FOR my September 2017 article, I set out from Northallerton to visit this pub in Maunby, about five miles north west of Thirsk. I was unlucky on that occasion to have chosen what turned out to be the very day before their new chef started, and the kitchen was unavoidably closed.

Maunby is otherwise an excellent destination, so I resolved to revisit. This time, I started in Sowerby, on the outskirts of Thirsk, to have an entirely different route.

Unusually for me, I didn’t partake in a coffee at the start, but if you’d like one, then Yorks, on the market place, has a cycling theme.

From Front Street, Sowerby, proceed north towards Thirsk centre. Go right at a T-junction for only 20 yards or so, before left at a mini-roundabout, to join the A61, west, signed Ripon.

Pass a filling station on the right, and with Lidl straight ahead, take an unsigned junction right, onto Newsham Road. This takes you along the side of Thirsk racecourse, and out of town in a north westerly direction.

Beware of the rough surface in places. I did notice that someone had been out with a paint can marking where repairs were needed so you may be lucky to have a smooth road by the time you read this.

About two miles out of town, watch for the ornamental gateway on the right, which marked the entry to Thornton Hall, a now demolished country house. The 18th century stables do, however, remain, and are currently used as a stud farm.

Continue over the east coast main line, then right at T-junction, onto the A167 signed Northallerton. Watch for the advert on the left for the Buck Inn, which is where we are heading.

After only half a mile on the A167 turn off left, signed Kirby Wiske and Maunby. An interesting extended bridge takes you across the flood plain of the River Wiske.

Follow the road through Kirby Wiske, bearing right at the church, and continue towards Maunby.

In a mile and a half, note Maunby Hall on the left, with its clock tower. Curving left into the village you’ll find the Buck Inn on the right.

If you are familiar with the arrangements at triathlon races, you’ll recognise the horizontal scaffolding pole which has been set up for cyclists to park their bikes.

If you’ve not seen one before, the method is to dangle your bike by the front of the saddle.

Make sure to slide the bike on as far as it will go, with the pole sitting snugly in the right angle between saddle and seat post. If that all sounds a bit complicated, the adjoining fence works just as well.

Now I do like a local beer and that’s just what I got at The Buck. Pennine Brewing Company is based in Bedale, just six miles away as the crow flies.

Their popular Hair of the Dog, at 3.9 per cent and a previous SIBA (Society of Independent Brewers) medal winner, is a bright blonde beer, just right on a sunny day. Lunch was a prawn and crayfish sandwich, with dressed salad and chips.

The Buck serves a full lunch menu, and several couples were dining, but I was still treated to table service in the garden.

In fact, I was invited to try the chef’s new recipe for spicy chicken and was offered a chicken wing as a taster. It’s not often you get free food at the pub, is it? Very nice too.

From The Buck, continue as before, further into the village to the green, where go to the right side of the green for only 10 yards or so, then turn right, up a narrow access road. Pass a small Chapel to confirm you have the correct direction.

The surface deteriorates, and curves slightly left (do not turn off the main track) to arrive at an isolated house on the right.

At this point you are only about 250 yards beyond the village green. The house doesn’t seem to have a name, but you may recognise the railway style architecture. Opposite the house, to your left, is a farm track. It is set at an acute angle, turning back slightly in the direction of the village.

Turn onto this, heading approximately south. You are now on the old trackbed of the Northallerton to Ripon railway.

The surface is going to get rougher before it improves again, so you may choose to start walking now.

The track narrows between hedges, but very quickly you arrive at an old bridge over the River Swale. Be very careful and stay away from the edge. This is private land with permissive access only.

On the far side, keep straight on for maybe 200 yards, then right, through a gate onto a farm road. Remount here.

Pass a house, and then a farm, both to the right. Then beyond the farm the road curves left to cross a cattle grid. I took the pedestrian gate here as the grid is widely spaced.

Watch out for the vulture sculptures. Straight on now for just over a mile to the village of Pickhill.

Pass All Saints on the left, curve right across stream then left at T-junction (unsigned, village green on your left). Quickly pass the Nags Head pub, out of village and left at next T-junction (unsigned).

Take the next left, signed Holme. Then the next right, unsigned, brings you to a T-junction with the B6267. Left here, then left (briefly) onto the A61 signed Thirsk.

Over the Swale again at Skipton on Swale, then immediately right, off the main road, signed for Jerry Green and Catton. Through Catton, bear right at a T-junction, signed Topcliffe. Climb into Topcliffe and follow one way sign right. Left at cross road onto Long Street, then follow sign for Thirsk through village.

Beyond the houses, a sign for Thirsk will now indicate left, (A168) but continue straight on instead, beneath a flyover. Take a junction right, for Sessay and Industrial Estate.

Another junction soon follows, but this time ignore the Industrial Estate, and keep straight on instead, signed Dalton, and past Dalton Bridge Caravan Park.

At Dalton, avoid the first sign left for Sowerby and Thirsk, but keep right instead to go through the village centre, for another 250 yards. Then go left at an open green space, for the road back to Sowerby and Thirsk.

You’ll pick up signs for Thirsk again as you leave Dalton.

Cycle ride facts

Date of ride: Thursday, June 21, 2018

The map: Ordnance Survey Landranger No. 99, Northallerton & Ripon

The cafe: Yorks of Thirsk, Market Place, Thirsk, YO7 1TF, 01845 526776,

The pub: The Buck Inn, Maunby, YO7 4HD, 01845 587777,

The bike: 2016 Dolan Preffisio on narrow 23mm tyres.

Distance: 24 miles

Car parking: On road by St Oswald’s Church, Sowerby, YO7 1JF. Take care not to block church entrance, or bus stop