Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Yorkshire Wolds Walk - Wolds Way Pt 1

We decided as part of a New Year's resolution to complete the Wolds Way that runs between Hessle and Filey or the other way round.  Itching to make progress and with no holidays on the horizon we've decided to split it in to chunks and do each as a day becomes available.  So on Sunday we did leg one between Hessle Foreshore and South Cave.

Wolds Way Marker
RAF Sea King SAR Helicopter
The start (or end) of the walk is marked by a carved stone that stands by the Humber Estuary just east of the Humber Bridge. The route heads under the bridge and along the path next to the foreshore. Just past the bridge is the base of Humber Rescue, a voluntary organisation that does what the name says.  As we walked along the foreshore we watched as they exercised in boats with HM Coastguard.  Then the Royal Air Force Search and Rescue Sea King swooped in low over the estuary and joined in the exercise. The helicopter hovered low over the boats and an occasional barge, at times winching personnel back and forth. They continued their practicing as we reached North Ferriby and dropped down on to the foreshore following the low tide route past this Humber Bank village. At high tide a path through the village has to be taken.  Immediately past the village a set of steps leads up from the foreshore and we took these. 

Welton Church
Leaving the estuary behind we followed a path north through a strip wood  that runs up the side of North Ferriby.  Before long we arrived at the A63 and crossed over. The path then takes you in to Terrace Plantation and you set foot on to the Yorkshire Wolds as the path heads uphill.  Again the path follows the course of this strip wood and eventually leads down to the road that runs through Melton Bottoms.  Situated here is a large quarry and processing plant operated by Omya.  The path dissects their site with signs warning of blasting operations posted on the fences.  Not a place to stray from the path which continues through woodland with glimpses of the Humber through the trees. We dropped in to Welton, a pretty village nestled at the very edge of the Wolds.  At this point we'd done about six miles and if we'd wished to take refreshments Welton would have provided the first opportunity being the location of the "Green Dragon" public house.  The pub is situated in a great location opposite the village pond and church and is claimed to have been frequented by the famous highwayman, Dick Turpin, before his capture.

Welton Dale
Wauldby Manor
We didn't linger in Welton taking the path north through Welton Dale. The sheer number of people walking through the dale in both directions proves the popularity of Welton as  a starting point for walks. The path was being churned in to mud and this was to be a feature of our walk for the next few miles. As we came to the end of the dale we climbed through a small wood. Amongst the trees to your left you can see a Mausoleum built for the residents of the nearby Wauldby Manor. Coming out of the wood we turned east on to a hard surfaced road for a short distance before turning north along a strip wood that took us to the aforementioned manor house.  The house stands in open countryside with a chapel and small lake in it's grounds.

Towards sundown
Sunset from Brantingham Wold
After the manor house we continued to head north on a muddy, well trodden trail until we reached a cross roads. We turned to the west towards Brantingham, the path east would have taken us to Raywell and the path north eventually would lead to Skidby. The route cuts across the road from Welton to Riplingham and joins the road leading to Elloughton Dale for a short distance but as that road turns south we continued to head west along the track.  As we headed down the track my pace quickened as I could see a golden sky through a tunnel created by the hedges and I knew it was the sign of a fine sunset. The closer we got the greater the anticipation was and as we  came over the crest of the hill the sunset that greeted us didn't disappoint. The sun bathed the landscape in front of us from the Humberhead Levels via Drax to York and beyond in a golden light as it dropped towards the horizon.  We stopped quite awhile and admired the view but conscious the sun was setting and we needed to finish before dark we pressed on.

Sunset in Brantingham Dale
Brantingham Church
We joined a road down towards Brantingham then veered right on to a path leading down to Brantingham Church. The church is nestled in the valley with a backdrop of trees and it's as fine a location for a village church as I've ever seen.  We followed the road up in to Brantingham Dale for a few hundred metres then turned left through the wood and up the dale side. At the top the route then took us down in to Woo Dale where we turned right and north skirting the edge of the plantation of the same name. We then past behind and round Mount Airy Farm.

