Market Weighton to Londesborough - a Circular walk in the Yorkshire Wolds
Updated: Jan 25, 2021
This is a lovely 7 mile walk over easy terrain in the Eastern section of the Yorkshire Wolds. The Yorkshire Wolds is a relatively unknown part of Yorkshire to visitors compared to our National Parks – the Dales and North York Moors but it has a real charm and some stunning countryside. One of my fellow Blue Badge Yorkshire Guides, Steve Sutcliffe recommended the walk, so on a sunny Sunday my wife and I and our black lab Bronte decided to head out and explore.
The walk starts in Market Weighton, where there is parking and a public toilet at hand. Market Weighton is a small market town midway between Hull and York. There is some fine Georgian architecture in the town and the historic All Saints Parish Church parts of which date back to the Norman period.
Perhaps the most famous former resident of Market Weighton is William Bradley known as the Yorkshire Giant. Bradley was born in 1787 and is the tallest recorded British man whoever lived, having reached a height of 7ft 9 inches by the time he was 20. We will be covering William Bradley in a separate future blog, but Market Weighton now has a Giant Trail, a life size wooden statue and has held a Giant Festival and Community Day once a year to celebrate him.
We started by walking out of town a small way along the York Road until reaching a path on the right just past a row of houses.
The first stretch of the walk follows arable fields until we met the busy A614 road which was carefully crossed before heading along a drive towards Towthorpe Grange. The word Grange originates from monastic farms which were owned by local monasteries after being donated by landowners to speed their paths through purgatory back in medieval times.
We then followed a well signed path along the edge of a field until meeting another minor road which we walked up from about 20m before picking up another path on the right at a Lodge House for the Londesborough Hall.
The path heads through parkland and eventually reaches the village of Londesborough.
The orginal Londesborough Hall was a grand Elizabethan building which sadly was demolished in 1819 and rebuilt in Victorian times. The Hall was owned by The Dukes of Devonshire who also owned Chatsworth House but with mounting debts and many other grand houses, he decided the Hall was no longer needed. Apparently he regretted this and had a hunting lodge built on the site but soon sold this estate to George Hudson “the railway king” who in turn had financial difficulties and sold the estate to the Dennison Family in 1849 who built the Victorian house.
The Victorian Hall is privately owned now along with the estate lands but can just be made out from the parkland..
We walked into Londesborough village for our lunch outside the beautiful Grade 1 listed All Saints Church. The village is relatively small and is basically set out along a main street with lovely stone cottages some of which date back to the 1600’s. The Yorkshire Wolds way a long distance trail runs through the village.
After lunch we retraced our steps and picked up the Yorkshire Wolds Way crossing a footbridge in the park which crosses a fords between two lakes. We walked up hill to a farm road.
The road takes a sharp right but we took the path heading straight on. The path is well signed and at another road we continued underneath the old Market Weighton to Driffield railway line until we arrived at the village of Goodmanham.
The village of Goodmanham has Saxon origins and was mentioned by The Venerable Bede as being where the people of Godmund lived. It was an important settlement in Saxon times and was the location of a High Shrine – a great temple to Woden, Father of the Gods.
The shrine was destroyed by the High Priest Colfi after King Edwin of Northumbria had converted to Christianity in 627. The church of All Hallows now stands on or near the site of the original temple.
We walked a short distance up the high street before turning right along a narrow lane. We continued on this path with blackthorn bushes either side until we met an old railway track signed the George Hudson Way.
This stretch was easy walking and you pass a beautiful Poetry Bench (there are many along The Yorkshire Wolds Way) which mentioned the destroying of the Pagan shrine mentioned earlier in the article.
About half way along the track we came to an unusual sight of a tree with ribbons attached all over its branches. On closer inspection the tree was a marker for St.Helen’s Well. The tradition of tying ribbons to a tree dates from an old ritual where people believed it brought them good luck and good health by offering a portion of cloth.
St. Helen’s Well is the site of a natural spring which is thought to have been used by the Romans (and named after Emperor Constantine’s mother). We know it was a sacred place during the later Roman occupation of the area. The spring arises from a small cave and runs into a more recent triangular stone lined chamber.
From here it is just a short walk back to Market Weighton to end this loop walk at the Yorkshire Giant's statue. It was a great leisurely walk with some interesting places to stop and see. Well worth a visit especially if low level walking is your thing.
For a map of the walk - please follow the link below:
Great to see Welcome to Yorkshire feature this as one of their Walks of the Day on the Walkshire area of their website - https://blog.yorkshire.com/walking/market-weighton-to-londesborough-a-circular-walk-in-the-yorkshire-wolds/