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Stage 2, Tour de Yorkshire 2016, Otley to Doncaster

Knottingley, Aire & Calder Navigation

Aire and Calder Navigation, Knottingley, by Tim Green, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

Stage 2 of the Tour de Yorkshire 2016, on Saturday 30th April 2016, starts in Otley, and heads east to Harewood, before going south via Sherburn-in-Elmet and Monk Fryston to Knottingley and Pontefract; it continues south to South Elmsall and Conisbrough, takes in Tickhill and Bawtry, then turns north for the finish in Doncaster. The stage pays homage to cricketer Fred Trueman, and cyclist Tom Simpson, as it passes through their home towns (Stainton and Harworth respectively). This is the stage 2 route map

Women and men will race the same 135.5km stage 2 route, with the women starting in the morning, and the men in the early afternoon. There are published timings for the women's and men's races

Read our Stage 2, Tour de Yorkshire 2016 race report.

Stage 2, Tour de Yorkshire 2016: the start in Otley

Otley market place

Otley market place, by Hedgehog Cycling

The ceremonial start of stage 2 is in Otley, well-known for Otley cycle races, and as the home of World road race champion Lizzie Armitstead

The parade starts from Boroughgate, continues over the dogleg junction in the centre of town onto Westgate, then turns left up West Chevin Road; another left on Burras Lane takes the riders past Waitrose and All Saints church, and they return to Boroughgate/Cross Green via Bondgate, Crossgate, Nelson Street, and Walkergate. From Otley, the riders head east on the A659 Cross Green/Pool Road to Pool-in-Wharfedale, where the racing begins.

This OpenStreetMap shows the streets the cyclists will ride in the centre of Otley:

Otley town centre route map for Stage 2, Tour de Yorkshire 2016

There's to be a spectator hub with big screen in Garnett's Field, by the river. Otley town council report that decorations have been put up in advance of the race, the two races will start from a closed section of Boroughgate, there will be lots of street entertainment, and the market place will be used for the official riders' sign-in.

Otley has produced a good luck video to say 'Allez Lizzie' to Armitstead:

Stage 2, Tour de Yorkshire 2016: Pool-in-Wharfedale to Sherburn-in-Elmet

Pool, bridge over the Wharfe

Pool Bridge, over the river Wharfe, by Tim Green, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

The first part of the stage is on the route of the 2014 Tour de France, Stage 1, but going in the opposite direction. From Pool, the race takes the A659 alongside the river Wharfe, through Arthington. The A659 meets the A61 by Harewood House's North Park. The short, steep climb on the A61 towards the entrance to Harewood counts towards the Queen/King of the Mountains competitions.

Harewood House

Harewood House, by Hedgehog Cycling

Harewood House was the start of the racing on Stage 1 of the 2014 Tour de France. It produced great TV pictures as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge greeted the riders. On the other hand, I bought Festival tickets, which turned out to be irrelevant to watching the start of the race, as the Festival was a separate field, and the race itself was open to the public with or without Festival tickets. Further, a huge and virtually empty VIP area was roped off, opposite the House, the riders, and William and Kate. Anyone allowed in there would have had a great view. From where I was, I saw the back of a lot of people's heads. 

Tour de France 2014 at Harewood House

Riders at Harewood House, Tour de France 2014, Stage 1, by Lucy Crocker

At the main entrance to Harewood House, the riders turn left on the A659 towards Collingham. After about 3km, they fork right to East Keswick. (East Keswick was mentioned in the Domesday Book. It has two pubs, the Old Star and the Duke of Wellington, and its own Wildlife Trust. East Keswick's population is 1,146 (2011 census). East Keswick is ready for a party on Saturday 30th April, with a banner and bunting in Main Street).

Duke of Wellington, East Keswick

Duke of Wellington, East Keswick, by Tim Green, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

After crossing Keswick Beck, the race turns left to East Rigton, heading down to cross Bardsey Beck, then up the other side of the little valley. There are Queen/King of the Mountains points for this climb. The riders then go via Barker's Plantation towards Thorner, where there's an intermediate sprint.

