Huggate and Dry Valleys Distance: 6 miles Duration: 3 hours Level of walk: Medium Check latest weather Why you should do this walk… A circular walk, of about 6 miles, from Huggate that passes through dry valleys created around 18,000 years ago at the end of the Ice Age. These valleys, known locally as dales,…
Kirkham Priory and along the River Derwent
Distance: 5 miles
Duration: 2 ½ hours
Level of walk: MediumView Walks Key
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If you want a picturesque start to a walk, you can’t get much better than this one! Starting at the majestic ruins of Kirkham Priory next to the River Derwent, the route follows woodland and open paths through the pretty Howardian Hills before returning along the riverbank. The walk offers you and your pooch a bit of a climb to get the blood pumping, as well as the chance for a paddle and a good romp in the fields and along the path by the river. Views are plentiful amid the peace and quiet, with clear easy to follow paths throughout.What else you need to knowHow to get there – turn off the A64 York to Scarborough road at Whitwell-on-the-Hill, and follow the road downhill to the railway level crossing. After crossing the tracks and the river, park in the small car park next to Kirkham Priory.
Suggested map – OS Explorer Map 300 Howardian Hills & Malton
Car park – Kirkham Priory (free)
Start – Kirkham Priory car park
Length/time – 5 miles, takes up to 2½ hours
Terrain/difficulty – MEDIUM, some climbing early on but after that the going is mostly on green paths through fields or quiet farm tracks and roads. Duckboards are provided on some of the riverside sections. Can be quite muddy in parts especially following wet weather!
Dog friendliness – no stiles and a dog waste bin is provided at the edge of the car park at the start of the walk. English Heritage’s Kirkham Priory is dog-friendly. The walk offers plenty of opportunities for well- behaved dogs to swim and be off-lead safely.
Food and drink – the dog-friendly Stone Trough Inn is just a few hundred yards further down the road – see Directories for details. As with most English Heritage sites, Kirkham Priory permits dogs if on a lead and offers a variety of refreshments.
Public toilets – toilets for patrons of Kirkham Priory.
Other interesting info:
The Augustinian Kirkham Priory was founded in the 1120s by the same man that built Rievaulx Abbey – Walter l’Espec, Lord of Helmsley. The Priory is now a Grade-1 listed building and is maintained and promoted by English Heritage.
The area was visited by Winston Churchill when the D-Day landing vehicles were being tested here.
- From the car park head back along the road towards the bridge over the river and the railway level crossing. After crossing line, continue along the road for a short distance before turning left through a wooden gate at a public footpath sign. Keep to the obvious path uphill through the woods before bearing right following two yellow way-marker arrows. The path continues uphill with a wire and post fence to the left.
- On leaving the tree line, head right along a short and level path to a road. Turn left onto the quiet road for a very short distance before turning left again – this time following a public footpath sign by a wide metal gate leading to a clear green track.
- Pass through, or around (!) the gate and follow the track along the edge of a field while taking in the great views of the Howardian Hills. Passing a disused old way-marked stile to the left, keep ahead as the path enters a wooded area – where even with trees on either side, it remains wide and clear. At another large metal gate, enter a field and immediately follow the way-markers 90-degrees to the right before following the perimeter of the field to the left – there maybe cattle in this area so be prepared with the lead!
- The grassy path heads downhill through the open field, making its way to the lane running to Oakcliffe Farm – visible on the left. All around are splendid views of the surrounding countryside with the river in the distance. Continue along the lane away from the farm, passing over a cattle grid, which can easily be walked around. At the end of the lane, cross another cattle grid and turn left onto Rider’s Lane – a quiet tarmacked road that heads towards the railway line.
- At Howsham Gates, use the two metal kissing gates on the right to cross the railway line and pass by the signal box on the left. Continue ahead past the old station house and a couple of stone cottages, to a public footpath sign on the right pointing left across the field towards some trees. The path – marked by a row of white-topped wooden posts passes through two wooden gates, and then continues ahead using a footbridge to cross a beck before passing to the right of a telegraph pole towards a way-marked wooden gate. The ground in this area can be boggy but it is easily avoided by taking a slight detour left or right after crossing the footbridge.
- Pass through the gate and turn left onto the path alongside the River Derwent – where most dogs will be perfectly fine off the lead. The path follows the river all the way back to Kirkham over a mixture of woodland and green paths. There are several footbridges, all of which were easily mastered by Izzy and parts of the path are along wooden duckboards. The river is very close at times and some dogs may fancy a paddle or a swim!
- Eventually the ruins of Kirkham Priory come into view again on the opposite bank of the river near a weir. After passing through a small wooded area, the path leads through a gate into a field with the stone bridge over the river in sight ahead. At the far end of the field, pass through a gate back onto the road and head back across the river to the car park.
This walk is also available on the iFootpath web – Kirkham Priory and the River Derwent