I WAS really lucky for last month’s column, and managed to ride in some rare winter sunshine.

This time around it was more overcast, but, more importantly, not freezing.

I’ve stayed with my 45-year-old fixed wheel (no gears or freewheel) machine for this month’s ride.

It means that there’s no opportunity to coast downhill, and the pedals keep on revolving for every yard of the route. It’s one way of keeping warm.

The pre-ride coffee and bacon bun was provided by Tasty Snacks cafe, at the southern end of Boroughbridge High Street.Cycle parking at the rear, up an alleyway on the right.

The cafe fronts onto St James Square, named after the church, which was previously on the site, but demolished in 1851.

The fountain now in the centre of the square was built over an artesian well in 1875, becoming the main source of water for the town.

On leaving the cafe, turn right, passing in front of the Black Bull, and immediately right again onto interestingly named St Helena.

Napoleon was exiled to the island of St Helena, but that was somewhere else altogether. Watch out for blue Sustrans cycle signs, route number 688.

Give way at T-junction (Horsefair) and turn left, then immediately right onto Roecliffe Lane, continuing to follow the Sustrans signs.

As you start to leave the built up area, look out for a gateway, signed Boroughbridge Marina, on the right.

In the field here, you’ll see two of the Devil’s Arrows. These are 18 and 22 feet high monoliths.

Look back towards the road, however, and you’ll see the third and tallest stone (taller than anything at Stonehenge) hiding in the trees.

Of Millstone Grit, they are thought to have been built about 2,700 years BC.

Continue straight on, to cross (with care) the A168 at a roundabout, and then beneath the A1, in the direction of Roecliffe.

On reaching the village, take note of the popular Crown Inn on the right.

There’s always a crowd, irrespective of weather.

I resisted taking a photo so as not to spoil the surprise. You’ll just have to see for yourself.

Continue through Roecliffe and the road curves about as it roughly follows the course of the River Ure, over the fields to your right.

The next village is Bishop Monkton. The small stream running along the right hand side of the road joins the River Ure near Newby Hall.

Look out for the distinctive tower on the Mechanics Institute (1859), now a private house.

Take the little bridge across the stream (left) a few yards further on.

Bear right on the path (care) and through some bollards, to re-join the road, (Main Street) now beyond a ford.

Shortly, meet up with the stream again, now on your right, and follow this for a few hundred yards.

You are then obliged to recross the stream, and emerge facing the Masons Arms pub.

Bear left, to continue in the same general direction as before. The steam soon reappears along your left hand side.

Note also St John’s church on the left and then give way at Knaresborough Road, where left, in the direction of Burton Leonard and Knaresborough.

About a mile further on, watch for a small turning to the right. Unsigned, but marked Unsuitable for goods vehicles.

Turn off here, and follow this back lane into Burton Leonard.

Reach a T-junction in the village, with church on your right. Turn right, then left at next junction, to pass in front of The Royal Oak.

We’ll visit another pub, of the same name, shortly.

Out of the village and the road falls slightly, until a bridge across an ornamental lake.

This is part of the Copgrove Hall estate. The hall can just be seen in the trees off to the left.

A little further on, pass the gatehouse to the hall. Up a slight rise, bend right, and then left at the next junction to arrive at Staveley and the welcoming Royal Oak.

Pubs named Royal Oak commemorate the story about the future King Charles II hiding from the Roundheads in an oak tree at Boscobel House, Shropshire in 1651.

There appears to be someone up the tree outside the pub and he looks like he’s been there for a long time.

In the porch is a framed Yorkshire dialect instruction “Get Tha Sen T’Bar”.

We enjoyed pints of The Hop Cycle, (4.5 per cent) by Yorkshire Heart Brewery of Nun Monkton, York.

Well, were were on cycles after all. Though the name actually relates to the fact that the brewery periodically rotate (or cycle) the hop variety


This month it was Chinook. I had a ham and watercress sandwich, with beef dripping chips (I don’t get those at home).

My friend Steve had bangers and mash. The roaring log fire was appreciated too.

A few more miles were now required to justify the food, so we retraced back to the last junction, but now kept left, signed Farnham and Knaresborough.

Climb gently to a cross road, then left, signed Ferrensby and Arkendale.

Cross straight over the A6055 in Ferrensby, to arrive at Arkendale.

The pinnacles at the top of St Bartholomew’s Church tower are worth a look, as is Church Barn, opposite.

Leave Arkendale on Westfield Lane, by the pub. Signed for Staveley again. Cross back over the A6055 and straight on.

Watch for the stone abutments and embankment either side of the road, as you re-enter Staveley.

This is the remnants of the Boroughbridge to Knaresborough railway (1875-1964).

Bear right in Staveley, past a triangular green to join Minskip Road. Head out of the village with the village primary school on your left.

At the outskirts of Minskip, turn left on to the A6055. Continue through the village, and left at roundabout, signed Boroughbridge.

Cross over the main A1, and pass Morrisons on your right. Second left at a roundabout, on to Wetherby Road.

Pass a school, then watch for New Row, about 30 degrees right.

Fork off here and this will bring you back down into St James Square.

Cycle guide

Date of ride

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The map

Ordnance Survey Landranger number 99, Northallerton and Ripon

The cafe

Tasty Snacks, St James Square, Boroughbridge, YO51 9AR. 01423 326077

The pub

The Royal Oak, Main Street, Staveley, Knaresborough HG5 9LD. 01423 340267 www.theroyaloakstaveley.co.uk (no food Mondays or Tuesdays)

The bike

Classic 1971 Jack Taylor, Super Track model, built in Stockton-on-Tees


20 miles

Car parking

Back Lane car park, Boroughbridge, YO51 9PQ. Free and toilets