Yorkshire, The EuroVelo 12… And The Cinder Track

The plan is to pick up the new touring bike – a Koga WordTraveller S – on Thursday June 27th. Rather than driving over to CycleSense in Tadcaster (the other side of Leeds), I’ll probably catch the train to York and jump on a bus back to Tadcaster. The advantage of doing this is that I can, of course, cycle the 40 miles back home on the other side of Leeds. It will be a tentative ride of around 4 hours as I start to get used to the bike but it’s a journey that I’m very much looking forward to. However…

…it’s not much of an adventure. Hopefully in the years ahead there will be plenty of them but I am keen to take the bike somewhere in July for a few days in the immediate post-purchase period. But where to go? Well, I think I may have found a prime candidate for just such a micro-adventure: Yorkshire’s EuroVelo route. It’s route 12 and part of the North Sea Cycle Route, but I would start in Hull – at the iconic Humber Bridge – and cycle as far as Middlesborough, Yorkshire’s northernmost town.

The highlight of the two- to three-day journey would, perhaps, be The Cinder Track, the former railway line from Scarborough to Whitby:

“From 1885 until it’s closure in 1965 the old railway line from Scarborough to Whitby took goods and passengers up and down the North Yorkshire coast. Now that it’s an off road route through the North York Moors National Park for walkers, horse riders and cyclists, where will it take you? You might decide to make a slight detour and visit one of the quiet bays such as Crook Ness, Cloughton Wyke, Hayburn Wyke, Stoupe Beck Sands or Maw Wyke Hole, or make a circular walk of it by taking in part of the Cleveland Way. You may prefer to stop for a pint at the Hayburn Wyke Hotel or for afternoon tea at the old station in Cloughton or the café in Ravenscar. You could hire a bike from “Trailways” at Hawsker. You can explore our early industrial heritage at the Peak Alum Works – the birthplace of the British chemical industry – where locally mined rock was combined with human urine, brought up by barge from London, to make Alum – which helps fix dye to cloth – for the emerging UK textile industry. You’ll be confounded by the town that never quite was at Ravenscar. You can stop to wonder at the 13 spans of the 120 feet (36.5 metre) high Larpool Viaduct over the River Esk in Whitby. Or you may simply want to take a bit of time to enjoy the numerous sights and pleasures of Whitby, Scarborough or Robin Hoods Bay. In an act of great foresight, Scarborough Borough Council bought the line shortly after it closed. Because the track ballast was made from cinders rather that crushed stone, many locals call it the “cinder track”. It now forms 21 miles (34.4 kms) of Route 1 of the National Cycle Network and the Friends of the Old Railway ( are grateful for the support given by Sustrans, Scarborough Borough Council, the Groundwork Trust and the Big Lottery Fund.”

Here’s the map from a leaflet that is available to download from the Scarborough Council website:

The timing of this post was inspired by a conversation that I had last night with one of my neighbours. Along with her family, she cycled the route earlier in the year and passed me the leaflet that I’ve quoted from above. The photographs that she posted to Facebook at the time of her cycle give a nice idea of what the route is like on the ground:

Combined with the attractions of the coastal towns of East and North Yorkshire and even the newly revised cycle policy of Trans-Pennine Trains (sanity has prevailed!)…

…as well as giving me the opportunity of ticking off another chunk of the EuroVelo network, what’s not to like? Thoughts welcome.

Photo credit: Alison Underwood

Header image credit: Moors & Coast Cycle Hire

Categories: Adventure, Cycling, Travel

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7 replies »

  1. I have ridden this route this Year and had no problems, there are sections that are a bit rougher but nothing that would prevent me taking a touring bike with 25mm tyres. It is a pretty route with fantastic views over Robinhoods Bay.

  2. Yes, a great tryout trip. It’ll certainly test your new Koga’s ability to tackle all sorts of surfaces! That Cinder Track is pretty awful in many places – rutted and ridged between Cloughton and Ravenscar, and very rough and stony between Ravenscar and Robin Hood’s Bay. (There’s talk of resurfacing it.) Between RHB and Whitby it’s better. Scenery is a bit dull between Scarborough and Ravenscar, then fabulous all the way to Whitby. (Do explore Scarborough by bike, especially the coast road round the headland.)

    Plenty of interest in that Yorks section of EV12. The Humber Bridge is spectacular – still the longest bridge in the world you can actually cycle across! The ride up to Beverley from there is nice, past Skidby Mill, and Beverley itself is a very nice market town with characterful buildings and a mighty Minster.

    Bridlington has a lovely promenade (in nice weather!) and was the setting for the recent film Dad’s Army – the Old Town (one street, really) has a period feel.

    Do use the Transporter Bridge in Middlesbrough – one of only a handful in the world!

    (I’ve blogged about cycling all these places at see link below!)

What do you think?