You might remember that on the previous leg of Yorkshire Wolds Way, I had walked off from the trail at Kilnwick Percy Hill down into Pocklington. Now, I rejoined the trail – a taxi took me here so I was immediately back on the trail. It was a lovely morning and to the west one could easily see the town of Pocklington down below in the distance.
The ground was immediately undulating as I distanced myself away from the road walking north-west, past Low Warrendale Farm before turning right to north-east.
Once in that direction a quick and steep climb-up follows as one walks with a field to one’s left and Warrendale Plantation to one’s right.
The ground rises quickly to about 750ft, twisting and turning left and right a bit, but generally keeping the same north-eastern direction. The views grow prettier and prettier along with the rising elevation and the lovely countryside surrounding the village of Millington to the north here can be admired.
As I was going past Warren Farm here, a rather unpleasant experience occurred – a small dog jumped out onto the path making menacing noises and was actually aggressive, trying to bite me, completely unprovoked. I still have a minor hole at the bottom of one of trousers legs from that. Luckily, I didn’t get actually bitten and shook the unhappy fella away – helped by the farmer shouting at him from inside the farm. This was actually the only time ever in Britain I’ve ever had dog aggression levelled at me, but if I am near Warren Farm again, I might be more cautious!
Past the farm, it’s a short walk to Sylvan Dale (from the second photo below), one of my favourite favouritest places on the trail. It’s simply gorgeous – I could spend here an entire day. Interesting, before one gets there, walking past Warren Farm, at first nothing betrays really what is to come! The Dale comes almost out of nowhere and suddenly.
Once the path reaches the edge of the Dale, it turns to the north and quickly down below to then reemerge and climb up onto the other side of it, continuing then north. It was a warm, sunny, morning, with the sun still rising and a true overpowering spectacle of nature.
On the northern side of the Dale, the path zigzags its way up with each turn offering new angles to admire this wonder of nature from.
Once over the ridge on the northern side, there is a lovely view (and a bench, too!) to the west – down below, you can see Millington Wood and beyond it the village of Millington itself.
I continued north now with another dale, Millington Dale to my left down below – Sylvan Dale only begins a series of wolds – precisely what the trail gets its name from – and there would be many more that day to admire.
Now to the east for a little bit, this time along Pasture Dale:
I don’t know anything quite like this anywhere in Britain – these winding paths or roads down below with the chalkland hills rising above them – it is a very unexpected sight.
The path turns north upon reaching Pocklington Lane, then within minutes crosses York Lane, now to south-east to then get to Tow End Lane. Just one minute on this road and then you step off the roads onto a smaller road back to the north. Below you can Cow Dale – the National Trail doesn’t go there (Chalkland Way does) but this lovely view is just from the place where the trail leaves Tow End Lane.
The short walk on what seems an unnamed road takes the walker to Northfield Farm, which the trail passes – beyond it, 5 minute walk to the north is Horse Dale.
As you can see, the path gently climbs down to the intersection of two different dales – Horse Dale is the one running to the left in the photo and Holm Dale the one running to the top-right. This is where where the trail now goes to the north first, eventually after a mere mile, getting into the village of Fridaythorpe. The first two images below are of Horse Dale from the bottom, the remaining two of Holm Dale from the way to Fridaythorpe.
I found a picnic table at Fridaythorpe and took a break there for food and drink. It was sunny, but it being March, it was getting cold quickly nonetheless when immobile, so after 20 minutes I was on my way.
Fridaythorpe is a small place and just 10 minutes of walking to the east took me to West Dale with fabulous views from above.
The path climbs down soon into the small Blubber Dale.
Less than 1 mile west this way is Thixen Dale.
The descent into the valley is to the south but once you’re down below, the trail turns back sharply to the north and it’s about 1.5 miles to the village of Thixendale this way. It is a gorgeous easy and flat walk in this splendid part of the world.
Thixendale’s houses are mostly along a single street east to west. The trail leaves the village on its western side and then turns north – a rather sharp climb, almost strenuous in places (I had not expected that in East Yorkshire!).
Once up there, yet another wold comes into view – Cow Wold.
A bit further north the walker comes to Vessey Hill from where you can admire the lovely Vessey Pasture Dale down below:
It’s just a bit further north until the path turns right, directly east, at precisely 15 miles after I had started that day. Here, as you can see in the photo, it is an easy relaxed walk – to the right there is North Plantation (not leafy yet in March) and ahead, about 1.5 miles, will be Deep Dale where the path turns north towards Wharram Percy, another 1 mile.
Wharram Percy is the site of a deserted medieval village, apparently most active between the 10th and 12th centuries. The most obvious attraction here is the ruins of the old St Martin’s Church, just past the pond to the south of it.
The three people seen walking in the last photo included a rather grumpy teenager complaining how far she had had to walk back to their car). I had just walked 17 miles, with 8 more to go!
Wharram le Street, which is a modern day village is just north of here and a quick march east first to Bella Farm takes you to a road that you then follow straight north to the village.
I did not stop in the village; remember being rather determine to walk the final seven miles without a break. The sunny weather seemed to be changing to cloudy and it was turning grey, although it never rained that day. North of Wharram le Street, the hike is on a road called Broad Balk. Approximately 0.75 miles from Wharram le Street, the trail crosses High Street, which connects the villages of North Grimston to the west and Duggleby to the east. Another 0.25 miles and then the trail turns west to then turn back north, towards Whitestone Beck. This is, yet again, your classic agrarian kind of countryside.
Past the beck, the trail continues largely north, with some twists and turns.
Now through Settrington Wood north-east along a road past Settrington Beacon and then into wooded Beacon Wold.
It is only 2 miles in the same direction to Wintringham from here. After this brief walk up through the wood, the road descends back and the huge open countryside welcomes you and even a lovely bench is provided to help you rest your weary legs!
Even in the greyish weather, the southern North York Moors are easy to make out from here. It’s a lovely view and a gorgeous spot.
Down below, Keld Lane runs the final 1.5 miles to almost all the way to Wintringham; the last 5 or 10 minutes are on appropriately named path Wolds Way. Wintringham is a superb quiet village stretched along one road, really, west to east.
I found a place to sit in the village. It was a Sunday and no buses at all, so I needed to call a taxi to take me back to Malton, where there’s a train station. What a fantastic day that was!