For anyone who fancies a ride in the north, the latest of our Routes To Ride covers a motorbike ride from Doncaster to Willingham Woods. Some of you may be curious to know a little more about the towns and cities we’ve displayed for your riding joy, and so our series continues with ‘Five things you didn’t know about…Doncaster.’
The town’s location alongside the Great North Road gave it some importance to Romans who called their earliest settlement Danum – as in, near the river Don. It regularly featured in Roman codices as a regular stop-off for soldiers between York and London. Also referred to by Romans as a ‘caster’ meaning a military base, its location on the map is what merited its inclusion in their Register of Dignitaries – a listing of every major stronghold in the Empire.
It’s where Robin Hood actually came from
You might have been told through the years that the legend of Robin Hood was centred in Nottingham – but that’s really only where the Sheriff tasked with tracking him down came from, sort like a major crimes squad from the nearest large population. According to the old ballads, Robin Hood actually came from Barnsdale Forest, the main part of which is a settlement just outside Doncaster; it’s also been theorised that the different woodland areas between Barnsdale and Sherwood Forest were actually joined at this point long ago, which would explain the confusion – not to mention the airport name!
Horse racing all year round
As a venue for both flat and National Hunt racing, Doncaster Racecourse is never off-season! It stages two of the world’s oldest horse races: The Doncaster Cup, which was first awarded in 1766, and the St. Leger Stakes which is one of the five Classics run throughout the year. Doncaster was also the first venue to hold a race meeting on a Sunday, which happened in 1992 despite there being no way to place a bet due to gambling laws of the time.
It’s what makes you beautiful…
…if lyrics by a manufactured boy band are to be believed, that is. One of the members of One Direction, Louis, was born and raised in Donny. He recently signed on to appear for Doncaster Rovers football team for charity; other notable Doncastrians include Jeremy Clarkson, Diana Rigg and Kevin Keegan.
…and it’s worth a ride through!
As the starting point on our latest Routes To Ride feature, Doncaster is definitely worth a trip before you get going on our newest course.