Yorkshire Wolds Walk - Market Weighton
PUBLISHED: 00:00 10 September 2014 | UPDATED: 19:58 13 June 2016
Some will tell you the Wolds can never match the striking landscapes in Yorkshire's three national parks but that is to miss the point, as this delightful circuit proves. What they lack in drama these rolling chalk hills more than make up in charm and exquisite villages. Plus on this walk there are characters galore, including a giant, a king and a rather disgruntled duke.
It starts from the small green in front of the town hall of Market Weighton, where there is a statue of William Bradley, the Yorkshire Giant who was reputed to be England’s tallest man. He stood a towering 7ft 3ins and made a living as a fairground freak, for a while being paired with a local man of just three feet. A shop a few yards up the York road has a plaque on the outside wall bearing the imprint of his huge shoe.
Turn left along the York road and walk to the edge of the town. Immediately after the last house take a gate on the right signed Yorkshire Wolds Way to Londesborough. It crosses a series of fields and dikes before reaching the A163 road. Cross straight over and enter the access road of Towthorpe Grange, still following the Wolds Way. Pass in front of a line of cottages and carry on straight ahead past a Dutch barn and across a field to a gap in the trees ahead. Go through this and follow the path along the edge of more fields aiming towards the wooded hillside ahead.
When the path reaches a lane turn left for a hundred yards before taking a path on the right passing through a pair of imposing gateposts. The broad track slowly climbs the hill to reach a fork. Note this junction, which is part of the return route. For now carry on straight ahead up the track, passing the remains of Londesborough Old Hall, which was demolished by the then Duke of Devonshire in the 19th century and the stone used for buildings at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire. All that remains are some stone urns and deer shelters. The replacement New Hall was briefly owned by the Victorian ‘Railway King’, George Hudson, who at one time controlled more than a thousand miles of railway before his empire collapsed amid allegations of fraud.
The track passes through trees to reach a road by the entrance gates to the new Londesborough Hall. Turn left into unspoiled Londesborough village.
After exploring this charming village, which could only be improved by a pub, return to the junction by the entrance to the new hall and retrace your steps through the trees down to the junction noted earlier. This time turn left following the Wolds Way to Goodmanham. The path heads downhill and crosses a footbridge. Immediately afterwards where the track forks take the right hand branch, marked by a single post with an acorn sign and a yellow arrow.
The path drops down to cross the end of a small lake and climbs a field on the other side to emerge on a lane. Turn right, still following Wolds Way signs. At a sharp right hand bend continue straight ahead into the fields on a broad track, signed Wolds Way to again cross the A163 road to the Towthorpe Corner picnic site.
After a few strides take a farm track on the left marked Wolds Way. At the end of the first field the track turns sharply left and then drops down into a sunken track beside a wooded dike leading into the valley and then under a railway arch before climbing to Goodmanham.
At the church turn left and walk up out of the village for 100 yards to turn right along a country lane, still marked Wolds Way.
Carry on down to the bottom of the hill where a gate on the right leads onto an old railway track which carries the Wolds Way back to Market Weighton as well as forming part of the Hudson Way commemorating the former Railway King.
Along the way it passes St Helen’s Well, a natural spring which was considered sacred even before the Romans arrived in these parts. It one of several ‘clootie’ or votive wells scattered across the country where since Pagan times believers have left offerings to ask for divine help. Today the trees around the well are decorated with ribbons, Christian crosses, prayers and requests for family and friends to recover from illnesses, a watch, earphones, dolls clothing, figurines jewellery and even Christmas baubles.
When the track reaches a children’s play area in Market Weighton, curl round leftwards behind it, aiming for the tower of All Saints Church. When you reach it turn left to the main road and the town hall.
Start/finish: Market Weighton
Time: 4 leisurely hours
Parking: Car parks or on-street in town centre near All Saints Church
Refreshments: Pub in Goodmanham, plenty of choice in Market Weighton
Map: OS Explorer 294 Market Weighton and Yorkshire Wolds Central