Twisty benches near South Cave
The name says it all
We followed the farm access road down towards South Cave.  At the bottom we saw a sign that gave the name of the track we'd just followed, rather aptly stated "Steep Hill".  The route just grazes the northern edge of South Cave and we headed up the opposite side of the dale we'd just come down.  At the top we turned right and north heading along a wood line.  We came across two of the "artistic benches" recently placed along the route but by now it was too dark to rest and admire the view.  Before long the route joined Swinescaif Lane.  A little along the lane the Wolds Way leaves the track and heads north down through Comber Dale.  However, we carried on up the track to it's junction with Beverley Road where our transport awaited us some 14 miles or so since setting out.  We will soon rejoin the Wolds Way at the head of Comber Dale.  Leg 1 of our walk has whetted our appetite for more.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Yorkshire Wolds Walk - Kiplingcotes and Goodmanham

This Yorkshire Wolds walk followed a figure of eight route from Kiplingcotes Station via Goodmanham and back to Kiplingcotes. The selection of the route was mainly driven by the conditions on the day as it was a very stormy day with winds gusting over 50mph. The first part of the walk was along a disused railway line that runs through the bottom of a dale offering some protection from the weather. The sound of the wind roaring through the trees and the creaking noises as they twisted in the wind meant it was anything but a still calm day.

Signal Box at
Kiplingcotes Station
Kiplingcotes Station sits on the disused Beverley to York line.  It was built especially for the use of Lord Hotham as a condition of him allowing the line to pass through his land. The line fell victim to the Beeching cuts and now is a well trodden footpath connecting the places the railway line used to.  An idea to re-open the line has been mooted but I think in these austere times finding the money to undo all the changes since it closed might be a little beyond the public purse.  At the station is a large car park giving access to the line.  From here you can either head east to Beverley or West in the direction of Market Weighton as I did. Being an old railway line the way is flat and the going easy and would make an ideal route for a short walk for those who are less able than others. 

As you head west before long you come to Kiplingcotes Nature Reserve which is adjacent to the northern edge of the line. The nature reserve is operated by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and you can read more about it here - Kiplingcotes Nature Reserve. With the wind whipping down the dale nature must have decided to shelter as on this occasion there was nothing to see.  I have in the past when passing by seen Red Kite and Buzzard drifting over the reserve.

Disused Beverley to York
Railway line.
My route continued to follow the disused line. On other days it is busy with walkers but today I was a solitary figure not seeing anyone as I battled in to the wind and rain. Eventually the line crossed the road to Goodmanham near where it forks from the Market Weighton Road. 

Source of Market
Weighton Beck 
Here is a piece of marshy ground that is the start point of Market Weighton Beck. It's fed by springwater that emerges from under the road. However for the time of year the flow was not what you'd expect. 

After following the line beyond the road I arrived at the outskirts of Market Weighton. At this point I left the disused line behind and turned right on to a path that doubled back towards the village of Goodmanham. Nestled on a south facing slope of the Yorkshire Wolds Goodmanham  has a significant past being the site of an ancient pagan temple and the current Church of All Hallows dates back to the 12th Century. The village pub the "Goodmanham Arms" is popular  with walkers and locals. Details of the pub can be found here - http://www.goodmanham-arms.co.uk/. My route climbed up along the main street of the village, past the pub and up the side of the church. Just at the edge of the village I turned right on to the road that crossed the disused railway line in the dale bottom.

Just after the crossover I left the road and disused railway line behind taking a path south east that headed up the side of the dale and on to Arras Hill. Here I could feel the fury of the wind. Fortunately it was at my back and was helping to push me up the hill. Turning back and looking across the Vale of York I could see squalls blowing in towards me, giving me the incentive to press on quickly up and across Arras Hill.  Upon reaching Arras I took the road that headed north and back down in to the dale bottom. 

Arras Hill Skyscape
Sunset was fast approaching and the sky was turning gold. It may have been a stormy day but the contrast of the ragged clouds and hue created by the setting sun made a great skyscape. 

I carried on to the end of the road, turned right back under the railway line and took the road entrance back up to Kiplingcotes Station. In total I had done just over 8 miles and enjoyed battling against the weather. 

Yorkshire Wolds Walk - Kilham, Burton Agnes and Harpham

A perfect for walking beautiful sunny day provided the opportunity for our first walk on the Yorkshire Wolds of 2012. We selected a walk that took in three Wolds villages - Kilham, Burton Agnes and Harpham.

We parked up in Kilham opposite the Ye Olde Star Public House (we didn't visit on this occasion but have in the past and found it to be a decent pub serving good food). Kilham is a large village that reflects the fact that it was once one of the most important trading centres on the Wolds It's eminence only being overshadowed when the canal arrived at Driffield.  We started our walk by heading east on the main road through Kilham that eventually leads up to Woldgate that leads to Bridlington. Our route didn't take us that far is we turned at the village pond and headed out towards the countryside. 

