The route is in the Howardian Hills, slightly to the east of Sheriff Hutton loop. Although not long or hilly, the route is harder than it might appear as it is predominantly off-road. There are no really technical sections, but lots of single track, and comparatively little road distance. As the route rarely climbs above 300 feet, it’s a great route for times when conditions on the moors are unsuitable due to poor weather. Beginners might find the distance a too long, but intermediate riders should enjoy this route.
Mainly grassy bridleways, which can be muddy in winter or after ploughing, especially when churned up by horse traffic. Some sections are boggy all year, but fortunately the worst section can be avoided. All of the route can be very overgrown in summer with lots of stinging nettles, so shorts might not be a good idea.
In summer you might want to avoid the very overgrown section from Low Mowthorpe Farm to Ganthorpe (although this has been cleared recently - it still becomes overgrown); instead use the road as detailed in the Sheriff Hutton Loop. If you crave a longer ride, there’s plenty of scope to extend the route using parts of the Sheriff Hutton Loop and other bridleways in the area. You can cut out the very steep climb up to the ridge in Slingsby Bank woods, by instead following a parallel BW via Baxtonhowe Farm which climbs the ridge by a more rideable track. If you want a shorter ride there are a few places where you can use the road to make a short cut.
The route can also be ridden in reverse if you fancy a change, which turns the climb onto Slingsby Bank into a really fun descent.
No major hazards, although some sections can be overgrown with nettles and thorns. Shorts are not recommended!
Park in a passing place on Moor Lane, near Thornton Grange Farm. Then, take the BW which heads west along a farm track from SE 671 647. At the second right hand turn, go right onto the track. Head through the farmyard, and then pass through a gate into a field. Head across the field, go through the small wood and then cross the next field. Keep following the BW, along field margins, until you eventually climb up towards the road by Wheatclose Farm. Cross the road and look for a gate on the opposite side of the road, but slightly to the right.
Go through the gate, and into the field. Then head north across the fields. The BW is not signed where it leaves the road, and there is little if any track of a path as it runs across the field. You will need to head over the fields, towards the gate at the downhill end of the small plantation, as best you can. Usually the edge of the field offers the easiest going. Once through the gate at the end of the wood, head uphill on an overgrown path. Near the farm house garden, look for gate to the right. Follow the way-marked path through the gate and around the edge of High Stittenham farm until you reach a sign pointing out paths in many directions.
Make sure you follow the BW heading north east along the track and away from the farm. This BW is signposted for Mowthorpe. After a level section, the track starts to head downhill before eventually reaching a stone bridge over a ditch. Cross the bridge and head up the other side of the shallow valley. Just before the BW reaches the top of the hill, it turns right. Just try and follow the way-marks as the BW takes a few twists and turns before it turns left and arrives on the track by Low Mowthorpe Farm.
If you are riding this route in summer; we’d suggest a detour to avoid the next path as it is heavily overgrown. To do this: head east, back to the road at Brandith Farm and then north west along the road to Ganthorpe where you can rejoin the route. If nettles and thorns don’t bother you, look for the BW heading north around the western (left as you look at it) side of the farm. The BW heads along the field edge before passing through a gate and into the woods. The path is very overgrown here, and you may have difficulty getting through. After crossing a stream, follow a grassy and boggy track through a clearing in the woods. After the path briefly heads downhill, the real difficulties start. The path heads towards a wooden footbridge which is very, very overgrown with thorns, and you’ll need to squeeze under the branches, dragging the bike with you. After passing this obstacle, climb up the side of the steep, wooded slope to reach a small gate leading out into the fields.
Once in the fields, congratulate yourself for having got past the worst part of this route, and carry on north, around the right hand side of the field, until you arrive at a track. Turn left, and head north on the track. After a third of a mile, the track ends at a road in Ganthorpe. Cross the road and head onto the minor road opposite. After a 100 yards, look for a BW way-mark on the left. Go down the BW, into the woods and past several ponds. Once through a small gate, follow the heavily cattle trod path to the north for a few hundred yards. Then, look for a way-marking on a gate on the right. Go through the gate and cross into the field. There’s not much trace of a path so you’ll need to head north over the field, towards where the fence meets the woods. At the edge of the woods, turn left, and follow the path around the field edge until you reach the road.
At the road, look for a BW way-mark on the opposite side of the road, slightly to the right of where you are. Climb the very steep and loose track until you reach a level, east-west track at the top of the hill. Turn left; go along the track for 100 yards, until you see a wooden barrier at the head of a track on the right. Turn right, and follow the path down the hill until it ends at a gravel track. Carry straight on, along the track as it continues downhill through the woods. When you emerge from the woods into a field; continue north on the track and head towards the woods on the opposite side of the valley. When you reach the edge of the woods, continue north: ignoring turns on the left and right. The path is steep and rocky, so you’ll probably end up pushing the bike before the top.
Once at the top of the hill, turn right. Then follow the narrow singletrack along the edge of the wood to the road at SE 704 732. Cross the road and head east towards the woods again. Carry on along the BW as it threads into and out of the woods until you will reach Park House farm. Go through the gate, turn right, and go down to the road. Cross the road and join the BW on the south side of the road.
After descending down a series of zigzags, follow the track along the left edge of the woods and then through a farm yard. Then head down the drive, away from the farm, until you reach a junction with a north-south track. Turn right at the junction and follow the track besides the fence for three quarter of a mile. At this point, you should have reached a way-marked BW on the right. Turn right on this BW, and head along the edge of the field and then through a gate. Go across the field towards another gate, making sure you stay to the left of the gully. Go through the gate, turn right and head down the gravel track until it ends at a ‘T’ junction.
At the junction, turn left and then right to pickup the tarmac surfaced track which heads due west. Follow the track up the hill. After three quarters of a mile, look for a track to the left, marked with a BW sign. Turn left onto the BW, and follow it to the edge of the woods. Go through the gate and into the woods. After coming out of the other side of the woods, carry on south towards Welburn along the obvious track.
There is a pub, and a shop in Welburn if you fancy a break from riding. When you reach the road in Welburn; turn right, go through the village, and head towards Bulmer (there is a shop in Bulmer). This is the only road section of this ride. Carry on through Bulmer and down a steep hill. Shortly after climbing back up the hill, look for a BW way-mark to the left. You can easily skip this off-road section by staying on the road until the next left turn.Turn left onto the BW and head downhill over fields until you cross a small stream via a footbridge. Carry on along the edge of fields, following the way markings, until you reach the road slightly to the west of Thornton le Clay. Turn right and then left at the next junction and you will then arrive at the start.