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On Sunday, two overweight men, both approaching forty years of age and neither of them in peak physical condition decided that it would be a grand lark to cycle along the old railway track from Hull to Hornsea – despite neither of them riding a bike in anger for many a year. One of those fat men was me. The other was my friend, Dave.
I have no clue why I thought this would be a good idea. It just popped into my head, so I sent a text to Dave:
Me: ‘Dave, shall we cycle to Hornsea next weekend?’
Damn. Can’t believe the bugger said yes.
The track is a tiny part of Sustrans Route 65 which, if you were fool enough to do the full thing, takes you from Hornsea to Middlesbrough – two of the least desirable places on the east coast.
Our part of the trail, fifteen miles from the finish, starts in central Hull. Since we are not interested in drug deals, street drinkers, rats and derelict factories, we put pedal to the metal and got the hell out of dodge. The good thing about old railway tracks is that they are mostly flat; ideal for people who have the physical endurance of a soggy handkerchief, like me. Once out of the city it was smooth, well maintained track & rolling countryside.
At the end, we are greeted by a large ominous eye on a stick, and to our disappointment no welcoming party.
We celebrated with fish & chips and ice-cream and remained pleased with ourselves until we remembered that we had to ride home.
We forced ourselves out of the house early today, before lassitude sets in, and walked a couple of miles around Welton Vale – not strenuous, but enough that we can say that we have done something.
Our journey took us past the Raikes Mausoleum, which we saw on our visit last year. In the intervening time, a large hole has appeared – big enough for a small person to climb in and down to the crypt. I’m not sure what you would find down there. I’m also not sure that I would like to find out.
It’s a real shame to see it fall into disrepair. There are, according to the experts, very few mausoleums of this type left – and the Raikes family has an interesting history.
The ground floor was sealed up in the 1960s after repeated break-ins and desecration, and will probably stay that way. There isn’t any information online about the interior. This listing on Historic England describes the exterior:
Mausoleum. 1818 for Sir Robert Raikes. Limestone ashlar. Circular plan: probably a copy of a Roman model. Tall single storey on basement. Rusticated base with segmental openings to basement. Eight steps to sealed, rendered and lined doorway in architrave: scrolled brackets to projecting cornice over frieze of bay leaves and garlands. Over the door is a corniced panel with the inscription “AEDIFICAVIT ROBERTUS RAIKES ARMIGER AD MDCCCXVIII”. Around the building are 8 Doric pilasters dividing it into bays: each alternate bay blind. Other bays have projecting panels with cornice and blocking course carrying sarcophagi in low relief: above are ventilation holes in sunk corniced panels. Frieze of triglyphs and guttae: Doric cornice, blocking course, and stepped ashlar dome. The building is enclosed by a circular flagged area defined by a dwarf wall, once carrying iron railings (now removed).
My friend Dave and I took a walk around Welton on what turned out to be a sunny evening. We’ve walked the various routes around Welton before but this route was new to us. The first small climb offered up some great views over Ellougton Wold and out across the Humber that we hadn’t seen before.
The route took us back down to our starting point through Welton Dale – which has sadly been fenced on both sides now so it feels like you are being kettled as you walk down the valley. If you’re prepared to jump off the path for a bit you’ll find the Raikes Mausoleum hidden within the woodland. The structure is two hundred years old and sadly in need of some attention now, which is a shame as it still houses the remains of some of the family. It was a bit spooky at dusk and we didn’t hand around – so no photo.
I told Dave that Welton was quite posh, but I don’t think he believed me until we walked past a million quids worth of helicopter parked on someones lawn.
Millington Woods lies in a small valley in the middle of nowhere. Technically it’s in the Yorkshire Wolds, but with the exception of the nearby village from which it gets its name it’s miles away from anything resembling modern civilisation.
The woods have never been busy when I’ve visited, but the few people who you might meet will be the polite sort that wish you a good morning as they pass. We had the wood to ourselves this morning, and all that could be heard was bird calls, a light breeze murmuring through the trees and blissful silence.
The wood is best known for its ancient ash trees, but I’m partial to the Norwegian Spruce which stands tall and magisterial among its peers.