Roughly occupying an area south of the Vale of Pickering and north from the Humber Estuary and York and encased on either side by the North Sea and the Vale of York the Yorkshire Wolds is an area of rolling hills, wide views and beautiful unspoilt villages. I must admit to thoroughly enjoying the easy walking on the chalk escarpments, walking in which it is possible to look around and enjoy the views that seem to stretch until the sky takes over and walking which ends in an idyllic village pub.
The chalk is what makes the landscape unique, at least in the northern end of England, with a higher plateau resisting the effects of glaciation and creating deep valleys, often dry (due to the porous nature of the chalk) but also meaning that walks do more ascent and descent than I ever expected. Anyone walking the Wolds Way will certainly bear witness to this. Bizarrely the landscape has effected the way farmers use the land; animals to the bottom and crops to the top! Further west limestone starts to predominate with more woodland and the formation of a second spine of hills – the Howardian Hills. However the effect is the same, easy walking and great views.
Driffield and Malton are the largest of the towns in the area and they are worth a look around but I would focus on the villages, they are certainly what I enjoyed the most. It would be wrong to name check them all because I have only visited a relatively small number (Thixendale and Millington have stood out but in a highly competitive category!). The villages all have an air of freshness and tidiness that I have not always found in other areas but still retain a lot of character, particularly in some of the local country inns and popular tea shops.
Further south Market Weighton and Beverley is both lovely market town and really form the base for a number of excellent walks, tamer than further north but richer in history and things to visit as you walk. Old railway lines and canal tow paths make the walking easy, as do the number of long distance trails which criss cross the area.
Maybe it is simply because the area is ‘young’ in terms of tourism, the locals seem keen to show off their countryside and maybe it is simply because the area is so quiet. Move on to any of the paths and bridleways and it is unlikely you will see more than a few walkers all day..outnumbered often by farmers and certainly by their sheep and sometimes over friendly cattle!
There are many long distance footpaths in the area but the best and most interesting is the Yorkshire Wolds Way. Find out more by clicking here
Day walks are described below
Dry Valleys of Medieval Cottam. Near Driffield this pleasant walk takes in a medieval village & peaceful scenery
Thorpe Bassett Wold from North Grimston. Malton is part of the excellent views from the chalk escarpments
Sledmere House & Estate. A walk through the grounds and wider estate of this grand old house
Dry Valleys of Thixendale. Splendid walking and a lovely village make up an excellent day’s outing
Pocklington & the Wolds Way. Village of Millington is just one of the highlights of this varied walk
Grounds of Castle Howard. Enjoy the vast estate lands of this famous country house near Malton
Kirkham Abbey & the Derwent. Great variety of woodlands, riverside, attractive villages and the abbey ruins
Terrington & the Vale of Pickering. Farmland and woodland dominate the scene away from Terrington
Castle at Sheriff Hutton. A spectacular castle albeit in ruins and great views are the highlights of this Howardian walk.
Stonegrave & the Rye A gem of a walk with attractive riverside walking combining with great views from the higher lands
Coxwold & Beacon Banks . A walk through abbey country with great views from Beacon Bank
Other Things to do in…
Visit a gallery and view the excellent landscape photography of of Lucy Saggers, (owner of Ford End B & B in Ampleforth), at Cotton House in Helmsley or Gallery Beyond at Nunnington
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Places to Stay
Ford End B & B, Ampleforth, nr Helmsley
Basin Howe Farm Cottages, nr Pickering
Old Cobblers Cottage, North Dalton, near Driffield