Village Pond, Kilham
We noted as we walked past how low the water level was in the pond.The pond also appeared to be the head of a stream system and this was also dry and something we noticed later too. Considering it is January and we are in the middle of winter you might have expected the pond to be full to the brim. If we don't have a lot of rain in the remainder of the winter and spring I expect a shortage of water may become a real issue on the Yorkshire Wolds in 2012. 

Wind Turbines at Lissett
As we covered the ground on a path that headed south east from Kilham to Burton Agnes we were afforded wide open views not only of the Wolds but also south along the coastal plain and down in to Holderness. What you couldn't miss was the wind turbines at Lissett. These are a dominant feature in this area and are view-able from many miles away but also can get lost in the wider landscape. I think that any more development of wind farms in the area, as is proposed, would be too much because of the overpowering effect this would have on the landscape. It is worth noting that you could lose the wind turbines by turning your back on them what you couldn't escape was their product. Everywhere you turned power lines criss-crossed the landscape. 

Approach to Burton Agenes
It wasn't long before we headed in to Burton Agnes the location of a grand Elizabethan Stately Home. The hall is open to the public and their website states "Simon Jenkins, author of England's Thousand Best Houses, described Burton Agnes Hall as ‘the perfect English house’ and as one of the twenty best English houses alongside Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace and Chatsworth House. " You can visit their website by clicking - http://www.burtonagnes.com/Home.html. Our route took us past the 13th century Church of St Martin and down past the side of the hall. We then crossed the A165 and walked past the front of the Blue Bell Hotel and Public House (again we didn't visit on this occasion but have in the past and found it be a decent pub serving good food in both the bar and restaurant). We then took a footpath across open countryside heading south west towards Harpham.

St Quintin Arms, Harpham
Harpham is another East Yorkshire village with a rich history being the birthplace of St. John of Beverley and the location of a holy well, named after St John, said in times gone by to have miraculous properties. The village, as the others in the area, has a good public house. It's called the St Quintin Arms after a local landowning family who have been associated with the area for hundreds of years. I've had a Sunday lunch here and really enjoyed and also had to go elsewhere as the pub was already bursting at the seams when we arrived. Our route then took as east through the village and we joined a footpath down the side of a large dairy farm towards my favourite feature of this Wolds fringe.

Kelk Beck 
The track takes you though some woodland and what is noticeable about it is the crystal clear water flowing through it. The area is the part of the spring system that makes up some of the headwaters of the River Hull. As you break out of the woodland a small bridge can be seen. This is the bridge over Kelk Beck which is a fine example of that quintessential english scene of a chalk stream. The crystal clear water flows south from here eventually joining West Beck near North Frodingham where they become the River Hull. A local organisation the "The East Yorkshire Chalk River Trust" plays a large part in the conservation of this fantastic part of our natural heritage and their website can be found at - http://www.eastyorkshirechalkriverstrust.org/.
The beck had a decent flow at this point as the local springs pump out water from underground. It was different story a little further north.

We walked east a little further then turned north and paralleled the course of Kelk Beck. A sign post gave us clear direction which way to go as we were heading to Bracey Bridge a place best known as a lay-by on the Driffield to Bridlington Road. A refreshments van was parked up in the lay-by offering tea, coffee and sandwiches but as between us we had no money on us we had to pass on this occasion. 

A dry Kelk Beck
The path we were following then took us north over the main road towards Kilham which was about two miles distant. We skirted the eastern side of a plantation which stood astride Kelk Beck. Before long the woodland petered out and we got a view of the Beck. The one difference here though between our earlier view of the beck and now was that at this point the beck was dry as a consequence of the low levels we'd seen earlier in the pond at Kilham.   The public footpath marked on the mad crossed the fields but it appeared in practice judging by the footprints that the route followed by all to avoid damage to crops was the field boundary marked by the bank top of the Beck.We continued to follow the course of the beck back to Kilham arriving there at the sunset turning the sky gold.
Sunset near Kilham

Our walk of nearly seven and a half miles miles had allowed us to take in three nice East Yorkshire Villages and see a fantastic part of our natural heritage. If doing this walk again when the days are longer I think we might have found time to enjoy the hospitality at the pubs along the way.