TO you, the B1222 is probably no more than a pleasant-enough backroad that meanders from York past Stillingfleet to Cawood and Sherburn in Elmet.

To Cawood local historian David Lewis, however, it is much more than that. The road has been a 'welcoming companion' to many of the major stages of his life, he says - and also has an astonishing richness of history that makes it exceptional. So exceptional, he's written a book about it.

He's called the book Rhubarb, Royalty and the Rings of Saturn - a reference to just some of the features, historic and modern, that the road takes in in the course of its 20-mile length.

"In many ways, the B1222 is an entirely 'normal' B road," David writes in the book. "But... in its winding course, it graces the scene of more historic events than a normal road.

"It passes a fine carving of the face of Henry II at Stillingfleet, the 'Windsor of the North' at Cawood, and Anglo-Saxon King Athelstan's palace at Sherburn. The B1222 also breezes by a centre of rhubarb research, a space probe to Saturn and through a Celtic kingdom.

"What's more, I have lived in Cawood, bisected by the B1222, for over half of my adult life, and came to see it as a welcoming companion on my way to and from university, to and from visiting friends and family, to and from hospital for the birth of my daughter and to and from work."

York Press:

The B1222: an 'exceptional' road

Rhubarb, Royalty and the Rings of Saturn is, therefore, David's 'homage' to this most ordinary yet most exceptional of B roads.

He began writing it as a lockdown project, he admits - and then it gradually expanded.

It now runs to 116 pages, and includes local history, suggestions for several short walks, and much more.

So what of that rhubarb, those royals, and the rings of Saturn?

Well, the rhubarb refers to Yorkshire's famous 'rhubarb triangle', of course - the optimum conditions for growing the ultimate Yorkshire delicacy were once researched at Stockbridge near Cawood.

The royalty? There's the Norse King Harald's battlefield at Fulford, Anglo Saxon monarch Athelstan's palace at Sherburn and a hunting home for King John at Cawood Castle, all of which lie on or near the road.

Those rings of Saturn, meanwhile, can be found on the former East Coast Main Line as part of what is now the Solar System cycle path - which the B1222 swoops beneath.

York Press:

Meandering: the B1222

There's much more to be seen along the B1222, though. David's book introduces you to it all: including the fabulous grade 1 listed church at Stillingfleet, with medieval carvings and a Viking church door; stunning medieval gatehouse at Steeton; and the joys of hairy motor bikes at Squires' cafe.

"All this packed into less than 25 miles of sinuous transit across prime Yorkshire countryside," David says.

an exceptional road indeed.

Rhubarb, Royalty and the Rings of Saturn by David Lewis is available, priced £6, from Selby Library, Cawood Post Office, Naburn Village Shop, Fields Garden Centre, Sherburn and other similar local outlets.

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