East Yorkshire Walk - Skidby Mill, Beverley
00:16 14 December 2011
As the nights pull in and the shortest day of the year looms walkers need to keep half an eye on the clock to make sure they are not caught out by darkness. This gentle half day ramble is ideal for the brief hours of mid-winter daylight and can even be combined with a bit of Christmas shopping in historic Beverley or Hull just up the road.
It starts from one of Yorkshires most striking landmarks, the black and white five storey tower of Skidby Mill, crowned with its four 40ft sails. The present mill was built in 1821 but records show one in the village since at least the 14th century. Today it is the only fully-working windmill in the East Riding and still produces its own wholewheat flour. It is open to the public on certain days and is well worth visiting. Details of opening times are on eastriding.gov.uk.
From the car park by the windmill go through a wooden gate and walk towards the mill buildings. Just before reaching them take a kissing gate on the left and follow the enclosed path and then carry on across the edge of two fields to reach a small clump of trees on Gallows Hill. This is reputedly where sheep rustlers were hanged in centuries past but these days the copse encloses a poignant memorial to a more recent death. Away to the left the towers of the Humber Bridge peer over the tree tops.
After another couple of hundred yards at a junction of paths turn right towards the village.
At the road turn right and carry on to a junction with the main road. Here turn left and at the brow of the hill take the second of two footpaths on the right. This jinks around field edges though always maintaining the same general direction until it reaches a narrow lane opposite the site of the vanished house of Risby where Henry VIII was one entertained. Today all that remains of the house and a more elaborate one which replaced it are wthe earthworks and garden terraces.
Turn left along the lane for about a quarter of a mile before taking a bridleway on the right which eventually become metalled and leads unerringly to Walkington. When you reach the village turn right along a lane to All Hallows Church. Our return route continues along the broad path straight ahead running along the upper edge of the churchyard. However it is worth taking a brief detour through the churchyard to explore this attractive village, which like so many on the Wolds, is blessed with an attractive pond as well as several pubs for a mid-way break.
Back on the path by the churchyard follow it briefly and then take an enclosed path on the right, signed Beverley 20. This is not a distance marker but indicates the route of a popular local challenge walk. Carry on along the track to a gate where it swings rightwards past Walkington Plantation and then joins another track at a gate. Turn right towards the cottages to reach the metalled farm road used on the outward leg and turn left.
By the entrance to the next farm take the signed public footpath on the left and follow it diagonally across the field to where, in the opposite corner, it joins another track. Take this leftwards as it rises beside the woodland. Continue onwards along several field boundaries until it reaches a road.
Turn right for 100 yards until a footpath on the right heads back into the fields towards Fishpond Wood, whose edge it clings to all the way to the Risby road.
Cross the road and take the bridleway opposite. As you top the rise the sails of Skidby Mill come into view ahead.
The path weaves around field boundaries until, with Skidby village in sight, a finger post points the way down into a sunken way through the woods which provides an all-too-brief contrast to the wide open country which has gone before.
Where it emerges into a field ignore the curling farm track and instead keep to a banking on the right which leads uphill to a gate leading out to Skidby Church. Turn left through the village until a road on the right at the edge of the village is signed to the mill.
Start/finish: Skidby Mill, near Beverley
Distance: 8 miles/13km
Time: 4 hours
Terrain: Field paths and farm tracks
Map: OS Explorer 293 Kingston upon Hull and Beverley
Refreshments: Pubs in Skidby and Walkington, plenty of choice in Beverley