|Distance:||19.6 miles (31.5 km)|
|Meets:||A1036, A1237, B1257|
|Route outline (key)|
The B1363 forms part of a direct scenic B-road route from York to Helmsley, going through some picturesque farmland and villages. It is now the middle section of my preferred route to Whitby, much nicer and more scenic than the A64/A169.
The road was originally unclassified but gained its number in the mid-1920s.
York - Clifton Moor
The B1363 originally started at the junction of the A19 Bootham Road/St Leonard's Place, and the A1036 High Petersgate in central York, just outside the city wall, and as close to York Minster as you can get on an A-road. The city wall here has an obvious knock-through to allow the old A19 (now the A1036) to exit the city. The B1363 initially ran along Gillygate, which is now the A1036 Inner Ring Road. Clarence Street is where the B1363 starts now.
The road heads north, running through a mixture of late 20th-century brick-and-glass office buildings and early 20th-century terraces. Along most of the road properties only front the road on one side, with open spaces on the other side, giving a suggestion of land having been cleared for widening in the past. There's a fairly complicated traffic-light junction at Union Terrace at the old Wesleyan Chapel which wants to funnel us straight ahead, but actually we turn left up Wiggington Road. Make sure you get in the left-hand lane before the lights, as a cycle lane crosses the carriageway unexpectedly funnelling us to the right.
We now drive through suburban parkland past York District Hospital and a series of traffic-calming mini-roundabouts. We're less than a mile from the city centre, yet we're surrounded by trees and open spaces. A slight hump in the road as we pass over the dismantled railway to the Rowntree's works to the right, and then pass the the works for about a mile.
After we pass the northern entrance to the Rountree's works the road kinks to the left and approaches a level crossing over the York-Scarborough line. The road continues straight as an arrow for the next five miles. We're only a mile from the city centre, yet we're already deep in the countryside and we enter NSL. Until 1996 this was Ryedale District, then York City Council extended it's boundaries to take in the surrounding countryside up to - and beyond - the Outer Ring Road.
The first bend in the road hides a set of traffic lights at the turn-off for Clifton Moor industrial estate. Through the lights at Coppins Farm we continue heading northwards and then half a mile later we get to the roundabout on the A1237 York Outer Ring Road.
Clifton Moor - Brandsby
Across the roundabout there are more miles of arrow-straight road over pancake-flat landscape. The road has very wide verges as though at some point plans were drafted up to widen the road and the land was banked in anticipation. The traffic levels don't justify this with the A19 taking the majority of the northbound traffic.
We skirt the edge of Wiggington/Haxby. This section used to be still at NSL causing problems for people trapped in the turning lane or struggling to get out of Mill Lane while mainline traffic bombed through at 60mph. The section running through the junction has since been reduced to 40mph, with the junction itself remodelled to better separate turning traffic with better signal timing.
We leave Wiggington and the road starts to get a bit wiggly, even with a few chevron bends thrown in, but still with great long straight sections and as flat as a pancake. We've been on Wiggington Road all the way from the weird traffic lights in York, but now we're on Sutton Road. Just as we cross the York City boundary in the middle of nowhere, we pass a motor repair depot that seems to specialise in coaches and buses. We are now in Hambleton District. The road continues in long, straight sections with wide verges, with occasional bends.
As we approach Sutton-on-the-Forest there are some rumble strips across the road to warn us to prepare to slow down, and the drop from NSL to 30mph. Even going through Sutton we have wide verges at the side of the road. In Sutton we TOTSO to the right along Main Street and the TOTSO again to the left via a roundabout onto Stillington Road. We pass through mixtures of late 20th-century dormitory-village housing and 21st-century overflow developments. As we leave Sutton we have a 40mph buffer before getting back to NSL.
We still have straight sections of road, but it becomes noticeably more wiggly now. We still have the wide verges, but not as wide as on the York-Sutton stretch. After a couple of chevron bends, we are now on Carr Lane as we approach Stillington.
In Stillington we again TOTSO right onto another Main Street, and then a couple of tricky bends to get onto Jack Lane leading out of the village. We can now see the Howardian Hills in the distance, a change of scene from the flatness we've been driving through. For the first time we lose the wide verges as we go over Marton Bridge, and we've also lost the long straight sections of road. To the right are the remains of Marton Abbey Priory. The road gets narrower and more winding as we approach Brandsby.
Brandsby - Oswaldkirk
Going through Bransby we pass a pre-Worboys direction sign point westwards towards Ampleforth. We then pass into Rydale District next to an old boundary post. After some narrow zig-zags we descend into Gilling. As we enter the the Burn Gill stream runs alongside the road in a decorative open culvert, crossed by little stone bridges into the houses alongside the road. Leaving Gilling we cross the old Thirsk-to-Malton railway line.
As we enter Oswaldkirk we climb the first major hill in the entire route as the road hairpins left and then right and then left again to climb up Oswaldkirk Bank to join the B1257. As it does it passes the turn-off to Ampleforth College, the largest Catholic boarding school in the UK. Turning right on the B1257 takes us to Malton, but most traffic turns left to continue into Helmsley.