Bike Route: Beauty hidden in a quiet corner

Roche Abbey
Roche Abbey
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After taking a spin on my mountain bike for last week’s column, I was back on my trusty road bike this time around and exploring a corridor of South Yorkshire countryside nestled between the M18 and A1.

It was the first time I’d ventured to this part of the world and I found a quaint and quiet corner of the county ideal for exploring on two wheels.

1: I picked Wadworth as my start location and parked up near St John the Baptist Church. From there I headed in a south westerly direction and was quickly surrounded by acres of farmland. Although there were no significant climbs, I ascended steadily for the first five miles or so and the drag out of Braithwell on Marsh Hill certainly got my heart-rate up. Instead of crossing the M18, I turned left immediately before it and headed through a large industrial estate before continuing on towards Thurcroft. This section was the epitome of gently rolling and after I’d passed through that village it was on to Laughton en le Morthen.

2: I approached Laughton by climbing the super-narrow Brookhouse Lane, and the spire of All Saints Church came into view. After I’d passed that impressive landmark I was treated to several equally striking buildings before I pressed on towards Dinnington. It was a definite highlight of my ride, and after I’d picked my way through Dinnington, I was back into open countryside and enjoying a relatively fast section which took me into Woodsetts. The quaint villages of Gildingwells, Letwell and Firbeck followed in quick succession, and the descent into Firbeck was another fun one.

3: When I’d been researching this ride, Roche Abbey immediately stood out as a key point of interest so I made sure I included it. The road which took me there rose gradually out of Firbeck. I continued along King’s Wood Lane. While I’m sure this tiny, single-track road will be perfectly fine during the summer months, I wouldn’t advise it over the winter as it was covered in slippery leaves. I’d recommend taking New Road out of Firbeck instead.

4: I could see Roche Abbey clearly from the A634 as I approached it and made a quick detour to take its ruins in. The wind had whipped up a bit by this point, meaning the drag to Maltby became a slow and steady one. Instead of heading into the town centre, I skirted a housing estate to the west and clocked my fastest speed of the day as I flew down the A631 towards Tickhill. I stuck to the A6434 and was soon at my next destination. With its pretty buildings, grand church and ancient castle, it’s easy to see why Tickhill has a glowing reputation.

5: I could, and perhaps should, have followed Doncaster Road back into Wadworth after that, but to get a few extra miles in my legs I took a detour along Wellingley Lane which took me over the A1 and into more farmland. The roads here were very small though, covered in mud, and it wasn’t really worth the trouble. It was a relief to get back on that major thoroughfare and the remaining mile to Wadworth allowed me to ease off a little before I jumped back in my car and headed for home.

Difficulty Rating: HHHHH

Time: 1 hour 48 minutes (at 16mph average speed)

Distance: 29 miles (47km)

Parking: Free, on-street parking available in Wadworth

Grid Ref: SK 56828 97018

Public toilets: Located in Dinnington

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