Enjoy the wide vistas around Suffield and Hackness

The road out of Hackness towards Suffield
The road out of Hackness towards Suffield

by Maureen Robinson

Forget the gym and step-aerobics, when you embark on this 5.5 mile route!

Enjoy the great outdoors, wide vistas, fresh air and interesting features along with wildlife glimpsed in passing.

Access to the starting point of Suffield is by private transport only. From Scarborough, take the A171 Scalby road as far as the public library in Newby, turning left along Hackness Road by the Rosette. At the far end of this road turn right, go over the road-bridge and keep to the left of Scalby’s village green up Hay Brow.

Reaching a road junction, a sign indicates Silpho 3 miles, Harwood Dale 4.5 miles. Halt! Here is your departure point near a house bearing an advert for sales which make good gifts! How about lemon curd £3 and homemade cordials £4? Food for thought upon your return, maybe.

Start from the road junction, heading as signed towards Silpho. Keep to the right grassed verge and take care particularly on the bends.

Swang Road leads directly by moorland and scrub to your right, with golden gorse giving a sunny glow even on dull days!

A private, rough road off left is viewed to Thirlsey Farm and cottage, but keep to the long, straight marching route lined by trees, as far as the road junction and Turkey Carpet.

At Turkey Carpet turn left, heading south-west to Silpho.

The scenery so far has little to offer, but rest assured, the best awaits you.

Passing North Farm, enter Silpho with its attractive country cottages, tall water tower to the left, and the old chapel beyond which is opposite a dew pond.

Leaving Silpho, as you descend Kirkgate the views become most admirable. The trimmed hedges to the left are immaculate, and as you follow the zigzags in the road you discover to the right Bell Head car park. Here’s a pleasant spot to rest and do a little bird-watching - if you’re lucky. People often park cars here and scatter crumbs for the wildlife.

Beyond the car park are sharp, hair-pin bends left, right and left again dropping steeply into Hackness village.

Hackness is a little gem, with valleys and woodlands radiating like fingers from the palm of a hand.

Turning left, I suggest you allow plenty of time to fully explore this lovely village within the North York Moors National Park. According to the 2011 UK Census, Hackness parish had a population of 221 - an increase on the 2001 Census figure of 125.

Hackness has a long and fascinating history. In 680 a nunnery was founded here as an outpost of Whitby Abbey.

The church of St Peter is a Grade I listed building. Parts of the present church date from the refounding of the abbey in the 11th century. It has fragments of a high cross dating from the late eighth or early ninth century. The fragments preserve parts of a Latin prayer for Saint Aethelburn and an illegible inscription apparently in the runic alphabet.

Lady Margaret Hoby (1571-1633) inherited Hackness estate in 1591. Her journal is said to be the earliest diary kept by an English woman.

Sir Thomas Posthumous Hoby (1566-1640) was lord of the manor and a possible inspiration for Shakespeare’s Malvolio in Twelfth Night.

Hackness Hall and its landscaped gardens were created in the 1790s. The house is a Grade I listed building designed by Peter Atkinson c1795. It was commissioned by Sir Richard Van den Bempde-Johnstone, who had inherited the estate through his mother. In 1810 a new entrance was added. Fire damage in 1910 was restored under the direction of Walter Brierley.

Did you know that Scarborough’s Rotunda Museum, which opened in 1829 was made from sandstone quarried at Hackness?

In the 1820s the geologist William Smith was given a job on the Hackness estate by Sir John Johnstone, a keen amateur naturalist. Smith had long dreamt of having a museum of geology.

Johnstone was able to raise money for building the Rotunda Museum.

Matthew Noble (1818-1876) was the sculptor who did the bust of William Smith who was employed at Hackness Hall.

Continue your walk through enchanting scenery, ascending to the village of Suffield and bearing left to return to your starting point, and possible purchases.

Distance: 5.5 miles.

Refreshments: Take a picnic to enjoy in Hackness.