St Peter's church, Thorner

St Peter, Thorner, by Tim Green, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

Thorner has a population of 1,408 (2011 Census). It appears in the Domesday Book as Torneure, meaning thorn bank. Thorner has two pubs - the Mexborough Arms, and the Fox - as well as a bar/restaurant called The Beehive, which is celebrating the Tour de Yorkshire with a special edition ale, Tandem Triumph. St Peter's church, Thorner, is in the late English Gothic style. The route of a dismantled railway runs through Thorner via Scholes to Cross Gates in the east of Leeds, and it could be turned into a cycling, walking, and riding route, which would be called the Penda Greenway.

From Thorner, the race route goes south and reaches the A64 between Leeds and York, where it does a left-right dogleg, and goes into Scholes. Here, there's an intermediate sprint. (The names Scholes comes from the plural of the Old Norse skali, meaning 'temporary shed'. Scholes has a population of 2,266 (2011 Census). From the 1880s to the 1980s, the Scholes Brick and Tile Works produced high-quality bricks, from which many of the local houses are built. The Works' quarry is now two small fishing lakes, but is still known as 'Chippy's Quarry', after Isaac Chippindale, who started the business).

The Gascoigne Arms, Barwick-in-Elmet

Gascoigne Arms, Barwick-in-Elmet, by Tim Green, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

From Scholes, the race goes east to Barwick-in-Elmet. It then continues east through rolling countryside to Aberford. 

Gascoigne almshouses, Aberford

Gascoigne Almshouses, Aberford, by Tim Green, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

Aberford's name comes from the Anglo-Saxon 'Eadburg's Ford', the ford being of Cock Beck. There are, however, remains of an earlier, Roman, fort here. Aberford was the mid-point on the Great North Road from London to Edinburgh, about 200 miles from each. Its situation on the Great North Road accounts for the village's linear development. Now it is by-passed by the A1M. One of the pubs in Aberford has the unusual pub name the Arabian Horse Inn. Other notable buildings include the Swan Hotel, and almshouses built in the mid-1800s by the local Gascoigne family. (Sir John Gascoigne was made a Baronet in the 1600s, and the title was passed down). On the day of Stage 1 of the Tour de Yorkshire 2016, there'll be refreshments available at Aberford church 9-11am, and at Aberford Village Hall 2-4pm.

Arabian Horse Inn, Aberford

Arabian Horse, Aberford, by Tim Green, Flickr, Licence BY 2.0

Leaving Aberford, the race goes under the A1M, and past Lotherton Hall, bird garden, and deer park. (Lotherton Hall succeeded Parlington Hall as the main residence of the Gascoigne family in 1905; it was given to the City of Leeds in 1968).

Lotherton Hall

Lotherton Hall, DSCF 1232, by Mo Lunat, Flickr, Licence CC BY-ND 2.0

After a few kilometres of gently rolling countryside, the riders get to Sherburn-in-Elmet.

Stage 2, Tour de Yorkshire 2016: Sherburn-in-Elmet to Pontefract

All Saints church, Sherburn-in-Elmet

All Saints Church, Sherburn in Elmet, by Nigel Brown, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

From Sherburn-in-Elmet, Stage 2 of the Tour de Yorkshire 2016 heads south, to South Milford, a commuter village which also has the impressive C15th Gatehouse to the now-demolished Steeton Hall. Dame Sarah Storey met cycling fans, including school children, in South Milford, when she was doing her reconnaissance for the race on Tuesday 26th April.

Steeton Hall Gatehouse

Gatehouse, Steeton Hall, South Milford, by Tim Green, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

Next on the route is Monk Fryston. 'Fryston' is said to mean 'farmstead of the Frisians', and 'Monk' refers to the fact that it was a possession of Selby Abbey in the C11th. Monk Fryston has a pub, the Crown Inn, and a hotel dating from the C12th, Monk Fryston Hall Hotel.

Monk Fryston

Monk Fryston, Tim Green, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

Adjoining Monk Fryston is Hillam. It is first recorded in the year 963. The village features The Cross Keys pub, the Ring Tree (a flowering horse-chestnut), and a traditional red phonebox.

From Hillam, the road is dead flat to the hamlet of Birkin. (The name 'Birkin' indicates that the village was first established amongst birch trees). The riders will cross the river Aire to Beal, within sight of Eggborough Power Station. (The name 'Beal' comes from Old English, and means 'nook of land in a river bend: beag, river bend, and halh, nook of land). They then veer west through Kellingley, famous for Kellingley Colliery, the last deep coal mine in Britain, which closed on 18th December 2015. 

