Pete's Trip Reports

Yorkshire Wolds Way - Sep 2016

Since the Isle of Man trip in June, we had both been very busy, so didn't really have time for another walking trip until the middle of September. By then we were definitely keen to stretch our legs, and we settled on the Yorkshire Wolds Way, which looked like it had some interesting terrain, and wasn't overly strenuous. Also Jill was familiar with the area from when she was younger, so was quite keen to see some of the villages.

Day 1: Hessle to North Newbald

We got going from Hessle Haven at twenty past nine on Sunday morning. It was easy going on flat path along the riverside, with lots of dog walkers out, and good views of the Humber Bridge. After passing the sculpture marking the start, and going under the bridge, the path took to the foreshore along a white pebbly beach. Further on there was a raised section, which had a sign at the start saying that the path was closed for a few weeks, for repairs to the embankment. However, the closure didn't seem to be deterring the local dog walkers, so we pushed on anyway, and it turned out to be fine. After a while the path left the Humber and turned North through a narrow strip of forest, with ivy covered gound, and little clumps of white and pink flowers.

After more strips of forest, one of which had a small scout camp in it, the route joined a minor road and took us into Welton. It was a pleasant little village, with people sitting on benches round a small pond in front of the church. Leaving the village the route passed by a well in someones driveway, with a sign stating that people could still exercise the ancient rights to use it for their cattle! Shortly after the village, there was a nice stretch through Welton Dale, with lots of dragonflies darting about. It was quite sunny by this time, with clear blue skies, and the dale was a sun trap, so part of the way along we stopped to put sun cream on. After the dale, the path went through more forest, with some strange looking tubular black mushrooms growing on mossy logs.

Near Brantingam we passed a carved acorn, which told us that we had done 10 miles, and that we were now only 69 miles from Filey. The route didn't quite go into Brantingham, but it went past the church, where as luck would have it, it was open for a couple of hours on Sunday afternoons for refreshments. We stopped off for cups of tea, and sat in the sun on some chairs outside. After the church were some short ups and downs to get past Woo Dale, with views back to the Humber. The path dropped down to the road leading into South Cave, then climbed back up to Little Wold plantation, where it passed by a small vineyard.

There was a nice stretch along Weedley Dale, alongside the route of a disused railway line. We then went through Hunsley Dale, with forested hillside, past lots of old boundary stones. Along here we had a short stop for a clif bar, and some small dogs arrived and excitedly clambered all over our rucksacs. After leaving Hunsley Dale we noticed a farmer in a tractor in the distance busy constructing a huge wall out of giant hay bricks. A pleasant final stretch took us along the bottom of Swin Dale, to pop out on a minor road, where we left the route and took the short twenty minute walk down to reach the pub in North Newbald at quarter to six.

Day 2: North Newbald to Millington

At breakfast there were three women who were also doing the Wolds Way, and they were heading for Millington too. We walked back up the minor road from the village and were back on route by nine. The path joined a cycle route along a grassy lane which had just been freshly cut, and near the start was a person doing some bush trimming, and then further on a chap on a mower. Some minor road and tracks along field edges took us to a junction, where there were two route options. We knew that both the cafe and the pub were going to be closed tonight in Millington, so we chose the route that went through Market Weighton so that we could stock up on evening meal supplies. The Market Weighton option went along an easy disused railway track, passing a tree strewn with colourful ribbons, at St Helen's Well. There weren't quite as many facilities as we were expecting in the town, but we found a decent cafe to get a pot of tea, and then went to a couple of small supermarkets, to stock up on picnic stuff and instant noodles for the evening.

Leaving Market Weighton we passed a life-size statue of the "Market Weighton giant", who was apparently Britain's tallest ever man at 2.36 metres (7ft 9in) tall. After leaving the town, there was some fairly nondescript walking along field edges, but then the route entered Londesborough Park where the landscape opened up into grassland and large trees, although no deer to be seen, despite being labelled deer park on the OS map. Nearer Londesborough itself we headed for a tall ha ha wall with large urns on top. We had a short sit down and rest in the garden behind the ha ha wall, which was actually private, but there was a notice on the gate that invited people to enter for quiet contemplation. From Londesborough the route followed a minor road that traversed the hillside, with panoramic views out over the flatter land to the west. In the distance we could see lots of wind turbines, and four separate power stations, which a board part way along told us were Drax, Doncaster, Eggborough, and Ferrybridge. Nearing Nunburnholme we came across a sheet of paper that looked like a walking itinerary going in the other direction, with B&B addresses and phone numbers. There wasn't really much we could do with it, and we hoped that the owner could remember which places they had booked. The path contoured across a grassy hillside overlooking Nunburnholme, and just before it started descending we stopped for a sit down and had a bread and peanut butter snack before dropping down into the village.

