The Solar Way

Explore the Milky Way with the fabulous astronomy cycle route, The Solar Way.

This six and a half mile route from York to Riccall features models of the sun and planets laid out at their relative distances along the route. Start at the Sun and proceed along to Mercury, Venus and all the way out to the dwarf planet, Pluto.

You will also find models of the Cassini module that delivered the Huygens probe to Titan, one of Saturn’s moons, and the Voyager I probe launched in 1977 and which passed Jupiter and Saturn.

The Solar Way is a great combination of cycling and astronomy, fantastic for parents and children alike.


The Solar Way begins near the centre of York and extends through Bishopthorpe and ends at Riccall.

Let’s Pedal

You can start on The Solar Way from two points before continuing on the main route.

Start 1A for 6.4 mile route (one way):

Join the main cycle path on the A1036 between the turning for Sim Balk Lane and the petrol station. Access is from the north side of the road which then loops back south.

Start 1B for 10 mile route (one way, short on-road sections):

From Rowntree Park, head south without crossing the Millennium Bridge. Leave through the Butcher Terrace entrance and turn left onto Terry Street, right onto Beresford Terrace and left onto Bishopthorpe Road. Follow this road until you pass the Kraft contractor parking entrance on your left, then continue straight on until you see the cycle path on your right. Take the cycle path.

Follow the path around to the left until you come to a T-junction where you turn right (if you come to the Middlethorpe Hall Hotel you turned the wrong way!).

Follow the path until you are near the A64 road which will raised above you on your left hand side. When you come to the fork in the road, turn left and continue along until you come to the final T-junction where you will find the model of the Sun on your right, and the planets and other models by turning left.

Cycle The Solar Way

Follow the route passing each model until you reach Pluto. About three hundred metres later, the path ends in Riccall. Look out for the nine planets, and models of Cassini and Voyager I.

Route Distance

FromToDistance (Miles)Distance (Km)
A1036 / Sim Balk Lane, YorkYork Road, Riccall6.410.3
Rowntree ParkYork Road, Riccall1016.1


You will find a number of refreshment stops and public houses available near the route at:

York, Bishopthorpe, Riccall.

The Brunswick Organic Nursery at Bishopthorpe has a café which is not far off the cycle path.


Toilets are located at:

Rowntree Park, Nunthorpe (not far from the cycle path near Kraft), Brunswick Organic Nursery (customers only)

Cycle Hire available at:

York, Bishopthorpe

Tourist information available at:


How to get here

By Car

The Solar Way runs from York to Riccall. In York, you can begin either at Rowntree Park or near Sim Balk Lane.

Rowntree Park is between Bishopthorpe Road and Fulford Road, both heading north off the A64.

The entrance to the cycle path at the junction of A1036 and Sim Balk Lane is accessed by heading south-west on Micklegate and A1036 from the centre of York, near York College.

The Solar Way ends in Riccall which is south of York off the A19 from Osgodby.

Car Parking

Pay and Display parking available near the cycle route at these locations:

Car ParkLocationPostcode
Askham Bar Park & RideNear Sim Balk Lane, YorkYO23 2UB
Moor Lane Car ParkYorkYO24 1LW
Bishopthorpe Road Car ParkNear Rowntree Park, YorkYO23 1NA

There is on-street parking in Riccall.

By Cycle

The Solar Way is part of National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 65 from York to Osgodby.

By Train



  • Distance (miles): 6.4
  • Distance (km): 10.3
  • Start: Tadcaster Road, York
  • Finish: York Road, Ricall
  • Type: Disused railway line
  • Surface: Tarmac, gravel
  • Sat Nav: YO23 2UB


  • Car Park
  • Cycle Hire
  • Free Entry
  • Picnic Site
  • Refreshments
  • Toilets
  • Tourist Information

Cycle Hire

Twisted Cogs Electric Cycle Hire

Home Farm Buildings
Main Street
YO23 2RA

Cycle Heaven

2 Bishopthorpe Road
YO23 1JJ

Opening Times

Open all year round except for any temporary closures due to works.


Cyclist Reviews

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Solar way short section great for kids

Rated 5 out of 5
6th March 2021

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The information provided on this page is believed to be correct and is given in good faith. Please be aware that it may have changed since our research. Use of the information on this page is at your risk, we cannot accept any liability for any problems or incidents arising. The maps are based on the postcodes of the centres. The postcode provided for Sat Nav is the nearest postcode to the start of the trail or car park and is therefore not 100% accurate to the entrance of the location. Postcodes are provided as a guide only. We recommend that you confirm the location and other details before travelling.

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