Tuesday, 24 August 2010

The forgotten land of Blacktoft and Laxton

Several years ago I discovered a vast empty land. Almost cut off and bypassed from civilisation by the M62 in and out of Hull. Those who know a bit about East Yorks will know the A63 dual-carriageway leaves Hull, passes close to several large villages, becomes the M62 and then bolts on passed Goole towards junctions with the M18 - to go south - A1 - to go north or south - and further afield the M1 and Leeds...... I could go on.... but it would be dull!

So what lies around the barron stretch of M62 I'd zoom along at 69mph between the West Hull villages and Goole. Well north there are serveral small villages and the intetesting small hills and dry dales of the Wolds as well as the plain of York and York. South?...... the river Humber as per near Hull?..... not quite. Actually miles of land that makes the Netherlands look rather bumpy. Not a place I'd visit running, but ideal for my new forced CV workout on the bicycle.

On the past warm Sunday I made a break down the foreshore path to the next village out, moved inland and followed some steadily-busy roads, even taking in a small hill. Passed Brough I turned with the Transpennine trail down south to Ellerker, through the corner of sleepy Ellerker I then left the typical roads of the outskirts and ventured onto single track, potholed tarmac or loose gravel affairs. After a mile or so you cross the main train line out of Hull and hit Broomfleet. Unlike villages in the lakes, moors, dales, peaks which are quiet due to the hills that cut them off, this village is just quiet because it is part way down a couple of single track roads to nowhere. The M62 passes you by out of site and this is the biggest settlement in the area. There is a slightly different-era feel to this place and the pub looks distinctly shut.

The TP trail then detours down a loose stone path for several miles which eventually brings you out at the river Humber. Stunning vista's of the river towards the south bank on a sunny day?..... well, I couldn't confirm or deny. Reason being that this path and eventually several riverbank side roads run in the half-shadow of a tidal embankment, I told you this place was flat! and no doubt evidence of reclaimed land from river or marsh.

Beyond a crossing of a canal and the hamlet of Faxfleet where the Humber becomes the Trent at my side, comes the ride highlight for me - Blacktoft. If Brromfleet was another era, this is almost another world and smacks of a simpler way of life. Not really that much here but there is a good pub where you can sit down and look over the river Ouse towards the confluences with the Trent and Humber in quick sucession. This hamlet also gives its name to the the civil parish, the four local villages within make up a population of just just 321 at last census. The pub must be kept going by many a cyclist like myself and sunday driving, day-trippers. There is also a nature reserve if that floats your Kite.

On I push to Laxton where I head back. Next stop would be Howden, a small town, but thats far enough for today. Laxton is much like a combination of every nearly one-road hamlet I've passed through in the last 45 minutes - dominated by dated-looking farm architecture, many of the buildings look deserted, the pub looks shut and is up for let. I've done 21 miles and my back aches from this unaccustomed form of cardio-vascular exercise. The hardest thing out was cycling into the wind as I headed west on land with no natural geographical wind break. So now I fly along back through the hamlet trail I've just passed. Through Yokefleet, Blacktoft - that pub looks tempting..... another day though - Faxfleet, Broomfleet and back to the fringes of 21st century life. I arrive home having weaved my way back to Hull's outskirts and covered a quite pleasing 41 miles.

So my back ached, the scenery was flat and somehwat uninspiring for the most part, this should be everything I'd hate and never blog. But it was a nice, sunny, Sunday afternoon and I hope you've got something from this slightly different to the norm report as I did the ride. A good stretch of hard-pedalled, quiet road in an area that is enjoyable, just because it was different and probably wouldn't be in my trail/fell-running mode. Who wants to be a one-trick pony afterall?


  1. funnily enough i had a sexual encounter many years ago in a greenhouse in broomfleet..happy memories!

  2. nice report...sounds like your keeping it interesting and mixing it up!

  3. Thanks Will, just had a look at your blog and seems you've been doing the ultra-thing quite a while. I'll have a read back.

    UC - I'll ask you to elaborate on that later, I've passed those greenhouses numerous times and never been offered that particular kind of physical workout.

  4. Nice blog and cool post.

    If you're interested, this is mine: http://thestoriesofwhitegloves.blogspot.com/