Sunday, 17 July 2011

Yorkshire Wolds Walk - Walking near Warter

Thatched cottages at Warter
A day off gave the opportunity for a walk and I chose to do a circular walk starting in Warter.  As I struck out North using the road up the side of Manor Farm the sun was shining, the wide verges covered in flowers and the birds were singing.  A great day for a walk.
Junction with Cobdale Lane

Not long after the road joins up with Cobdale Lane that goes up to Huggate I was thinking what a great place for views - to the west you could see down in to the Vale of York and to the east across to the coast.  This probably represented a view of sixty miles or more.  I saw that someone else had had the same idea as a car was parked at the side of the road and a man was taking pictures.  As I passed I remarked about it being a great place for pictures and we and the man's wife started talking.  As it turned out the gentleman had, what must have been quite a number of years ago, lived in York and used to cycle across the Wolds to Bridlington. They were navigating using a dog-eared RAC atlas that must have been at least 50 years old that the man had used, pinned to his handlebars, to navigate around the wolds many years ago.   As it turned out the couple now lived in Italy and had visited York to see their son graduate the day before and were taking a one day trip down memory lane. They knew of David Hockney's work in painting Yorkshire Wolds landscapes and being not far from Warter I showed them the location where he had painted his "Bigger Trees near Warter" (My Bigger Trees Near Warter).  We then bade each other farewell and went on our way. 

Red Kites over the Yorkshire Wolds
Well Dale
Further up the lane at Cobdale Cottage I turned right on to Hawold Bridle Road and headed East. This broad track immediately crosses  the head of Well Dale. The dale is typical of this feature in the Yorkshire Wolds with Hawthorn scrub clinging on to the steep sides; the dale is open access land. As I stood to admire the view my attention was caught by a pair of Red Kites circling about a hundred yards away. I watched for a while and then tried to photograph them. Again this highlighted to me that I need a new lens for my camera as the photograph showed them to be nothing more than mere specks. Before long they silently glided far off in to the distance.

Felling Operations - Yorkshire Wolds
I carried on and before long drew close to where the Bridle Road crosses Mill Lane that heads up from Warter to Huggate. Here I got two reminders that the countryside is a place of work and not just leisure. Firstly, about twenty people were working picking strawberries from a field and secondly, a large pile of newly cut logs highlighting forestry work in the area. 

As I crossed the lane I noticed the car from earlier parked further up the road and more photos being taken.  I waited and after a short while the couple drove up to me. They'd not managed to find the location of the picture so I gave them some more directions and advised them that the trees aren't that near Warter and they'd need to go a little further out of the village to find them than they'd previously tried. They turned round and headed back to Warter. I really hope that they found the site of the picture. 

Lavender Dale
I followed the track across Huggate Heads until it reached the Huggate to North Dalton Road. My route then took me south east down the road but only for a few hundred metres before following the public path that goes down the access to Blanche Farm. I passed the farm to the North and the path then joined the open access land of Brig and Lavender Dales. These two small dales are as fine as any I've seen on the Wolds with a mixture of scrub and woodland.  I then followed the path on a steep climb up the West slope and out of Lavender Dale. Here the path takes a sharp turn round the corner of a wood and as I rounded the corner two young stoats were playing on the track not ten metres in front of me. So engrossed were they in their play that they didn't notice me.  I watched them twist, turn and roll around together for a minute or more but finally their play brought them towards me and they shot off as they noticed me.

Entrance to Warter
Before long this track joins the Warter - Huggate Road I'd crossed earlier and I headed south west along it and down in to Warter. I stopped off at the Yorkshire Wolds Heritage Centre -  you can find more about that here - - before getting back to my car. 
I reckoned that I'd done somewhere around 9 miles across this fantastic piece of countryside and I'd really enjoyed this part of my day off.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Yorkshire Wolds Heritage Centre

Yorkshire Wolds
Heritage Centre
At the end of a good circular walk starting and finishing in Warter I visited the Yorkshire Wolds Heritage Centre. The centre is located in the old parish church of St James. With the church at risk of demolition after being declared surplus to requirements it has been taken over by a local heritage society. 

