Online cycling magazine

Main menu: Home | Tour de France | UK cycling | Harrogate cycling | Hedge-blog

sample header image

York to Selby cycle route

York to Selby cycle route, near Terry's factory

The York to Selby cycle route is about 15 miles. It is on the trackbed of an old railway line as far as Riccall, then on a mixture of back roads and a path by the side of the A19 for the rest of the way. 

The route begins with a section called 'Cycle the Solar System', which has scale models of the planets, the correct distance (proportionally) from the sun and from each other along the path. (For more information about the planets, see York University's guide to the route). The York to Selby cycle route is part of the Trans Pennine Trail.

York to Selby cycle route: video

This video shows the route in about 5 minutes. It should be useful for anyone planning to do the ride, to help you find your way at the start, and to know what to expect on the rest of the route.

York to Selby cycle route: overview map

This map shows an overview of the route:

Overview map of York to Selby cycle route

York to Selby is on National Cycle Network route 65. You can zoom in and out on the Open Cycle Map.

York to Selby cycle route: starting from Askham Bar

Askham Bar Park & Ride

It's easy to start from Askham Bar Park & Ride, where there's free parking. Head across the parking, towards the A1036 to York, and you'll see blue cycling signs for the Selby route, directing you under the A1036. After the underpass, there are views across a field to York College on the left. 

Passage under the A1036 from Askham Bar

A short distance further on, you come to the junction with the path from York city centre. The sun is here, just before the passage under the A64. This is the start of 'cycle the solar system'. This map shows the start of the route from Askham Bar:

Map of NCN65 from Askham Bar towards Selby

York to Selby cycle route: starting from York railway station

York railway station   Cycle Heaven at York station

It's possible to start from York railway station. You may be doing so if you're bringing a bike on the train, or hiring a bike on arrival. (There's a bike hire shop, Cycle Heaven, at York railway station).

Turn left out of the station, then go down to the river Ouse on Tanner's Moat (past York bike rescue). Turn right on North Street, which becomes Skeldergate after a junction, and reaches Skeldergate bridge. Beyond Skeldergate bridge, the road turns into a traffic-free path past Rowntree park, and you arrive at Millennium bridge.

York bike rescue at Tanner's Moat   Millennium bridge, York

The route stays by the river beyond Millennium bridge, then turns up to the right, on a fairly narrow alley. This is about as close as you get to a hill on the ride to Selby.

Cycling signs near Millennium bridge, York   Route up from the Ouse to Terry's factory

At the top of the alley, you come out on the road opposite the old Terry's chocolate factory, where they made chocolate oranges. Turn left on a cycle path on the pavement for a short distance, then cross the road over to the Knavesmire racecourse.

Terry's chocolate factory   Knavesmire racecourse

The cycle path goes alongside the racecourse, across some fields, then next to the A64 for a very short distance. It meets up with the path from Askham Bar, at the start of 'cycle the solar system'.

This map shows the cycle route from York railway station to the junction with the route from Askham Bar, near York Bypass at Bishopthorpe. The route is marked as 65.

Map of cycle route from York to Bishopthorpe

York to Selby cycle route: cycle the solar system

Saturn, cycle the solar system, York

The sun is immediately before the bridge under the A64. 

The sun, and the passage under the A64

The next few planets come in fairly quick succession as you go along a flat, tarmacked path on the railway track bed. (Remember the order of the planets with this helpful aid: My Very Easy Method Just Speeds Up Naming Planets).

Mercury, cycle the solar system  Venus, cycle the solar system  Earth, cycle the solar system  Mars, cycle the solar system

The path goes along the south western limit of Bishopthorpe. (Rumours that this was the set for Brookside are untrue).

Signpost near Bishopthorpe   York to Selby cycle route near Bishopthorpe

On the right between Mars and Jupiter is Brunswick Organic Nursery, which has a cafe open at weekends and Bank Holidays, 11am to 4pm.

Brunswick Organic Nursery   Jupiter, cycle the solar system

The route now crosses the Ouse near York Marina.

Bridge over the Ouse near York Marina   York Marina

The York to Selby cycle path then crosses wheat fields. Saturn is the next planet.

Wheat field, York to Selby cycle route   Saturn, cycle the solar system

On the right, there's a 'trust hut' at the old Naburn station, where you can refill your water bottle for free, and pay for other drinks and cakes.

Naburn station trust hut   Naburn trust hut, notice

A footpath off to the right leads to Naburn, a very short distance away, and the Blacksmiths Arms pub.

Sign for Blacksmiths Arms, Naburn

There's now a long stretch (7 or 8km) along the flat track, between fields. The next planet is Uranus.

Wheat, York to Selby cycle route   Uranus, cycle the solar system

Neptune and Pluto are the final planets. The railway path ends at Riccall, and the route continues on a path by the side of the A19, then through the village of Riccall.

Neptune, cycle the solar system   Cycle path by A19, Riccall

York to Selby cycle route: Riccall to Barlby and Selby

There are a couple of shops in Riccall, and the Greyhound pub.

Riccall village shop   The Greyhound pub, Riccall

After Riccall, the route runs alongside the A19 again, until just before Barlby, where it branches off and into the village. This map shows the route around Riccall:

Map of York-Selby cycle route near Riccall

(At the point where the route leaves the A19, there are contradictory signs. One says 'end of route', and others indicate that NCN route 65 continues. The 'end of route' sign should be removed. It may be there because the cycle route changes from segregated to being on quiet roads, but it is daft, because the route continues, so why put an end of route sign? It is confusing to suggest that a route simultaneously stops and continues. Also, if you put an 'end of route' sign in the middle of nowhere, what are people supposed to do, teleport themselves and their bikes somewhere else? The proliferation of idiotic signing is one of the problems with cycle infrastructure in the UK.)

End of route sign before Barlby   Cycle route at roundabout between Barlby and Selby

After riding through Barlby, you come out at a roundabout junction of the A19 (see photo above right). From here, there are two options. There's an off road path which runs along the Ouse wall, and finishes up in some backstreets of terraced houses, from where the route is signed back to the A19 just before the bridge over the Ouse into Selby. This route is quiet and safe, but it's a rough stone surface, so not suitable for pure road bikes.

Start of off-road path into SelbyPath alongside Ouse wall into SelbyBackstreets of Selby

The alternative is to take the A19 for the last stretch into Selby. It does have a cycle lane, but painted only; the width of the painted lane reduces to almost nothing where the road gets a bit narrower; and there are parked cars in it. Driver behaviour in the UK means that a significant proportion of vehicles will not allow you enough space when overtaking, so this part of the route is not pleasant to cycle.

Cycle lane on A19 into Selby   Bridge over the Ouse into Selby

This map shows the final part of the cycle route near Selby:

Map of York-Selby cycle route near Selby

Selby is a market town, with shops, cafes, and an Abbey.

Selby Abbey   Selby Abbey from market square

York to Selby cycle route: suggestions for improvements

Overall, this is a quality route. The best part is from York to Riccall, but even after Riccall, it is of a good standard. Only the final section into Selby is a real let-down.

These are my suggestions for improvements to the York to Selby cycle route:

1) Remove the 'end of route' sign between Riccall and Barlby, and at the point where the cycle route leaves the Ouse wall in Selby and goes through backstreets of terraced housing. These signs don't serve any useful purpose, and are confusing.

2) Improve the route on the last stretch into Selby. Options would be to make a tarmacked path by the Ouse wall, or to segregate the cycle lane on the A19 from traffic with a kerb.

Do you have any comments on or suggestions for the route?

Comment on York-Selby route page