Walk along The Yorkshire Wolds Way from Wintringham
After deciding to go out for a day’s walking with my old mate Wardy, we decided for a change to visit The Yorkshire Wolds. Even though the drive to get to this often overlooked part of Yorkshire was further than when I venture into the Dales or Pennine Moors, the Wolds is a beautiful part of Yorkshire with its own distinctive character with chalk uplands, lush agriculture, woodland and dry valleys.
After googling walks in the area we found a great little route from Wintringham on the Yorkshire Wolds Way website of about 9 miles with the warning “this is one of the steepest parts of the trail but the climb is well worth it for panoramic views”. With the mantra of “no pain, no gain” we decided to give it a go.
We parked up in a lay by opposite Wintringham Church marked as parking on the map (see link at end of blog).
From the parking spot we walked along the road before picking up a sign marked with a carved acorn denoting The Yorkshire Wolds Way and taking a path along a field into woodland.
Part way through the wood, the track way continued but a sign showed a path up the hill. We had only been going about 15 minutes before we had to make this ascent and it was way steeper than we had anticipated. The picture below is from about three quarters of the way up.
Where the path levels out we soon met a hand carved red fence and gate in thick oak which we proceeded through to stumble on an artwork.
This spot along Knapton Brow had so much of interest - I thought it’s worth mentioning some of the things here.
Firstly, the views were amazing. With good visibility we had a great vista over the Vale of Pickering and to the North York Moors on the horizon.
The artwork sitting on top of the valley edge was called “Enclosure Rights” and was produced by Jony Easterby, drawing on the archaeological importance of the area. The artwork consists of a new chalk path, edged with split oak posts leading up to a raised platform over-looking a dew pond.
There are also a number of wooden carved oak figures known as “The Guardian Warriors”, based on a number of tiny carved chalk warriors found in the nearby Derwent Valley.
If you want to know where they are at - What 3 words: Focal.Valued.Vans
But the Dew Pond is an interesting feature too and there are a lot of these across The Yorkshire Wolds. Basically, they are artificial ponds created in areas where a natural supply of surface water is not available. The chalk uplands of the Wolds are permeable, so water sinks into the chalk rather than staying on the surface. These ponds are often dug out and lined with clay to help retain the water.
As well as for livestock they also create corridors for other wildlife including amphibians and reptiles. Whilst they are called dew ponds, with the aim of collecting dew, they are actually filled mainly by rainwater.
However this one was filled, my lack lab Bronte enjoyed a cooling dip after our earlier climb.
During the construction of the pond at the Knapton Brow site, the remnants of a hilltop enclosure was found dating back to the late Bronze Age/early Iron Age. Whilst no evidence of settlement remains the original defensive structures can be seen along an earthwork
After taking in the views, the path proceeds for 100m along the old earthwork, a raised section of path between bushes with ditches either side which looked like an old railway track but was obviously thousands of years older than the railways.
From here we passed through Abbey Plantation Woods and continued along The Yorkshire Wolds Way along the ridge on the valley side, with stunning views along the next couple of miles.
Part way along the track at West Heslerton Brow, we found an unusual bench with curved planks and a poem carved into the timber. This is one of six benches along The Yorkshire Wolds Way which are part of the Wander Secret Art project and each bench features a different poem relating to the area.
The words on the bench are:
“Hazel Tun, Heslerton - the old sounds shift as they settle new mouths along spring line, marsh edge, main road. Parisi, Roman, Saxon, you - who is from here, who takes the path from spring to shrine, from car to here, voices flittering on the breeze?”
We stopped here for a mid-morning pork pie, to help take us through to lunch before continuing to Manor Wold Farm where three wooden camping pods had stunning views over the Vale.
We left the Wolds Way here turning right and walking along a path along fertile fields and over East Heslerton Wold to meet a road. Turning right we walked along the road for a few hundred meters before taking a path past Whin Moor Farm descending to another road.
The dry chalk valleys in the Wolds are a thing of beauty and look like they have been hand sculpted into the landscape, but in reality were formed by glacial meltwater from the last ice age carving through the chalk.
We crossed another quiet road and onto a path across more fields. The sun was out and we decided to stop and eat our pack ups.
Sitting here we spotted a roe deer in the next field, who looked over at us from a distance before deciding he wanted a closer look. He trotted over and got to about 10m away before he realised I wasn’t going to share my sandwich and dashed off with this distinctive white rear bounding over the winter wheat.
After lunch we picked up a narrow path lined with bushes either side which brought us down to a main road. Looking directly across the road there was a good view of the start of Newton Dale.
From here the last mile and a half was along the main road back into Wintringham. It is a shame they could not agree with the landowner for a path along the inside of the oil seed rape (or canola to my American friends) field to our left , but there was not a huge amount of traffic on the road so we felt reasonably safe.
Eventually we saw the spire of Wintringham Church and the village sign, returning to the lay by where we had parked our cars. As is my Covid walk tradition a cool bag with a cold can of beer awaited our return.
This is a great days walk, which gets the big climb out of the way early. The reward for the climb is a day of big sky views and stunning scenery.
If you are interested in trying the walk yourself – the route map can be found on this link: