Sandal to Yorkshire Sculpture Park Cycle Route

As a dad with two small children my primary cycling with the kids tends to be safe, designated cycling routes. But as a keen leisure cyclist, I like to stretch my legs a little and add some distance while taking in the nature around me.

My house in Sandal, Wakefield is within cycling distance of the Yorkshire Sculpture park. Armed with my rucksack, supplies and my laptop I set off in the hope of spending the morning working from their cafe.

Where does the ride take me?

Leaving my house in Sandal I take the route on Barnsley Road down to Newmillerdam Country Park. It’s worth noting at this point I don’t always take the fastest route and tend to take routes which enable me to come back in a different direction. I’m not a ‘speed’ cyclist and more so cycle for the fun and enjoy my surroundings.

Go past the car park at Newmillerdam and continue out of Newmillerdam in the direction of Barnsley. On the right-hand side, you should pick up a road called ‘Secker Lane’. Cycle up here and keep going, past Woolley Edge Christmas Tree farm (left-hand side) and over the M1 Motorway bridge. Weirdly it was actually a pretty cool feeling cycling over the motorway bridge and seeing all the commuters while out in the fresh air on my bike.

From here you should arrive at Bretton Lane. Take a left and follow signs for West Bretton village. From the village, I headed to the ‘traditional entrance’ to Yorkshire Sculpture park past Bretton Cricket Club.

Upon arriving at the gates of The Yorkshire Sculpture Park I was excited to sit down and enjoy a coffee on the balcony of the cafe. Unfortunately, I was met with closed gates and signs suggesting you now needed a ticket to enter the park.

West Yorkshire Cycle route sign saving my bacon

I stood at the gate a little confused when a security guard approached me and said it was the new rules since ‘Covid’. In my opinion, this is a poor move by the YSP team and alienates the local community; those who have visited the park regularly in the past and are keen for some lunch at their facilities.

Fortunately, the West Yorkshire Cycle route sign greeted me and I ventured down the path quickly discovering that the path enters the Yorkshire Sculpture Park itself! There are however signs everywhere stating you need a ticket by are free to use the public footpath when passing through.

The path actually crosses over the bridge near the lower lake. At this point, I considered locking my bike up on the path and entering the park but then it dawned on me I am a middle-aged Dad writing a family cycling blog. I’m not sure this is a good look so continued my journey.

The path takes you through a farmer’s cow field which felt like the longest path ever when at this point my dreams of a coffee and a cake were in tatters. I came out of the field by Bretton Country Park Kennels & Cattery on Litherlop Lane. I cycled until I picked up signs for Haigh and turned down Jebb Lane.

Haigh is a beautiful little hamlet. At the bottom of Jebb Lane, you reach the A637 which runs at the side of the M1. I decided to follow the signs for West Bretton and passed the main entrance to the Sculpture Park. This was the most uneventful part of the cycle as the A637 is a dual carriageway and as a predominantly trail cyclist, it wasn’t high on my enjoyment list.

Back in West Bretton, I decided to take the ‘Bretton Lane’ route back home; over the motorway bridge and into Crigglestone. From here it was a short cycle past Kettlethorpe High School and back home.

It’s a 15-mile cycle which Is suitable for competent cyclists. Teenagers and adults-only given the climbs and distance.

Free access to Yorkshire Sculpture Park?

Unlike my cycle to Nostell Priory you are not free to enter the YSP and security is heavily enforced. 24-hour CCTV, staff members on walkie-talkies and plenty of signs. You ‘could’ in theory lock your bike up and enter but I wouldn’t recommend it.

For me, this is a real shame and put a real downer on the trip. Having cycled over 7 miles I was hoping for a good cup of coffee and some lunch. But this wasn’t to be. Yorkshire Sculpture Park has missed out on my local custom (and future custom) as a result of this.

Nostell Priory on the other hand allows you to freely cycle in and use the grounds and cafe. Active Travel should be encouraged; as should some level of remote working from cafes; especially within green open spaces. I know the winter months can be hard for tourist spots so it makes sense to appeal to the local community?


If you are based in Sandal or Newmillerdam then I thoroughly recommend this route if you take your own supplies. There’s an option to stop at Blacker Hall Farm on the way home however The Sculpture Park cafe is out of bounds for non-ticket holders.

Those who live in Bretton, Haigh or High Hoyland can grab a ticket for free from the website as can the Annual Ticket holders however that alienates an entire local community and still means you have to actively grab a ticket online every time you want to visit.

Failing that it’s £6 a ticket which feels expensive for a short coffee stop. I think the YSP could do better here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the ride suitable for?:

An intermediate rider. There are parts where it could be challenging for a complete novice however with regular breaks it could be more than possible. I would say it’s suitable for teenagers and above.

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?:

Randomly cycling over the motorway bridge. There’s something liberating about seeing traffic when you are freely cycling.

Is it suitable for kids?:

I would say not. It really depends on the competence of the cycling however this is a predominantly road route so I would edge towards teenagers and above

Is it safe?:

It’s more than a safe route in terms of cycle safety but like any road route, you’re only as safe as the drivers on the road.

Pros & Cons


  • There’s plenty of nature on the off-road parts.


  • Ticket-only access has ruined the Sculpture park for the local community.
  • Parts of the route are unexciting roads.

Cycle enjoyment rating

Last Updated on February 3, 2023 by Ryan

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