THERE are several opportunities to pause and admire the view around this particular route, so I progressed at a relaxed pace, and kept the mileage short, in deference to the time of year.

In summary, it’s big skies and small miles. Uphill for the first third, then downhill or flat for the rest. Some signs of spring are arriving, and on today’s ride, I was rewarded with a profusion of snowdrops in every village.

The start is in Helmsley. Arriving on a Friday morning, the market was in full swing. Despite the crowds, I found room in Porters Coffee Shop in Bridge Street. There’s space for one or two bikes through the archway to the right of the cafe, and which takes you around to their back door. There’s also some outside seating here, but it was still a little cold for that in February.

Depart Helmsley on the main A170, east, in the direction of Scarborough. Single file is a good idea, but we’ll soon be turning off. In just over a mile, turn left at the first cross road, signed Pockley.

Climb gently for about a mile into the village, which is something of a time warp. It’s not often you see so many thatched cottages together in one place outside of the Cotswolds. My mood was further improved by the sight of snowdrops in every direction.

The Grade II listed church of St John the Baptist was built in 1870. Although you can’t see any of this externally (apart from the coal bunker) its heating system is of ducted warm air, based on a Roman Hypocaust.

The solid fuel boiler in the centre of the church is fed from the outside by an underground miniature railway, 25 feet in length.

At the far end of the village, bear right signed Beadlam. Descend into Howl Dale. Howl is from the Norwegian ‘Hul’, meaning dry valley. It certainly seems like there should be a stream at the bottom, but there isn’t. Climb again, before taking another right, continuing to follow signs for Beadlam. Then quickly reach a T-junction where left (unsigned, but now away from Beadlam).

You are now climbing the eastern flank of Beadlam Rigg. Continue to climb up into some trees, where near the top is a white painted gateway on the left. This is the entrance to the Nawton Tower Estate. The road curves right here, and climbs some more, before levelling off.

I walked this last bit, so look out to the left, where you’ll see an 18th century Grade II listed Doric Temple in the woodland. The road here is narrow and quite a rough surface, so if you wish to take advantage of the panoramic view of Ryedale and distant Wolds, off to the right, it’s worthwhile pausing for a moment.

At a small copse, you arrive at a T-junction, where pause in any event to see the plaque in memory of David Harrison, head keeper on the Nawton Tower Estate, who died in 1993. Turn right here to commence a long gentle downhill run back into Ryedale.

Pass Lund Court Farm on the left and then left at an unsigned T-junction. Watch for the signs indicating a steep hill and ford ahead, but instead, turn right just before them, at a junction signed for Welburn. Cross the busy A170 with care, then take a small detour, immediately left, to see Tilehouse Bridge.

It seems likely that this will at one time have been the main crossing of Hodge Beck, on the road between Helmsley and Kirkbymoorside, prior to the current route of the A170.

Just over the bridge is the northern entrance to Welburn Hall, now a school, but in 1880 occupied by a Joseph Heads, brick and tile maker. Hence the descriptive name for the bridge of Tilehouse? I paused on the bridge to see yet more snowdrops on the banks of Hodge Beck.

Retrace from the bridge and turn left to rejoin the minor road into Welburn, then right, just beyond the school, now signed for Wombleton. Continue to Wombleton to find the welcoming Plough Inn on the left.

The Plough describes itself as a 15th century inn and restaurant, so no basic sandwiches here, but I enjoyed instead some gammon, eggs and fries. Lunches start at about £10. There was a choice of two real ales, Theakstons Bitter and Black Sheep (both 3.8% abv), plus John Smiths Cask.

I chose the Theakstons, with the brewery at Masham now back in family ownership after a break of 20 years. There was a roaring log fire too, should you visit on a cold day.

Leaving the pub, bear left and then left again onto Main Street, in the direction of Hovingham. At the end of the village, left again onto Hungerhill Lane, still signed Hovingham.

Through a long double bend, the road straightens out alongside one of the runways of RAF Wombleton, used for bomber training during WWII (Halifax and Lancaster). The old control tower has been refurbished and is clearly visible. Watch for some large metal gates (with wheels supporting), on your left.

The main east/west runway will have crossed here. Actually, this road would not have existed when the airfield was active. Look to the right, over the road, and you’ll see the runway still stretching away into the distance.

After a mile, reach a cross road, where right, signed for Harome and Helmsley. There are several listed buildings in Harome, some of them thatched. So not much work here for Mr Heads, tile maker of Welburn?

Continue for another two miles to meet the A170 at a T-junction. Cross to the opposite side to make use of the cycle path back in to town.

Cycle facts

Date of ride: Friday, February 17, 2017

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

The cafe: Porters Coffee Shop, 19 Bridge Street, Helmsley, YO62 5BG. Tel. 01439 771555 The pub: The Plough Inn, Wombleton, York, YO62 7RW. Tel. 01751 431356. (closed Monday lunchtime)

The bike: Classic 1971 Jack Taylor, Super Track model, built in Stockton-on-Tees.

Distance: 16 miles

Car parking: On Bondgate (A170) YO62 5EZ or Carlton Road, Helmsley, YO62 5HD (Unrestricted, on street)