Sunday, 1 August 2010

Around Drewton

Interesting objects and nature were the features of today's walk in the Drewton area. During our 5.7 mile walk we observed two lumps of stone one man made and one not that intrigued us and have required further investigation since getting home. We also spotted a Roe Deer, a Red Kite and a Buzzard. The walk also gave us views across the Vale of York and Humberhead area.

We parked in a layby at the top of Beverley Road, South Cave and set off west down Swinescaife Lane before turning north and down a short dale which brought us to the course of the dismantled Hull - Barnsley Railway Line. We crossed the old line and then walked parallel to it on a wide track through mature woodland before the track branched away to the north and followed the bottom of a wooded dale. It was along this track that we came across the first of the intriguing lumps of stone. By the side of the track stood a stone about two foot high; it was inscribed on both sides. One side read "Southern end of Hunsley Fence" (pictured) and the other "Northern end of Drewton Fence". Further along the track we also noted two other inscribed stones that on opposing sides simply had a "D" and a "H". I've been unable to find any  information on when or why these stones were placed.

We carried on through the woods and came to a sharp climb that led out of the dale and on to the wold top. Soon after we cleared the trees we were confronted with a magnificent view which stretched through 180 degrees. To the north we could see as far as Garrowby Hill and the Howardian Hills beyond and to the south east right across the area which contains Thorne Moors known as the Humberhead Levels. We followed the path up the edge of an arable cropped field all the while taking in the view.  The path soon joined the B1230 and we headed west for a short distance staying close to the road edge as cars came racing by.

We ignored the first public footpath to head back south in the direction of Drewton as we needed to take the second one. This was the way to a feature I'd noticed on the map and our second intriguing lump of stone of the day or as we were to discover more approriately in this case rock. What I'd seen written on the map was St Austin's Stone and I had no idea what this was. The path soon turned west and joined a woodline and we followed it peering through the trees for sight of the Stone. After a short while I sighted what looked like a small lump of stone but was in fact the top of a twenty or so foot high outcrop - a rare sight on the wolds. Some internet research suggests that the name derives from a corruption of St Augustine who tradition has it preached from the top of the outcrop. You can find much more information on the Yorkshire Holy Wells website.

After looking at the stone and wondering why it was so named we set off back down the track and this was where we had our first nature encounter of the day. As we approached a gap in a hedge a Roe Deer sprang on to the track not ten metres in front of us and darted off down the track until it disappeared from sight round a bend some fifty metres distant. I tried hard to bring my camera to bear and take a photo. But my lack of ability with my new camera and speed of the deer made this impossible. We continued down the track peering in to the woods to try and get another glimpse of the deer but to no avail.

On previous visits to the Drewton area I had seen Red Kites and was hoping that on this walk I would again get to see these magnificent birds. Red Kites are re-colonising the Yorkshire Wolds and I have observed them right across the area. Soon after our encounter with the deer the track turned south and descended towards the dale bottom. We came out in to a wide flat open area and as we looked to the open sky this afforded us a view across the dale and we could see a Red Kite high in the sky; identifiable by it's characteristic forked tail and the way it patrolled the land below. It soon drifted from view and we carried on across a small stream and then passed by the rear of Drewton Manor.

The footpath joined a quiet (private?) road and we turned east following it for a couple of hundred metres. We followed the path as it veered off to the right taking us back to the dismantled line and over it on a large brick bridge. Carrying on east we soon came to the point where we needed to re-trace our footsteps back to the car. Walking south back up the dale (which would take us back to the track and then east to the lay-by) we could see through the trees a Buzzard carving lazy circles in the sky as it soared on the afternoon's thermals.

We arrived back at our car about two and half hours after starting. It had been a good walk with some steep inclines to stretch the legs and we'd seen plenty to stimulate our conversation and minds on our visit to the Drewton area.

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