Tuesday, 3 January 2012

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.

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