A Yorkshire first – new market town cycle trail opens 

Stunning views cycling on the North Yorkshire coast 

Stunning views cycling on the North Yorkshire coast - Credit: Chris-J-Parker

A cycle trail connecting Malton and Pickering with three of the region’s biggest cycling terrains, has opened.  The 12-mile trail aims to turn Ryedale into one of the UK’s top cycling destinations.

Enthusiasts will also be able to head to Ryedale this year for  two of Britain’s most prestigious cycling events: the Tour of Britain (September 7) and British Cycling’s National Road Race Championship Series, known locally as the Ryedale Grasscrete Grand Prix (August 21). 

Malton Food Lovers Festival

Malton - the market town famed for its food festival and artisan shops - Credit: visitmalton

The new 12-mile Market Town Trail will not only link up the historic market towns of Malton, Yorkshire’s Food Capital, and Pickering, home to the world-famous North Yorkshire Moors Railway, but also provide a missing link between the national trails of the Yorkshire Wolds, the North York Moors National Park, and cyclists’ paradise Dalby Forest.  A mix of purpose-built track, quiet country roads and existing trackways, the route will be suitable for horse-riding and walking, as well as families and those less confident on bikes. In creating the new trail, Ryedale District Council has brought together hundreds of miles of interconnected routes and ‘free ride’ cycling landscapes which means that for the first-time cyclists can: 

  • roam, uninterrupted, from the land of the ‘Big Sky Rides’ in the Yorkshire Wolds to the ‘wild rides’ of the epic North York Moors National Park. 

  • take a two-wheeled trip to the seaside from Malton train station, with its regular rail connections to York, to the Yorkshire Coast, with its famous cycling ‘cinder track’ (national cycle route 1). 

  • enjoy the world-class, rollercoaster bike-routes through Dalby Forest (one of Britain’s best biking centres), then sit back for a real rollercoaster ride at Flamingo Land theme park and zoo. 

  • journey from Castle Howard, one of Britain’s finest stately homes, to hitch a lift on the iconic steam trains of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway to Whitby. 

  • step back in time to wartime Britain at Eden Camp, explore Roman Britain at Malton Museum, then experience Victorian life at Beck Isle Museum. 

The towns of Norton and Malton are divided by the River Derwent

The towns of Norton and Malton and a typical Ryedale landscape - Credit: Ryedale.gov.uk

All of these routes connect directly with the Market Town Trail: 

  • Celebrated for its ‘big skies’ and panoramic views, the Yorkshire Wolds Cycle Route journeys through some of the country’s most tranquil chalkland scenery to the Yorkshire Coast.  The entire route spans 144 miles, but there are plenty of shorter options.

  • The Moors to Sea Cycle Network is the North York Moors’ flagship cycle route, which loops through forest and over heather moorland to the sea.  There are 150 miles of loops to explore, but not necessarily in one go!

  • The North York Moors Cycleway is a ‘figure of eight’ off-road cycling trail through some of the UK’s most amazing scenery.  Spanning 171 miles, there’s enough cycling for a whole holiday, but you can easily find a shorter circuit for a more leisurely pace.

  • Explore the gently-rolling, ‘patchwork’ countryside surrounding Castle Howard, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty called the Howardian Hills.  A rural retreat for centuries, you’ll not just get a chance to visit palatial Castle Howard, but many other country houses, castles, abbeys - and tea-rooms - along the way.  There’s a variety of routes for every bike or fitness level.

‘Ryedale is home to some of Britain’s best and most varied biking.  Whether on or off-road, Ryedale’s gloriously diverse patchwork landscape makes it perfect for any mood, ability or bike, so whether you prefer gentle escapism, family outings or epic adventures, there’s a place and a pace for you in Ryedale – now more than ever thanks to the new Market Town Trail.  Although it weaves gently through a ‘secret’ river valley, surrounded by lush farmland and sleepy villages, along country lanes and resurfaced bridleways it is so much more than an idyllic rural ride – it opens up a mega pedalling paradise for cyclists to enjoy enabling days of care-free, earth-friendly freewheeling in the magnificent Yorkshire countryside,’ says Phillip Spurr, Programme Director for Place and Resources at Ryedale District Council.   

Cycling essentials 

Both Malton and Pickering have excellent cycling facilities and services, including cycle and equipment hire and sales, and expert coaches and guides, including: