THE weather has been cold and damp, so today's ride is short as befits the season. However, we’ll still take in a nice pub lunch, and some interesting sights.

Today’s ride starts from Malton Station. Where else can you get a nice mug of coffee these days for only £1? Access to the cafe is from the station platform. Be sure to leave your bike locked up towards the eastern end of the platform, as TransPennine Express have polite signs up asking you not to restrict access to the cafe or ticket office.

Head straight north from the station, towards the town centre, crossing the River Derwent, and meeting Yorkersgate at a T-junction. Turn left onto Yorkersgate, noting the offices of Gazette & Herald across the road, and head out of town on the York Road.

Watch for the Talbot Hotel, set back from the road on the left, then look for a brown tourist sign for Castle Howard. Follow this, turning right onto Castle Howard Road. Climb gently out of town, passing above the main A64 bypass.

Keep straight on for about four miles, and pass through the attractive village of Coneysthorpe (an old Scandinavian word meaning Kings Farmstead).

Just beyond, turn left at a crossroad, signed towards Welburn, and another brown sign for Castle Howard. Just by this junction is an interesting house, North Lodge, part of the castle estate. Note the coat of arms, dated 1874. Even the gate piers at this junction are Grade II listed.

You are now heading due south, on the primary route through the Castle Howard estate. The castle itself is beyond the Great Lake, now on your left. Ahead, on the hill, is the distinctive Obelisk, built 1714-1715 to commemorate the victories of the 1st Duke of Marlborough.

On reaching the Obelisk, the visitor entrance to the castle is left, but we are continuing straight on, signed A64, Scarborough. The words “straight on” have never been more appropriate than they are to this road, which does exactly that.

As far as the eye can see. Pass through an arch in the next gatehouse, look for some stone walls at each side of the road, a few hundred metres beyond, pass those, and then look back over your left shoulder to see the perimeter wall of the castle stretching away, like a miniature version of the Great Wall of China. Pass through a second archway, known as Carrmire Gate.

Left at the next junction brings us to Welburn village, and the Crown & Cushion. Follow the sign for the car park at the rear where you will find a beer garden, and benches against which to lock your bike. The rear doors take you straight into a dining area, but head for the front left (from the rear) corner, where you will find a proper comfy bar. The pub proudly displays its York CAMRA certificate, as Country Pub of the Season, Spring 2015.

If you’d prefer a cafe-style lunch, then the Leaf & Loaf, stands opposite the pub.

Retrace to the previous junction, turning left to re-join the route. The Obelisk and archways are now behind you and ahead is a fine monument to George William Frederick Howard, 7th Earl of Carlisle. Just past the monument a descent starts, so take care, but enjoy the views out over Derwent valley and the Wolds beyond.

Give way at a large sign, Barton Hill Crossroads, and be careful crossing straight over the busy A64, signed for Howsham. Straight on through pretty Barton-le-Willows, now signed Howsham three miles. Descend through some woods and note a sign off left for Crambe.

We’ll need that shortly, but for the moment, continue straight on to cross the three arched Howsham Bridge, over the Derwent. Beyond the bridge, cross to the right of the road (opposite a private driveway to Howsham Hall). Follow a footpath sign for Howsham Mill. I needed to lift my bike over the wooden fence, to negotiate the pedestrian “kissing gate”. Bear in mind that this is a footpath, so no cycling, but walk beneath the bridge archway, and follow a well made path for a short distance to cross by a disused lock gate, onto a small island in the Derwent, and emerge in front of Howsham water mill.

In Gothic Revival style, the building is undergoing restoration and isn’t open to the public, excepting Sundays, 11am to 4pm. More information may be had at

Retrace to Howsham Bridge, and cross the Derwent once more, to the junction on right for Crambe, as noted earlier. Follow this, to climb gently away from the river, and cross the York-Malton railway line at Howsham Gates. A train had just passed, so I stopped to have a word with the two crossing keepers who were re-opening the gates for road traffic. A rare breed indeed. I then took a small detour into Crambe, before rejoining the route to take a right at the next cross roads, signed Kirkham. Descend steeply to cross the railway again, before another old bridge over the Derwent, to pause at the ruins of Kirkham Priory. Just beyond, is a sign left for Malton, but instead keep straight on signed Westow. This is a more gentle and quieter climb out of the valley for cyclists.

At outskirts of Westow, it’s left at T junction, signed Malton five miles. Ignore the first left which goes back to Kirkham, but a mile later, take a left signed for Menethorpe. This winds through the fields for just under three miles until reaching a T-junction, where give way and follow the main road (left) back into Malton. St Nicholas Street car park is just on the right before the level crossing (opposite Lidl).

Date of Ride

Wednesday, October 19

The map: Ordnance Survey Landranger number 100, Malton & Pickering

Cafe: Station Buffet, Malton Station, YO17 9RD; Leaf & Loaf, Artisan Bakery & Cafe, Welburn, YO60 7DX,

The pub: The Crown & Cushion, Welburn, YO60 7DZ,, 01653 618777

The bike: Dolan Preffisio 2016

Distance: 24 miles. Altitude gain 265 metres

Car parking: St Nicholas Street, Norton, YO17 9AQ (free).