Written by Maureen Robinson
Brompton-by-Sawdon lies in the valley of the River Derwent, midway between Scarborough and Pickering. To the north, the land rises steeply to the North York Moors. To the south, across the level Vale of Pickering, are the more gentle contours of the Yorkshire Wolds.
This village has been associated with the Cayley family for about four and a half centuries. In 1572 the lord of the manor was a Cayley and in All Saints Church are memorials to the Cayleys since that date. In 1661 William Cayley was created Baronet, but it’s Sir George Cayley, the 6th Baronet (1773-1857) who is most remembered.
He was a great aeronautical pioneer who designed and built flying machines – fore-runners of the aeroplane. Sir George lived and laboured at Brompton Hall (now a school). He conducted flying trials in Brompton Dale in 1853 – a dale just to the north of the A170.
All Saints Church is where the poet William Wordsworth married Mary Hutchinson of Gallows Hill Farm in 1802. The nearby lake and becks create a magical scene, and the site of Low Hall presents a spectacular display of snowdrops and aconites in February. Beauty in all seasons.
This delightful trail of about six miles follows country lanes throughout, and may be shortened as detailed. Walk, cycle or drive to appreciate the joys of this level route, and appreciate its historical features too.
Access from Scarborough is along the A170 via Ayton and Wykeham to enter Brompton and park in the vicinity of The Cayley Arms.
Start. From The Cayley Arms continue beside the A170 to find just ahead, a strange geometrically-angled building bearing a wall plaque.
Here, Sir George Cayley (father of aeronautics) pioneered his scientific aeronautical experiments. Here, the aeroplane was defined for the first time (c1799-1855). Peep through the windows, or with time to spare obtain keys from either the local shop or Brompton Hall School. It’s free!
Brompton Hall School is just beyond, and where Cayley lived. Cross the road with care to a recess in the bank which is the site of an ice house - the fore-runner of the refrigerator. It now displays a fine information board regarding Sir George Cayley, and is well worth reading. Then re-cross the road and continue to the first turning left named West Brow Road.
Bear right and left with the lane. Passing country cottages, stroll down the narrow lane between ivy-covered walls. Approaching a junction you’ll discover Low Hall set in splendid grounds [in February admire snowdrops and aconites, the harbingers of spring]. Lawns extend to the right as you follow its perimeter to the lane junction.
Continuing along Brompton Carr Lane you may observe the old station cottages to the left which are relics of the dismantled railway line.
Enjoy the level terrain of the Vale of Pickering, with the rolling chalk wolds to the left horizon.
Black Sike Lane is a bridleway off left, and beyond is the bungalow and Kings’ Head Farm. Continue until you reach the crossroads at Barker’s Lane (this provides an optional short return route to the A170).
Otherwise, keep straight ahead into Cross Lane by Snainton Ings to the next crossroads with Middle Lane (another short cut into Snainton). However, your route lies directly ahead to meet a road junction. Here, turn right up Foulbridge Lane.
Lovely open level views surround you, but following heavy rain this lane may be muddy. Entering Snainton, swing right with the lane past Station Farm and bungalows. At the road junction turn left, passing The Orchard (off right), and Pudding Lane (off left), to meet the A170 at the end of Station Road.
Cross the busy A170 with care and turn right along a good footpath to pass the Peacock Inn and shops etc. Snainton School and the village hall feature as your return route continues past Wydale Lane and speed limit signs. At a 30mph sign seek a turn off right along West Brow. Descend this short lane to the junction and turn left along Church Lane.
Don’t miss the Church of All Saints - a building of stone in the decorated and perpendicular styles. It’s here that William Wordsworth and Mary Hutchinson tied the knot on October 4, 1802.
Walk up the cobbled path to the fine oak door, reclaimed from the lake where it was cast by Cromwellian forces.
Admire the beautiful stained glass windows. Upon leaving the church turn left to view the peaceful lake beyond the walling.
At the end of Church Lane, cross to the village hall and bear left alongside Brompton and Sawdon Primary School dated AD1878.
Meeting the main road, The Cayley Arms is to your left.
Distance: Six miles of easy level walking.
Refreshment: The Cayley Arms, Brompton, Snainton village etc.
Anyone wishing to consult Walks’ booklets and other countryside archives, are invited to visit Scarborough’s Public Library.
Angela Kale is the officer with responsibility for the reference and local studies collection, and will be happy to assist.