The route passed by a grand looking hall at Kilnwick Percy, although unfortunately from the path you could only see small glimpses of the rooftops, with the rest hidden by trees. Eventually we reached the hillside overlooking Millington, the path contoured along, with great views down to the village, and an artistic bench appeared, where we stopped for a few minutes to take in the view. Shortly after the bench, we left the route, and descended on a grassy path, to reach the village at half past five, where we got checked into our B&B. As expected, both the cafe and the pub were closed, so we got stuck in to all the instant noodles and picnic stuff that we had stocked up on in Market Weighton.

Day 3: Millington to North Grimston

It was a good breakfast at the B&B, with sizeable portions, and there were another couple there who were also doing the Wolds Way, but were only going as far as Thixendale today. We got going just after half past eight, and after climbing back up the grassy hill we were back onto the route at nine. There were lovely blue skies, and it looked like it was going to be another warm day. The path descended into Sylvan Dale and then climbed out the other side, then stayed up high above Millington Dale, which had a minor road running down the length of it. Looking down, we could see someone taking their dogs for a walk by driving slowly up the dale in a 4x4, with the dogs running beside. For extra comic effect the 4x4 had noisy brakes, and for the next ten minutes we could hear it gradually squeaking its way along the dale, with the chubby labradors enthusiastically following along behind.

At the top of the dale, the path headed off alongside a field, and we came across a carved acorn which told us that we now only had 44 miles to go to reach Filey. Minor roads took us past Huggate, then the path dropped down into Horse Dale. The last bit before reaching Fridaythorpe was hot going, as it took a gradually rising path along the bottom of Holm Dale, with no shade anywhere, and completely windless. On the side of a house on the outskirts of Fridaythorpe was a blue plaque marking the first person in the Wolds to start collecting vintage washing machines.

We were looking forward to some refreshments in Fridaythorpe, but were surprised to find that the pub was all boarded up, with a row of abandoned small B&B chalets behind. Luckily there was a garage just nearby with a small shop, so we stocked up on a lot of water to get us through the rest of the day, and some cold sports drinks, which we polished off straight away. We pushed on through the village, past a pond that was full of bright orange fish hanging about in the shallows, and a sign marking the 21st anniversary of the Wolds Way in 2003, which also told us that we were almost exactly half way along the trail, with only 40 miles to go to Filey Brigg. Nearby there was also an interesting little church that was slightly hidden away from the road.

Not long after Fridaythorpe, we dropped into the intriguingly named Brubber Dale, which thankfully had trees at regular intervals, so we could have regular short stops in the shade to cool off a bit. Next up was the spectacular Thixen Dale, where a wide track cut into the hillside led down to an interesting looking spiral sculpture at the bottom. Thixen Dale was good for trees too, so we were able to grab regular periods of shade as we went along. It was so hot that even the sheep refused to leave the shade and run off as we passed by.

At Thixendale village the pub didn't open until six, but a chap working on an impressive display of flowers in his garden kindly topped up all our water bottles for us. Further along in the village we found the small shop, which was round the back of someones house, and got some more sports drinks, which we polished off. It was still unfeasibly hot, and especially so on the climb out of Thixendale, on a white chalky track that was gleaming in the sun, although there were great views back down the length of the village. Shortly after crossing Vessey Pasture Dale we found a small clump of trees, and had a short sit down in the shade, and had a clif bar. By the time we emerged, some hazy cloud had appeared which thankfully took the edge off the heat a bit.

Fom here, the path skirted the top of Deep Dale, with good views down into it. As we walked along, a succession of military aircraft flew past, both old and new, including two spitfires that appeared from time to time and chased each other in a mock dogfight. Eventually the top of the church at the site of the ancient medieval village at Warram Percy came into view, and the path dropped down to it. It was an impressive ruin, and we spent a few minutes looking around. As we were leaving, a chap with a dog appeared who was a keen walker, and we had an interesting chat about our itinerary, and some of the walks that he had done over the years, in the UK, Europe, and South America.

We pushed on, through the village of Warram le Street, then climbed a farm track, before dropping down towards Whitestone Beck. As we neared the beck, a herd of cattle jogged across the field ahead of us, and we stopped for a little while to let them get fully past before pushing on. Shortly after crossing the beck was the turnoff to North Grimston, and we sat down on a felled tree and had a final clif bar, to give us some energy for for the last stretch. It was about a mile off route to North Grimston where we had a room booked in the pub, but it was easy walking along a farm road, and we spotted a few hares enroute. We finally made it to the pub for quarter to seven.

