2nd May 2022
The Hudson Way Rail Trail is a foot and cycle path that runs on the disused trackbed of the old York to Beverley line, on the section between Market Weighton and Beverley.
The surface is not consistent, and the path is clearly not repaired or maintained. I highly recommend a mountain bike for this ride.
Although there are no major sights along the way, the Hudson Way runs through pleasant Yorkshire Wolds farmland. The destination, Beverley, is an interesting and historic market town.
There are quite a few dog-walkers near Market Weighton and Beverley, but the middle section is quiet. Everyone I came across on this route was cheerful, friendly and considerate.
Distance: 10 miles
each way, so 20 miles there and back
Time: between 2h and 3h30 (there are back)
The map above gives an overview of the Hudson Way Rail Trail between Market Weighton and Beverley.
This is the ride on Plotaroute; you can download a navigation file from there.
The navigation file starts from the free car park off Londesborough Road in Market Weighton. There are WCs on the opposite side of the road from the car park entrance.
Turn left out of the car park onto Londesborough Road, then right on Hall Road. You come to the start of the Hudson Way Rail Trail (pictured above).
Pass St Helen's Well on your right hand side. Just before crossing the road to Goodmanham, there's a bench with an intriguing twisted shape. It's one of the Yorkshire Wolds Way carved poetry benches.
From dark to dark the bird flies through the fire-lit hall,
flies through the axe that strikes the shrine,
through the burning that grows once more in stone and coloured light,
through rain as it amazes chalk,
and flowers in this latest cup of breath
I don't know anything about a fire-lit hall, but a robin put in an appearance on the bench when I was there.
Soon you pass Kiplingcotes Chalk Pit, which is a Yorkshire Wildlife Trust Reserve. The marbled white butterfly is seen here in Summer.
A little further on is the old Kiplingcotes Station (main photo at the top of the page).
An information board at Kiplingcotes Station explains how such a small place came to have a station on the York to Beverley line.
Railway King George Hudson built a line from York to Market Weighton in 1846-7, but it could not continue to Beverley because landowner Lord Hotham refused permission.
Later, Lord Hotham agreed to a line across his land on condition that there was a station at Kiplingcotes. A single track railway from Market Weighton to Beverley opened in 1865.
The last train ran in November 1965, then the line was closed as part of the Beeching cuts.
The Kiplingcotes Derby is thought to be the oldest English horse race, with the first edition taking place in 1519.
There are wild flowers as the Hudson Way cuts across Etton Wold; they include red campion.
The path reduces to just a single track for long stretches.
Is a consistent surface from start to finish too much to ask? Apparently so. And could it be wide enough for two people to ride next to each and chat?
I believe East Riding of Yorkshire Council's Public Rights of Way department is responsible for this route. Someone did all the hard work of creating a lovely level track in 1865; all they need to do is keep it maintained with a decent surface, but they can't or won't.
They told me that routes like this have to have a rubbish surface so that they "fit in" with the countryside. I don't know where they dredged that argument up from but it must be the worst excuse for not doing your job. By that logic, the Hudson Way should be ploughed up so it looks like the fields.
And what about roads through the countryside, should they be turned into cart tracks? No, because double standards are applied of course. Drivers get the red carpet treatment - there's no nonsense about roads for cars fitting in with the look of the landscape.
While I've got some momentum to my rant, let me mention the crossing of the B1248, which involves steep steps down, then more steps up the other side of the road.
Obstacles like these exclude all but the most fit and able.
The Hudson Way continues towards Beverley, with a rough gravelly surface now.
The turnaround point on the GPS file is a little car park at Ings Road on the edge of Beverley.
If you wish, you can go into the centre of Beverley: take the bridge over the A1035 Grange Way, then Pighill Lane, Woodhall Way, Manor Road, New Walkergate, and Sow Hill Road. See the route on OpenStreetMap.
Woodhall Way and Manor Road have cycle lanes.
There are plenty of cafés and shops in and around Beverley's Saturday Market.
Return by the same route.
Have you done this bike ride? What did you think of it?
OS Explorer 294 Market Weighton covers most of the route, and is available on Amazon. The eastern bit including Beverley is on map 293 Kingston-upon-Hull & Beverley.
George Hudson's York & North Midland Railway was the first to reach Market Weighton, building a line from York in 1847. The line was extended to Beverley in 1865 by North Eastern Railway.
A line from Selby to Market Weighton was built, also by Y&NMR, and opened in 1848. The Scarborough, Bridlington & West Riding Junction Railway linked Market Weighton to Driffield, that line opening in 1890.
Market Weighton station closed in 1965.
Read more about York's old railways.
Bike Rides In and Around York features a historical city tour, plus family rides, road rides, and mountain bike rides.
"This book is simply a treasure trove not only of great rides but also as a travel guide to the area."
Read more about Bike Rides In and Around York.
Bike Rides in Harrogate and Nidderdale is a book of family, mountain and road bike rides.
"This guide is a wonderful companion whether you ride alone, with family or friends. Don't set out without it."
Read more about Bike Rides in Harrogate and Nidderdale.