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Kirkham Priory

Leavening Brow & Kirkham Gorge

South and east of the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, sweeping views unfold as the Yorkshire Wolds begin to impose themselves upon the landscape. Leaving Malton and Norton, the climb up the western escarpment of the Wolds to Leavening Brow is rewarded with a superb view across the Howardian Hills to the North York Moors and the distant Pennines. Cyclists can then enjoy the initially steep and undulating descent – via tucked-away village pubs – into Kirkham Gorge, where the remains of Kirkham Priory (English Heritage) sit peacefully beside the River Derwent.

Cycle route info

Route type:
Road route
19 miles (31km)
3 hours
Start point:
Malton Market Place
Cycle hire
Grid Ref:
SE 785 717
OS Map:
Ordnance Survey 300
Pubs in Leavening, Burythorpe, Westow and Kirkham; drinks and snacks at Kirkham Priory
GPX file, MMO file

About this cycle route

Road route, for road bikes and hybrids.

Be prepared for ascents and descents as you negotiate the western edge of the Yorkshire Wolds and the section down in the Derwent valley. In particular, it's a long climb up to Leavening Brow (lowest gears after Birdsall estate village), and then an initially steep and winding descent west towards the River Derwent.

Route credits
Thanks to our partners, the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Sustrans, who devised and produced the route and downloadable guide. This route is also available on the Howardian Hills AONB website.

Route highlights!

  • Kirkham Priory is a good picnic spot – and you could start the route from here instead
  • Majestic Birdsall House, originally built in the 16th century
  • Take a break at the pedestrian suspension bridge over the River Derwent at Huttons Ambo