Miners at Kellingley Colliery

Goodbye Kellingley Colliery, by 70023venus2009, Flickr, Licence CC BY-ND 2.0

They go over the Aire & Calder Navigation into Knottingley., where there'll be a Celebration Hub behind Knottingley Sports Centre, with activities including face painting and a BMX stunt display.

Knottingley, Aire & Calder Navigation

Aire and Calder Navigation, Knottingley, by Tim Green, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

The race follows the A645 through Knottingley, under the A1M and M62, to Pontefract.

Stage 2, Tour de Yorkshire 2016: Pontefract to Conisbrough

Pontefract Town Hall

Pontefract Town Hall, by Tim Green, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

The race leaves Pontefract via Carleton, and heads south into the countryside, to Wentbridge. It follows the B6474 to Thorpe Audlin. (The Roman Ridge Roman Road runs past Thorpe Audlin - now the A639 - and Roman coins have been found in the village. Thorpe Audlin appears in the Domesday Book). The riders pass the Rogerthorpe Manor Hotel, and continue to Badsworth. (Badsworth's name comes from Old English, Baeddi, a man of the name, and worth, an enclosed farmstead. It is recorded in the Domesday Book). They stay on the B6474 to Upton, a former coal mining village. The Upton Arms is planning a Tour de Yorkshire Fun Day.

Hooton Pagnell

Hooton Pagnell, classic view, by Lee Firth, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

The race passes North Elmsall, and goes into South Elmsall. The B6422 out of South Elmsall rises where it crosses Moorhouse Common, and leads to Hooton Pagnell, where there'll be a BBQ at the cricket field.

Hickleton church

Hickleton church, by Lee Firth, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

The race route continues south through the countryside to Hickleton. (It was the 'estate village' of Hickleton Hall, a Grade II listed Georgian country house, completed in 1748, and which was home to the Earls of Halifax, then became a Sue Ryder care home, before being converted into luxury flats. The parish church at Hickleton is St Wilfrid's, a mainly Norman church from about 1150). The church bells will ring as the Tour de Yorkshire goes through Hickleton, and there are events at the Village Club and the Harriers Football Ground.

Barnburgh church

Barnburgh church, by Lee Firth, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

The riders head on to Barnburgh, adjoining Harlington, which has a charming Norman church of St Peter. Half a mile west of Barnburgh was Barnburgh Main Colliery, which was open from 1911 to 1989. Barnburgh will celebrate the Tour de Yorkshire with an event including jazz bands and refreshments, and Radio Leeds reports that the village has been decorated with bunting and bikes. The next village on the route is High Melton, dominated by St James's church, and the Hall, which became part of Doncaster College. Doncaster College is holding a day of fun and activities at its High Melton campus.

Weir at Sprotbrough

Weir at Sprotbrough, 74, by Kevin Neagle, Flickr, Licence CC BY-ND 2.0

The route then goes south to Cadeby, known for Cadeby Quarry to the east, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and for a mining disaster at Cadeby Main Colliery in 1912. There's a pub in Cadeby. Cadeby's Tour de Yorkshire Festival will include a big screen and a beer garden. From Cadeby, the riders go north east to Sprotbrough. Originally, the route missed out the centre of the village of Sprotbrough, and simply crossed the river Don there. However, after pressure from Sprotbrough residents, it was changed: the riders will arrive in Sprotbrough on Cadeby Road/Main Street, then turn sharp right on Boat Lane, and cross the river Don on Mill Lane, heading towards Warmsworth.

(The weir near the bridge at Sprotbrough has its own fish and eel pass, and Sprotbrough Lock, which allows boats to pass. The name Sprotbrough comes from Old English Sproteburg - sprote, meaning shoot or twig, and burg, castle or fortification. It might reflect the hasty manner in which a fortification was put up. Sir Douglas Bader lived in the Rectory at Sprotbrough as a child. Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe was set in and around Sprotbrough, and one of the village's pubs is called the Ivanhoe).

The race goes over the railway line, into the centre of Warmsworth, 4 miles from the cetntre of Doncaster. There's a limestone quarry on the edge of Warmsworth, called the Dolomite Quarry, because the mineral dolomite is found in the limestone there. There's an intermediate sprint at Warmsworth.

There are to be Tour de Yorkshire events at Sprotbrough Country Club, New Lane Park, and Don Gorge; and at Warmsworth.

