A 3 mile circular walk around the wooded Pennine valley of Hardcastle Crags, near Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire. Owned by the National Trust the valley comprises a beautiful shallow river, Hebden Water with steep wooded valley sides and you will have chance to discover lots of wildlife plus some industrial archaeology along the way. If you have children with you, you may wish to bring along crayons and paper as there are several engraved markers around the site, showing the various leaves and seeds in the woodland.
Hovingham and the Howardian Hills
Hovingham and the Howardian Hills
Distance: 6 miles
Duration: 2½ hours
Level of walk: Medium View Walks Key
Why you should do this walk…
This is a very pretty and quiet walk just off the usual tourist route. It starts from the quintessentially Yorkshire village of Hovingham and incorporates a variety of terrain with lovely views of the Howardian Hills and countryside beyond. The walk meanders through peaceful woods over green paths and on quiets roads and the fields surrounding Hovingham, with the added bonus of a dog-friendly pub when you reach the end of your walk.
What else you need to know How to get there – Hovingham is half-way between Malton and Helmsley on the B1257 road. From York take the A64 Scarborough road as far as Barton Hill then turn left initially following signs for Castle Howard. Continue on through Coneysthorpe before turning left on to the B1257 at Slingsby. An alternative route from York is via Strensall, Sheriff Hutton and Terrington South Bank. From Pickering, take the A169 road into Malton then follow the B1257 to Hovingham. By public transport; the 194 bus service from Malton to Helmsley operated by Stephenson’s runs through Hovingham.
Suggested map – OS Explorer 300, Howardian Hills & Malton.
Car park – free car parking is available at the village hall, off Main Street, or street parking in Hovingham.
Start – Malt Shovel public house on Main Street.
Length/time – 6 miles, takes around 2½ hours
Terrain/difficulty – MEDIUM, mostly on green, enclosed moorland paths. There is a small amount of road walking, along some very quiet roads.
Dog friendliness – there are just two stiles, a little road walking and cattle may be encountered, however there are plenty of opportunities for off-lead walking if for well-behaved dogs and paddling opportunities in the beck along the way on this quiet walk.
Food and drink – the Malt Shovel pub is dog-friendly and have a tiled area plus snug which your pooch is allowed in. The Hovingham Bakery & Spa Tearoom on Main Street has an outside seating area and a ford to cool down hot paws.
Public toilets – patrons may use the facilities in The Malt Shovel . Other interesting info: The pretty village of Hovingham is on the edge of the Howardian Hills an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which includes farmland, wooded rolling countryside, villages and historic houses with parkland. On the first Saturday of each month (expect January) the village has a lively and colourful market day from 10.30am to 2.00pm. It is also home to the impressive Hovingham Hall, built around 1760 by Thomas Worsley and has been home to the Worsley family for over 400 years.
- With the Malt Shovel on the left, and school opposite to the right, head through Hovingham along Main Street. Near the school is a dog-waste bin. Nearing the edge of the village just before the road bears left, cross over and head uphill along a path alongside a green area – this path meets the Terrington road. Cross the road and head along it for a short while using the grass verge.
- Following a blue arrow and sign for the Ebor Way and Terrington (3 miles), turn left along a hedge-lined track. The track bears right and slightly uphill as it heads towards South Wood. Don’t forget to turn round to enjoy the panoramic views of Hovingham and the surrounding hills available behind.
- Enter the woodland and stay on the track as it bears left into the Hovingham Estate. After passing a double bridleway marker on the left, continue towards a yellow way-marker on a big stump. Following the yellow arrow, leave the Ebor Way taking the grassy tree-lined path to the right. Keep ahead at the crossing of paths and continue downhill into the trees following another yellow way-marker. The path narrows as it heads downhill passing another yellow way-marker on its way to a large wooden gate.
- Pass through the way-marked gate and follow the grassy path straight ahead between two wire-and-post fences, uphill towards a farm. Just before reaching the 18th century barn at Moor House Farm in front, turn right along a track following the blue bridleway arrows. It is always sensible to put your dog on a lead when passing farms, especially when the track heads towards a road as this one does.
- Follow the track to the road, and then turn right along the grass verge for a short while. Just before the tree-line, cross the road and enter a field, following a public bridleway sign, with a blue arrow on to a rugged farm track. Follow the track downhill towards some trees and over a beck, then follow a blue marker and continue uphill alongside the edge of another field. At the end of the track, put your dog on the lead again and turn right following a yellow way-marker and signs for Hovingham (2 miles) along a quiet lane. Passing a series of signposts to the right, keep following the ones to Hovingham and proceed straight ahead.
- The track heads round to the right passing Thwaite’s Cottage, then to the left. After ignoring the path to Coulton, cross the beck over a stone bridge, then pass through a wooden kissing-gate on the right – following a white arrow and a sign for Hovingham (1½ miles). Keep to the path alongside the beck and enter the next field. This field may well contain livestock so be ready with your lead.
- Continue ahead keeping the beck to the right, and cross a footbridge into another field. Climb a stile (there is a large gap which most dogs will easily pass through) and keep ahead on the green path to a wooden way-marked gate. Walk around the end of the gate and continue to a road. With your dog on the lead, turn right and head along the road towards Hovingham. After a short while, cross the road to follow a yellow way-marker next to a white gate. Pass through the gate and head for Pickering Bridge – a very pretty and ornate method of crossing the beck, and head uphill towards a metal gate – look out for cattle here too. Pass through the gate and follow a wire-and-post fence towards a way-marked stile in the corner to the right. Smaller dogs will pass under this stile while larger breeds will probably bound straight over it. Climb the stile and continue ahead following the trees to a wooden footbridge.
- Cross the bridge and continue along the edge of a field with a wire-and-post fence and trees to the right. At the end of the field, turn left on to a gravel track for a short while, then turn right back onto the Ebor Way and follow the blue arrow back into Hovingham – passing a sports pitch and children’s play area. Head through a gate next to a dog-waste bin and head back into the village, passing a church and the cemetery on the way. Turn left to follow a beck before crossing a footbridge, which leads back to Main Street and the start of the walk near the Malt Shovel.
This walk is also on iFootpath (website and App) Hovingham and the Howardian Hills