Ride of the Week - Driffield
With summer now definitely upon us I took my first-ever trip to the Yorkshire Wolds for this week’s ride and added some coastal resorts into my route to give it a seaside flavour. At 58 miles long it quite a bit further than my usual pedals, but a lack of any monster climbs meant my legs could just about handle it and I was treated to a fun day in the saddle.
1) As the self-proclaimed ‘Capital of the Wolds’, Driffield offered the ideal start and finish point and I lucked out by finding a space on market day in the free Eastgate car park. I headed out to the A166 and made it onto the country lanes proper at Garton-on-the-Wolds and the long, steady drag there took me right past the Grade 2-listed Sir Tatton Sykes Memorial Tower in honour of the 4th Baronet of Sledmere. I also caught a glimpse of Sykes’s former residence - the stunning Sledmere House – on the descent into the village before turning right and up another short climb.
2) The Wolds is known for its rolling countryside and I was treated to some spectacular views across the wheat fields before I turned left at the tiny Eddsfield Airfield and flew down (pardon the pun) towards Foxholes. The climb up the other side of the valley proved a real slog, especially with a horsebox labouring behind me for some of it, and I barely had any time to recover before I took on one of the most exhilarating but terrifying descents of my life. The signs at the top of Staxton Hill warned me of what was to come and I’d already picked up plenty of speed on the upper s-bend section before letting rip on the dead-straight run off at its base. I clocked 56mph on that section but I wasn’t prepared for junction or traffic lights in Willerby that took me onto the A64. I had to break heavily and fortunately the lights turned green just before I made my turn. Cyclists be warned!
3) After regaining my composure the road into Filey was tame by comparison, but pleasant nonetheless. I took a break on the seafront to soak in the huge crescent-shaped bay before continuing on my way. Moor Road was busy when I encountered it, but I was only on it for 3.5 miles before I turned off onto the much quieter Speeton Gate at the roundabout just after The Dotterel pub. While I didn’t get the views across the North Sea that I’d hoped for on my way to Flamborough, I did get long, straight sections surrounded by farmland and could really get my foot down as I pressed on towards Bridlington. I entered that town by passing the impressive Sewerby Hall, and the sea reappeared on my left before I turned down the B1254 and onto the Promenade.
4) After surveying my second beach of the day I headed back inland. I opted to climb Church Lane and was quickly transported back into wide-open farmland along Woldgate. The views between here and Kilham were as scenic as any I’ve experienced and they provided a welcome distraction from the growing fatigue in my legs. I had to dig deep on the two quick-fire drags which came after Kilham, but the last three miles were thankfully downhill and once I’d got back to my car I was able to reflect on a tricky yet enjoyable loop which I’d certainly recommend to anyone who wants to tackle it.
Difficulty Rating: 3 stars
Time: 3 Hours 40 Minutes (at 16mph average speed)
Distance: 58 miles (93km)
Parking: Free at Eastgate car park in Driffield. Grid Ref: TA 02601 57757
Public Toilets: On Cross Hill and North St in Driffield