Stage 2 of the Tour de Yorkshire 2016 takes the A630 out of Warmsworth, to Conisbrough.

Stage 2, Tour de Yorkshire 2016: Conisbrough to Doncaster

Conisbrough Castle

Conisbrough Castle, by Lee Firth, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

There's a lap of Conisbrough Castle, with Queen/King of the Mountains points at stake. For the Tour de Yorkshire in Conisbrough, there's live music, market stalls, and street entertainment.

The race leaves Conisbrough on the B6094, passes close to Old Edlington, and crosses the M18 on the way to Stainton. (According to the Three Tuns Pub, Yorkshire and England fast bowler Fred Trueman was born in Stainton, at 5, Scotch Springs. He started his cricket career at Roche Abbey Cricket Club, south of Maltby).

Fred Trueman statue

Statue of Fred Trueman in Skipton, by Graham Ibbeson, photo by Tim Green, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

From Stainton, the riders skirt Maltby Main Colliery (operational from 1910 to 2013). They reach the A631, and head east to Tickhill. On the day of Stage 2, there'll be a Tour de Yorkshire & Scarecrow Festival at Tickhill.

Tom Simpson mural, Harrogate

Tom Simpson, mural in Harrogate, by Hedgehog Cycling

The race follows the A631 east, under the A1(M), then at Spital Hill it turns right (south) on the B6463 to Harworth. From there, it goes east via Bircotes to the A614. (Harworth is in Nottinghamshire. It was a mining town, and Harworth mine produced coal for the power stations on the river Trent until it was mothballed in 2003. 1965 road race World Champion Tom Simpson began cycling with the Harworth & District Cycling Club. He died on Mont Ventoux in July 1967 during the Tour de France. There's a museum dedicated to him at the Harworth Sports & Social Club).

Mont Ventoux

Mont Ventoux vu de Mazan (the mountain where Tom Simpson died), by Véronique Pagnier, Flickr, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

The riders go north to Bawtry. (The Roman road Ermine Street crossed the river Idle here, and the town has Roman origins. The Great North Road ran through Bawtry, until it was bypassed in 1965. Bawtry Hall was home to RAF No.1 Group Bomber Command during and after WWII. Bawtry is just north of the border with Nottinghamshire, so the southernmost house on the Great North Road in Bawtry is called 'Number One Yorkshire'). There are a few Tour de Yorkshire events in Bawtry.

In Bawtry, the race forks right to Austerfield. (Austerfield's name comes from the Germanic Ouestraefeld, meaning 'eastern field'. William Bradford, one of the Pilgrim Fathers who went to America on the Mayflower in 1620, and who became governor of the Plymouth Colony, was born in Austerfield, and baptised in the C11th St Helena church).

Robin Hood airport

Robin Hood Airport, Doncaster, by Ben Sutherland, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

The riders then pass the southern edge of Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield, before rejoining the A638, and going north into Doncaster. They go through Bessacarr, past Doncaster Racecourse, and to the finish line on South Parade. Doncaster MBC has information about watching the finish of Stage 2 in Doncaster, including the Tour de Yorkshire Party on Doncaster's Town Field, and car parking and other arrangements.

Stage 2, Tour de Yorkshire 2016: official route video

This is the official route video (25 seconds), showing the route of Stage 2, Tour de Yorkshire 2016, and the stage profile:

Stage 2, Tour de Yorkshire 2016: timings

The timings for the women's Tour de Yorkshire, and the timings for stage 2 of the men's Tour de Yorkshire 2016, have been published by Welcome to Yorkshire. There are three scenarios, based on different average speeds (39, 37, or 35kmh for the women, and 47, 45, or 43kmh for the men). 

