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.

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