turning here, we are back on a quiet road again for a mile or so, then we meet the A1079 at a staggered junction. We’ve crossed this road earlier in the day, so take care again. First cross the main road, to the right of the garage, then immediately left, onto Common Road.

Various business premises either side, we shortly pass tennis courts and a children’s playground to the right. Here, turn right, onto The Green and then immediately right again, onto Intake Lane. Note the decorative route 66 bike on this corner.


Gazette & Herald:

The decorative route 66 bike on a corner in Dunnington

Here we become reacquainted with the blue Sustrans signage, which will take us the final few miles back to Stamford Bridge.

Going straight ahead on Intake Lane, the route becomes narrower, and the surface deteriorates. This is the start of the farm road section; Belgian style. I know that this is passable on road bikes as two sporting cyclists passed me in the opposite direction. For myself however, I was happier on my hybrid Cannondale “Bad Boy”, with its 32mm tyres. If anything, the next mile or so gets sandy rather than muddy.

So the tarmac ends at Hagg Farm, and becomes a farm track as it bends first right then left, and emerges into fields with Hagg Wood on the right. Through a gate and passing a final farm house on the right, the track becomes little more than a sandy path running along the right hand side of a field. Go through the gate and we are back on a vehicle width track again, albeit running straight across an open field.

In the middle of the field, there’s a junction. No signposts here I’m afraid. Just keep right, towards buildings on the far edge of the field. This is Lime Field Farm. A sign on the farm wall takes you around the left-hand side of the buildings. The surface starts to improve again.

Beyond Lime Field Farm, you reach a T-Junction, with a hedge facing you. Turn left here and onto proper road surface again as you approach Hendwick Hall Farm. Don’t ramp up the speed too much though, or you’ll be caught out by the speed bumps both before and after the farm. Instead, just take things easy and enjoy the isolation.

After Hendwick Hall, there follows a delightful avenue of trees; now on a single track road with passing places. Scoreby Farmhouse is on the right and reduce speed here to walking pace as you are approaching the main A166. Stop just short of the junction and look for the Sustrans sign, a fingerpost this time, pointing right. So don’t go onto, or across the road, but instead join the shared (cycles and pedestrians) raised path which will take you safely against the flow of traffic coming out of Stamford Bridge.

After a few yards, the path curves right away from the roadside and into woodland, but still parallel to the road. Emerging soon from the trees, the path then turns sharp right and away from the road altogether. You’ll notice an embankment to your right and shortly the tarmac path starts to climb gently up to join it. You are now on the old York to Beverley railway line, which we saw earlier at Yapham Station.

If you don’t have a head for heights, keep straight ahead, following the path, as you re-cross the Derwent. Be aware as it remains a shared route and is popular with dog walkers. Otherwise, stop and enjoy the view from the railway viaduct parapet, particularly to the left, which looks upstream to the road bridge at Stamford.

At the far side of the viaduct is a narrow aluminium pinch point, continue forward to soon find yourself at the remains of Stamford Bridge station, which effectively marks the end of today’s ride. The station originally had three platforms and a small goods yard – a sense of scale remains.

Leave the path at the old level crossing gate ahead, and turn left onto the roadway, to pass in front of the station building, now a private members’ club for Stamford residents.

Now you can either follow the road as it curves gently downhill to The Square, to call again at Temptations Café, or toilets, as may be appropriate. Or instead, watch out for Viking Road, just after the station, and go left, which curves round in a clockwise direction to bring you out at the car park entrance.


St Vincent Arms, Main Street, Sutton upon Derwent YORK YO41 4BN 01904 608349

Ordnance Survey Landranger Map No.106 Market Weighton Stamford Bridge

Parking: Viking Road public car park

Postcode/satnav: YO41 1BS free, 8am to 6pm

Distance: Full route to St Vincent Arms, and return, 20 miles. The pub is at exactly half distance.