Women's Tour de Yorkshire timings

These are some of the timings at the main points along the route:

Distance Place on the route 39kmh 37kmh 35kmh
Ceremonial start Otley 0815 0815 0815
0 Otley 0830 0830 0830
11 Cote de Harewood (Queen of the Mountains) 0846 0847 0848
17 Cote de East Rigton (Queen of the Mountains) 0856 0857 0859
25.5 Scholes (sprint) 0909 0911 0913
40 Sherburn in Elmet 0931 0934 0938
53.5 Kellingley 0952 0956 1001
60 Pontefract 1002 1007 1012
75 South Elmsall 1025 1031 1038
94.5 Warmsworth (sprint) 1055 1103 1112
99.5 Cote de Conisbrough Castle (Queen of the Mountains) 1103 1111 1120
111.5 Tickhill 1121 1130 1141
120.5 Bawtry 1135 1145 1156
136 Doncaster 1159 1210 1222

Stage 2, men's Tour de Yorkshire 2016 timings

These are some of the timings at the main points along the route:

Distance Place on the route 47kmh 45kmh 43kmh
Ceremonial start Otley 1420 1420 1420
0 Otley 1430 1430 1430
11 Cote de Harewood (King of the Mountains) 1444 1444 1445
17 Cote de East Rigton (King of the Mountains) 1452 1452 1454
25.5 Scholes (sprint) 1502 1504 1505
40 Sherburn in Elmet 1521 1523 1525
53.5 Kellingley 1538 1541 1544
60 Pontefract 1546 1550 1553
75 South Elmsall 1605 1610 1614
94.5 Warmsworth (sprint) 1631 1636 1642
99.5 Cote de Conisbrough Castle (King of the Mountains) 1637 1642 1649
111.5 Tickhill 1652 1658 1705
120.5 Bawtry 1703 1710 1718
136 Doncaster 1723 1731 1739

Stage 2, Tour de Yorkshire 2016: comments

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Tour de Yorkshire 2016 October announcement

The towns hosting the start and finish of the three Tour de Yorkshire 2016 stages were announced in October

Stage 2, Tour de Yorkshire 2016: Barwick-in-Elmet

The Gascoigne Arms, Barwick-in-Elmet

Gascoigne Arms, Barwick-in-Elmet, by Tim Green, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

Barwick-in-Elmet is explicitly associated with the ancient Celtic kingdom of Elmet. The name 'Barwick' comes from the Old English 'barley wick'.

Barwick-in-Elmet existed as long ago as 600-200BC, and it has an Iron Age fort in the centre of the village, later used by the Normans to make a motte and bailey castle. In World War II, it served as an observation post.

Historically, this was an agricultural community, but from the late C17th, many residents were employed in mining at Garforth, Cross Gates, and Whitkirk. Today, many people commute to office jobs in Leeds or York.

Barwick-in-Elmet has an 86-foot wooden maypole at the junction of Main Street and The Cross. Every three years, a maypole festival on Spring Bank Holiday (in May) brings large crowds. There's a procession, dancing, a street market, and the raising of the maypole ceremony, when a villager climbs the maypole and spins 'the fox' (the weather vane at the top).

Barwick has three pubs, a fish and chip shop, a bike shop, and two churches.

Stage 2, Tour de Yorkshire 2016: Sherburn-in-Elmet

All Saints church, Sherburn-in-Elmet

All Saints Church, Sherburn in Elmet, by Nigel Brown, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

Sherburn-in-Elmet is a large village in North Yorkshire (but with a Leeds postcode). The population of Sherburn-in-Elmet is 6,657 (2011 Census).

Sherburn-in-Elmet may have Roman origins. It is associated with the Brittonic Kingdom of Elmet, which had ties to Wales and existed from the 400s to the 600s: it emerged after the fall of the Roman Empire, and ended when it was invaded by the Anglian Kingdom of Northumbria. A field adjoining All Saints church was the site of the palace of the Kings of Elmet.

In the English Civil War Battle of Sherburn-in-Elmet, on 15th October 1645, Royalists attacked the Parliamentarians who held the village, and initially gained the advantage, but were then routed in a counter-attack.

Today, Sherburn-in-Elmet is a popular rendez-vous for bikers. There's an industrial estate to the east of the village, which is home to Eddie Stobart logistics. Also to the east of the village, there's an airfield, and fishing at the Bacon Factory Pond.

Stage 2, Tour de Yorkshire 2016: Knottingley

Knottingley, Aire & Calder Navigation

Aire and Calder Navigation, Knottingley, by Tim Green, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

The name Knottingley comes from Old English, and means the clearing of Cnotta's people (Cnotta, the name of a small, round man; ingas, the people of; leah, a clearing in the wood).

Knottingley was an important inland port until the Aire & Calder Navigation was built (between 1699 and 1704), which enabled barges to get to Leeds. It was also a centre for boat building into the C20th.

