by Maureen Robinson
North Yorkshire has diverse scenery, and this week’s scenic drive heads south to the Yorkshire Wolds. Enjoy the open countryside; pretty villages; Foxholes, where the last bustard was shot; Wold Newton, and the site where a meteorite fell; glimpses of the elusive Gypsey Race; Hunmanby’s pinfold and lock-up, along with interesting churches and local history.
Taking the A170 Thirsk road to Seamer roundabout, turn left along the B1261 through Seamer village. St Martin’s Church features off right where there used to be a lake or ‘mere’ left after the Ice Age.
At the roundabout turn right as signed York A64. Just ahead is Staxton roundabout. Turn right and enter Ryedale. Traffic lights are reached near the Hare and Hounds. Here, go left up Staxton Hill. This steep hill rapidly gains height to provide a fantastic panorama from the summit. I suggest you park in the car park to your right and take time to identify landmarks. Toilets are provided here.
Continue past the Wolds Gallery, or maybe visit this centre and take refreshment. Your route now takes you two miles to Foxholes, noted as being the last location in England for the now extinct bird named a bustard. A stuffed specimen is stored at Wood End Museum.
Efforts are being made to re-introduce this species elsewhere.
Reaching crossroads, turn left to Wold Newton. This hedged lane surrounded by fields is prone to flooding. Just a field away to your right you may discern the elusive Gypsey Race. Keeping towards Wold Newton, a mile away, seek to your right a monument. This is best seen from Westfield Farm. Gaze due south towards distant trees. With binoculars you’ll see it’s brick-built with a spire-like apex, set proudly in a field near the Wold Cottage. It was erected to mark the landing site of a gigantic meteorite weighing 56 pounds. In 1795 it hit the ground with such force that it penetrated 30cm (a foot) into the earth!
Entering Wold Newton, the post office and gleaming white Anvil Arms overlook the village green and pond with wildfowl.
Cross the road to The Anvil Arms into Bridlington Road. Go round the bend and swing right to Burton Fleming. Turn left to Burton Fleming, one mile. With the Gypsey Race to be found to your left, cross the culvert, and its flow continues to the right. Entering Burton Fleming, with its green verges, facing the Burton Arms go left past a post office. An attractive village, with white painted houses and a memorial cross on the grassed area in front of St Cuthbert’s Church creates a focal point. Keeping the church and brick walling to the left, fork right and discover an oasis of tranquillity. A farm shop and tea room overlook a mere which is overhung by a weeping willow, dabbling ducks await any tasty morsels! The perfect place for refreshment.
Passing several bungalows, follow the road to Hunmanby, and reaching a junction turn right as signed, ‘Hunmanby half a mile’. A gentle descent along New Road, and you reach the foot of the hill.
Turn left by Hunmanby Follies - luxury holiday cottages. Just beyond, seek Sands Lane off right. Drive along by a row of bungalows and over the level crossing past The Railway Tavern. Next, turn left along Sheepdyke Lane. Pass beneath the bridge, and straight ahead on the right corner you’ll find Pinfold Green where one’s attention is focused on the pinfold, built of cobbles from the shore. Here would be impounded straying cattle. Adjacent to it is the lock-up, dated 1834. Sometimes known as the Black Hole, it was used most frequently at annual fairs and Martinmas following disorderly scenes. It has separate cells for men and women offenders.
Halt here for a moment and ponder the name Hunmanby. It’s considered to mean, ‘The Farmstead of the Houndsmen’. During early times wolves infested the Wolds, and maybe hounds were kept here for hunting them down!
Leaving the pinfold, turn left past the Horseshoe Inn, and continue along Stonegate by the community centre. Ascend to a prominent telephone kiosk and proceed towards the A64. Go straight on at a mini-roundabout as signed: Malton 21 miles.
Descend by way of Spellhouse Wood, with tremendous views extending across the vale of Pickering. Meeting the road turn left as signed: Malton 18 miles. Entering Folkton turn right into pretty Folkton village.
With a real olde worlde atmosphere, its church almost beckons you to enter. White painted farms and cottages flank the lane as you slowly ‘cruise’ along to cross the level, wind-swept Carrs. Cattle graze the level pastures, and molehills erupt from the moist earth!
With only two miles to Cayton, savour every moment, noting ‘Playdale’ signed off right - a fantastic day out for the family in all weathers! First of note is Cayton Carr Kennels and Cattery before the approach to Playdale Farm. Over the level crossing is Appletree Cottage Cattery. Enter Cayton with its extensive new housing development. Meeting the main road, turn left and immediately right by Cayton’s Jubilee Hall. Proceed up Mill Lane and stop to admire the handsome white-painted mill to the left.
Reaching Browns and Cliff Farm at Cayton Bay, turn left at the roundabout along the A165. Another four miles returns you to Scarborough. A great start to the New Year 2014.
*Do take binoculars to view special features.
Distance: 33 miles approximately.
Refreshment: Plenty of village inns, cafes and fish and chips en route.