A tour of the Marishes

The picturesque thatched cottage by the stream in Thornton-le-Dale.
The picturesque thatched cottage by the stream in Thornton-le-Dale.

Written by Maureen Robinson

The level, lowlands of the Marishes, drained by roadside ditches, present a complete change of scenery when one leaves the A170 in favour of remote country lanes.

Leaving Scarborough, head west along the A170 Pickering and Thirsk road. Entering East Ayton, cross the road-bridge spanning the River Derwent, into West Ayton. Proceed through Wykeham and Brompton, and along Snainton’s High Street with the well-known Peacock Inn to your right. Beyond a garage, Costcutter and fire station (to let), turn left on the B1258 passing The Coachman to your right.

Veering left along a straight road, you’ll be aware of the low-lying land creating wet lanes at times. Bear briefly right and then left to the Marishes, on a narrow lane hedged either side.

Whitehall Farm features to the left, and rounding the bend, Crake Hall is viewed to the right. A succession of farms and properties are noted as you traverse agricultural land. These include Derwent House; Skelton Wath Farm; Newstead Grange Farm and Newstead Grange.

Crossing the road-bridge in winter look out for migrant birds.

We identified flocks of fieldfares and redwings from Scandinavia.

Beyond is Selleybridge Farm, with a ‘fish’ sign to your right which indicates ‘fishing’. Look out for Bacon Farm, and a white railway cottage, soon observed to your right. Viaduct House and Swallow Farm, along with Riggs Farm and White House Farm may also be noted before a distant church spire comes into view. The School House Hotel dated 1891 is now Hope Cottage, seen as you enter Low Marishes. The church to your left with an unusual spire, is where my husband Michael’s mother was confirmed. Go straight ahead, and Wath Hall Farm is to the left before you meet a road junction. Here, turn right along the A169, and Pickering is 4.5 miles ahead.

The Golden Square viewed on the left is a farming centre. ‘The Pottery’ is signed as a turning off right, should you wish to visit this site, whilst High Marishes is just a quarter of a mile ahead.

In High Marishes, a few properties front the roadside such as Hawthorn Cottage, and Wray House Farm before the old railway platform is glimpsed.

Cross the bridge spanning the beck, and Summer Tree Cottage along with Holiday Cottages are found as you enter Thornton-le-Dale. With the railway station off right, also observe the roadside stream as it accompanies your route, punctuated by little bridges linking the lane to properties.

Lakeside toilets and car park are centrally situated in Thornton-le-Dale as you approach the village green. Along with shops and galleries I’m sure you’ll welcome Balderson’s ices. Yes – even in mid-winter!

Passing almshouses and The Hall, as you cross the bridge you’ll almost certainly admire the picturesque thatched cottage beside the stream.

Climbing out of the village up Church Hill, you’ll see the church prominently sited to the left elevation.

Continue along the main road to enter Wilton, and turning right you’ll observe beyond the road island, St George’s Church. It’s well worth taking a little stroll to savour the superb views and appreciate more of St George’s Church.

Resuming your drive by several properties, swing right and you’re facing the Yorkshire Wolds. The twisting lane before you leads to Lane End Farm. Here, turn left along a very narrow lane which snakes left and right and is also pitted with pot-holes!

Seek to your left beyond the hedging, railway coaches which have been re-born as holiday homes!

Meeting the road, cut across into Penniston Lane as signed to Ebberston, and Scarborough is 12 miles distant.

Shortly approaching a nursery to your right, you’ll recognise the Plant Sales centre as it’s sheltered by tall conifers.

Arriving at the cross-road, turn left to Ebberston, half a mile. A stream follows the roadside through this pretty village of stone-built properties and by a monument celebrating the year 2000. Ascend the lane to pass the Methodist Church, and reaching the main road, turn right from Cliff House Holiday Cottages. The A170 returns you to Scarborough, 10 miles hence.

Distance: Approximately 39 miles.