Knottingley

Knottingley, by Tim Green, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

Other industries include pottery and glass making, both of which began in the late 1800s.

There was a bridge over the Aire at Ferrybridge from 1198. Knottingley was a staging post on the Great North Road from London to York and Edinburgh, and the road used the Ferrybridge bridge. More recently, Ferrybridge has been known for its power station, with some of the largest cooling towers in Europe.

Stage 2, Tour de Yorkshire 2016: Pontefract

Pontefract Town Hall

Pontefract Town Hall, by Tim Green, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

Pontefract is a town in the Metropolitan Borough of Wakefield. The population of Pontefract is 29,305 (2011 census). Its motto is post mortem patris pro filio, which is a reference to the town's Royalist sympathies during the English Civil War.

The name Pontefract means 'broken bridge', and refers to an incident in 1069, when William the Conqueror was on his way through Yorkshire to put down an uprising, and found that the bridge over the Aire at Pontefract had been broken by local Anglo-Scandinavians.

Legendary figure Robin Hood is said to have been active in the nearby forest of Barnsdale in the C12th, and at the village of Wentbridge near Pontefract. In some versions of his story, he died at Kirby (Pontefract).

History of Pontefract

Pontefract is on an old Roman road, described as 'Roman Ridge', which was an alternative to the main route from Doncaster to York.

In the Anglo-Scandinavian age (between the fall of Viking Erik Bloodaxe in 954, and the arrival of the Normans in 1068), Pontefract consisted of two settlements, Tanshelf and Kirby. 

Pontefract Castle

Pontefract Castle 2, by Tim Green, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

Pontefract Castle was built following the Norman conquest, under Ilbert de Lacy, one of William's followers. It was a wooden motte and bailey construction at first, then rebuilt in stone. The de Lacy family lived there until 1348.

Kind Richard II was murdered in Pontefract Castle in 1400. Shakespeare, referring to Pontefract as Pomfret, in Richard III, wrote:

Pomfret, Pomfret! O thou bloody prison

Fatal and ominous to noble peers!

Within the guilty closure of thy walls

Richard the second here was hack'd to death;

And, for more slander to thy dismal seat, 

We give thee up our guiltless blood to drink.

Pontefract Castle was beseiged by Oliver Cromwell and the Parliamentarians three times, 1648-9, during the English Civil War. After the third seige, the local people petitioned Parliament for the castle to be 'slighted', and demolition began in April 1649.

Pontefract today

Pontefract has been a market town since the Middle Ages. Locals can come to 'Ponte' market on Wednesdays and Saturdays. (The town is called Ponte, and some people jokingly refer to it as Ponte Carlo).

Pontefract has a sandy soil, good for growing liquorice. The plant is no longer grown here, but liquorice sweets are still made, including Pontefract Cakes.

Liquorice-related artefacts are amongst those on display at Pontefract Museum.

Stage 2, Tour de Yorkshire 2016: Wentbridge

Wentbridge is a village near the A1. The Great North Road used to cross the river Went here. In 1961, the Wentbridge Viaduct was built for the A1, at a cost of £800,000. The viaduct won an award from the Concrete Society - a solid achievement, I'm sure you'll agree, which cemented the viaduct's reputation.

Wentbridge is connected to legendary figure Robin Hood, who was said to live in the forest of Barnsdale. Wentbridge was the main settlement, on the edge of the forest. It is mentioned in the earliest surviving manuscript of a Robin Hood ballad, 'Robin Hood and the Potter', which includes this line: 'Y mete hem bot at Went breg,' seyde Lytyll John ('I met him but at Wentbridge,' said Little John).

A Medieval chronicler refers to outlaw Swein-son-of-Sicga as 'the Prince of Thieves', who was brought to justice by the Sheriff of Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire. Robin Hood is likely to be an amalgam of several such Yorkshire outlaws.

The village has the Wentbridge House Hotel, and the C16th Blue Bell Inn, with Mouseman furntiture.

Stage 2, Tour de Yorkshire 2016: North and South Elmsall

Frickley Athletic

The Frank Hill Stand, by Matthew Wilkinson, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

The name Elmsall comes from Old English, with elm meaning elm tree, and halh referring to a nook of land or small valley. Elmsall is referred to in the Domesday Book.

The most significant landmark in North Elmsall is St Margaret's church, dating from 1896.