The ex-St James church is an impressive building reflective of the wealthy families who once lived at the now demolished Warter Priory. The graves and memorials to these wealthy individuals are located in the churchyard and inside. An area of the churchyard is still maintained as a graveyard for more recent burials.

A number of information boards have been dotted around the churchyard providing information on the history of the village, chalk grassland ecology and an explanation of the earthworks to the north of the site that mark the site of the ancient Priory that stood there. Within the porch of the church you can get a number of leaflets that outline some walks in the local area. One of the walks takes in the site of the subject of Hockney"s "Bigger Trees near Warter" that has immortalised the area and normally hangs in the Tate Britain Gallery. Other leaflets are available, as you might expect, that outline details of the local heritage.

Interior of the Yorkshire
Wolds Heritage Centre
I tried the door not really expecting the door to this isolated building to be open but it was. The building as you might imagine still has a church feel and it is replete with pews. More leaflets are available by the door and around the walls information panels have been erected giving details of Yorkshire Wolds life and heritage and the history of the Warter Estate. A nice touch was a number of folders each containing details of the local farms with pictures of life on the farms in the past. One folder also contained wedding photos for weddings that had taken place in the church. The building is used by the Heritage Society to host concerts and is available for hire for exhibitions and such like.

After a long walk in the summer sunshine this oasis of calm was a welcome place to cool down before heading home. If you're ever in the area I would recommend a visit. 

Link to Website - Yorkshire Wolds Heritage Trust

Monday, 11 July 2011

Summer Evening Pub Trip - Gnu Inn, North Newbald

A day of sunshine and showers had turned in to a warm sunny evening when we decided to pay the Gnu Inn at North Newbald a visit.  North Newbald has two pubs and the other one, the Tiger, is just across the road from the Gnu.  In these times the ability to sustain two pubs in one village is impressive.

As we arrived a few customers were sitting outside on the forecourt overlooking the village green enjoying the sunshine. The pub has a large car park to the rear.  The inside of the pub has a traditional feel and we took a table in the lounge bar.  Tables were quite snugly fitted in and several were taken with diners and a few drinkers stood at the bar.  

As usual, we checked out the dessert menu before deciding whether to order starters and puddings won the day.  There was an excellent choice of main courses and several specials.  I had the sea bass, simply cooked in basil oil and served with very chunky chips and salad.  My companion had the steak and ale pie, again with chips and salad, though seasonal vegetables were also available. The portion sizes were good and the food was tasty.  The sea bass was one of the most expensive items on the menu but at £11.50 was excellent value.

Our waitress, a young girl, was kept busy, though service was faultless.  We chose summer fruit pudding and a chocolate creme brulee pyramid for dessert.  These were thoroughly enjoyed.  Also on offer was a home made treacle sponge, tiramisu, chocolate lumpy bumpy, New York vanilla baked cheesecake, to name a few.

My companion had a couple of pints of Black Sheep at £3.00 a pint, as the designated driver I had fruit juice.  As we left I mentioned to the landlord how impressed we were with the young waitress who was very attentive and efficient, and all done with a lovely smile.

We took a meandering route home and saw a barn owl during a lovely sunset.  A good night out that we are likely to repeat!

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Pitch and Putt at Sewerby Hall

Took a trip to Sewerby Hall, between downpours, yesterday afternoon to play on the Pitch and Putt course located in the grounds of the hall. We played badly as usual with much hacking between greens and wayward putting. 

Sewerby Hall has a number of attractions that make it a good place to while away an afternoon whether it be sunshine or rain. You can take a trip round the hall itself that has a number of displays in it's various rooms, walk round the pleasant gardens and grounds, visit the mini-zoo, sink a few balls on the putting green or like us do the pitch and putt.

From the hall you can also take the land train in to Bridlington if you wish to extend your visit to the area. The hall is owned and run by East Riding of Yorkshire Council. More details can be found at -