As a family, we always enjoyed spending time outside vs indoors. Over the past two years, this however has been heightened by government lockdowns and the need for micro-adventures on our doorstep.
I spend a lot of time on my bike; both with the family and individually. There’s nothing more liberating than exploring your local area by bike. It’s great for your body and mind too!
One of the primary reasons we moved to Sandal was due to the many walking spots on the doorstep. When utilising a bike this becomes a whole additional arena of enjoyment.
My main goal is to find cycle safe routes to places in the surrounding area. Recently I managed to make it to the wonderful National Trust Nostell Priory while largely avoiding main roads and cars. Not only does this make a more enjoyable ride but also a safer one too.
Where does the ride take me?
Leaving my house in Sandal I take the route on Walton Station Lane into Walton village. From here I cycle up The Balk as far as the entrance to the Waterton park hotel but follow the road around.
Continue as far as you can go until you cycle down a dirt track and pick up the Barnsley/Wakefield Canal.
From here you should see a signpost for Anglers Park. Follow this route as you navigate through wonderful woodland surrounded by fauna and flora. This woodland continues as you pick up signs for Haw Park Wood. Originally known as Walton Hall Estate on your ride in the north of the woodland, a nine-foot-high wall can be seen which he built to protect the animals found in the estate and keep poachers out.
As you venture through Haw Park Wood (Don’t worry if you get lost it’s part of the adventure) you will see further signs for Anglers country park. From the Woods, you should enter the car park of Anglers.
From the car park cycle past the visitor centre (left-hand side) and make your way to the far side of Anglers where you should see a footpath leaving the lakeside. A short trek down here and you should pick up a sign for Nostell priory. From this point, it’s a couple of miles trek through a public footpath at the side of a farmers field (I personally headed into a wooded area at this point to enjoy an alternative terrain).
Once you have made it this far it’s just a ½ mile road cycle to Nostell. Again you should pick up signs or refer to your phone if you are lost.
Free access to Nostell Priory
Having entered the Nostell gates you are free to cycle through Nostell Priory without any charge. I personally took my National Trust card but it wasn’t required. Nostell Priory itself has some really good cycle paths ranging from very beginner to intermediate level. There’s plenty to see and do in Nostell Priory including the cafe and gift shop. Or like me, you can take a minute on a bench enjoying the far-reaching views.
If you are based in Sandal or Walton then I thoroughly recommend this route. It’s a real test of differing cycling styles and enables you to enjoy the beautiful countryside without the worry of cars.
I would suggest a base level of fitness and cycling experience is required although there are plenty of spots where you could stop for a break.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is the ride suitable for?:
A beginner to intermediate rider. There are parts where it could be challenging for a complete novice however with regular breaks it could be more than possible.
Are there any hills?:
There are periods of hills and varied terrain which make it a challenging ride for those starting out. It forms part of a great workout however as there are periods of flat, relaxing cycling and then areas where you require a burst of energy.
What is your favourite part?:
Cycling through Haw Park Wood. There’s always something special about cycling through a wooded area; particularly when the sun peeps through the trees. It’s a fantastic part of the ride.
Is it suitable for kids?:
Although there are hills there isn’t anything substantial or dangerous for children. It’s plenty of cycling so can be done with regular breaks. I would recommend it to children over the age of 6 who are confident cyclists.
Is it safe?:
It’s more than a safe route in terms of cycle safety but also safe in terms of anti-social behaviour. It’s a well kept, cyclist and walkers paradise with a buzz of activity.