South Elmsall is a town of about 6,000 people. Originally an agricultural settlement, it was then the site of Frickley Colliery, one of the largest deep coal mines in Britain. The miners here strongly supported the NUM strike of 1984-5, and were amongst the last to return to work. The Colliery closed in 1993, and the site is now Frickley Country Park.

Today, the Dale Lane Industrial Estate has warehouses for companies including Next Distribution.

South Elmsall is home to Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band, Frickley Athletic football club, and Elmsall Road Club, a cycling club.

Stage 2, Tour de Yorkshire 2016: Hooton Pagnell

Hooton Pagnell

Hooton Pagnell, classic view, by Lee Firth, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

The name Hooton Pagnell comes from hotone (town on the hill), and Paganel (the name of tenant-in-chief Ralph de Paganel, shortly after the Norman Conquest).

Much of the property in the village belongs to the estate of Hooton Pagnell Hall, which has belonged to the Warde family since Sir Patience Warde bought it in 1703. (With a name like that, it's no surprise that he was prepared to wait a long time without re-selling).

Hooton Pagnell gatehouse and church

Hooton Pagnell, gatehouse and church, by Lee Firth, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

Stage 2, Tour de Yorkshire 2016: Conisbrough

Conisbrough Castle

Conisbrough Castle, by Lee Firth, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

Conisbrough is a town on the river Don, with a population of 15,934 (2011 census). The name comes from the Old English Cyningesburh, meaning king's stronghold. 

Conisbrough was important in Anglo-Saxon and Viking times. The church which stands there today, St Peter's, is probably Anglo-Saxon, from the C8th. Conisbrough belonged to King Harold before 1066. After the Norman Conquest, William I gave it to William de Warenne.

Conisbrough Castle is from the time after the Norman Conquest. The keep was built in the 1170s or 1180s under de Warenne, and other parts date from the 1200s. It was abandoned from the late 1400s or early 1500s, and fell into disrepair.

Famous people from Conisbrough include footballer Alan Sunderland, and singer Tony Christie. If you're from Conisbrough, it's a long way to Amarillo, so it's no wonder if you have to ask directions.

Conisbrough viaduct

Conisbrough Viaduct, by David Locke, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

Stage 2, Tour de Yorkshire 2016: Tickhill

Tickhill village pond

Village pond and dam at Tickhill, Doncaster, by Photasia, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

Tickhill is a small town in South Yorkshire, close to the border with Nottinghamshire, and near the river Torne.

The name comes from the Old English ticce (young goat) or Tica (name of man called Tica), and hyll (hill), so it means 'hill where young goats are kept' or 'hill of a man called Tica'.

After the Norman Conquest, the lands around Tickhill were given to Roger de Busli, who built a castle on a hill. The town of Tickhill grew up around the castle. The castle was 'slighted' (intentionally disabled) by the Parliamentarians after they defeated the Royalists here in 1648. It is now an impressive ruin.

Tickhill has a butter cross in the marketplace, dating from 1777. The town is associated with the Tickhill Psalter, a Medieval illuminated manuscript made at Worksop Priory for John de Tickhill, now displayed in New York.

Wikipedia lists John Regis and Jeremy Clarkson as notable residents, so I'm going to add Elton John, William Rees-Mogg, and Anneka Rice.

Stage 2, Tour de Yorkshire 2016: Doncaster

Doncaster Corn Exchange

Corn Exchange Doncaster, by John Lord, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

Doncaster is a market town on the river Don, with a population of 109,805 (2011 census).

It grew up around a Roman fort called Danum, built in the C1st AD on the river Don (the site of St George's Minster today). The fort was on a Roman route from Lincoln to York.

Doncaster's charter for a market was granted in 1248. More recently, its population expanded due to coal mining in the area. Coal mining has declined, but Doncaster remains a distribution centre, due to its good transport links. Other industries include glass and wire rope manufacture.

Amongst the attractions in Doncaster today are Doncaster Museum & Art Gallery, The Dome sports & leisure centre, Cusworth Hall & Country Park, and shopping at Doncaster Market and Frenchgate. The local football team is Doncaster Rovers, and there's a rugby league side, Doncaster RLFC.

Doncaster Market

Doncaster Markets, by The Trust Doncaster Central Development Trust, Flickr, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Otley market placeKnottingleyConisbrough Castle

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