Day 4: North Grimston to Ganton

After breakfast we got going just after half past eight, and after walking back up the farm road, we were back on the Wolds Way at nine. Some walking on farm roads and minor roads brought us to Settrington Beacon, where the path entered a forest. On the other side of the forest we popped out on a hillside, above some old chalk pits, and with good views out to the North. It was a warm sunny day again, and we took advantage of a bench to sit down and enjoy the view for a little while. We pushed on along flat farm tracks towards Wintringham. For some reason, all the small trees and hedges on the field edge along here had been uprooted, and were lying on the ground.

There wasn't much at Wintringham, apart from a large black pig that we passed in someone's back garden. After leaving the village, there was another section of forest, which contained an unexpectedly steep climb, and the Yorkshire Wolds Way signpost at the bottom of the climb humorously pointed 45 degrees upwards. On leaving the forest we came to a large artwork installation consisting of coloured posts, and little white figures converging on a dew pond. There were a couple of benches around the pond, and it was a good situation, so we sat down for a while and enjoyed the view.

Shortly after getting going again, we came to a sign for the Yorkshire Wolds Campsite. There wasn't much in the way of water sources for the rest of the stage, so we took the short detour past the campsite to see if we could get some drinks. It looked like a nice tidy campsite, and although the shop wasn't open, there was a kitchen area, so we were able to top up all our water bottles. Back on the route, the path went into Knapton Wood, where there was a pleasant stretch through beech trees, and it was nice to be in the shade.

After the beech trees, the route headed East, keeping high up on the hillside, looking down on the series of small villages alongside the A64. The path alternated between open hillside in the full heat of the sun, and occasional patches of trees. For some reason, we were flagging a bit in the heat, and our stops seemed to be getting slightly longer every time we came to any shade. All the way along there were superb panoramic views of the flatter landscape stretching off to the North. Eventually we reached Ganton, and dropped down to the pub where we were staying, which turned out to be a very comfortable spot, and excellent food too.

Day 5: Ganton to Filey Brigg

After breakfast we got going just after eight. An eerie mist had descended over everything, so we could just see outlines of trees and field edges as we walked along. Near Staxton Wold RAF station, the mist was starting to burn off a bit, and we just caught the back end of a hare disappearing across a field. After the RAF station, the route got more interesting as it took a series of grassy ups and downs, with views ahead into Lang Dale. After crossing a minor road we dropped down into Camp Dale, that used to be the site of an old settlement, although we couldn't see much sign of it on the ground. The path then turned into Stocking Dale and went through bushes and trees, and we passed group of about twenty people coming in the other direction.

At Muston we sat down on a very flowery bench and had a snack. From there it was only a stones throw to Filey, and the path popped out on the main road into Filey, where right on cue, a load of seagulls went squawking past just as we arrived. We pushed on down the road, past the railway station, then past the shops and down a little hill to the seafront. The trail doesn't finish at Filey itself, but pushes on to Filey Brigg, so we continued along the front, and then climbed up to the grassy area leading to the Brigg. The mist seemed to have reappeared, which was unfortunate as we had been looking forward to good views from the Brigg. We finally reached the little sculpture that marked the end of the route at quarter to two.


After taking a few photos of the sculpture, we headed back to Filey to catch the train, and this time we took the beach, which seemed very popular despite the mist hanging over it, then along the promenade, past a giant metal sculpture of a fisherman.

All in all quite an enjoyable trail, with some interesting landscape, and the dales are a unique feature that we have not really seen on other walks. There is quite a bit of walking along the side of arable fields and minor roads in some places though. We found day three the most interesting with a constant succession of increasingly impressive dales. Always good to complete another national trail too! We were quite lucky with the weather for mid-September, we had a mini-heatwave, in fact at times it was almost too hot, and required some planning to make sure we carried enough water and could get enough refills. Here are the stats for the route (as measured by my smartphone and altitude watch):

  • Total distance: 135km (84 miles), plus an extra 9.6km (6 miles) getting to and from off-route B&Bs
  • Total ascent: 2575m (8448ft)
  • Hilliest day: Millington to North Grimston (Day 3) - 700m (2297ft)

The sculpture at the end is also shared with the Cleveland Way, as they both finish in exactly the same place! That looks like an interesting trail too, and seems to have some excellent terrain, so we are now keen to do that one as soon as we can fit it in.