Written by Maureen Robinson
Springtime means daffodil time, and though Farndale is a treasure, you should seek wild daffodils along this glorious alternative route.
Cropton lies just north-west of Pickering off the A170 from Wrelton. Just follow signs from Wrelton indicating about two miles to Cropton village to the New Inn, from where this 4.5mile walk begins. Enjoy a pint at the inn, which has its own brewery, or a meal before departure. You may even have the chance to see, hear and smell the award-winning beers brewed here.
Woodland and meadowland feature, along with Appleton Mill Farm beside the stunning River Seven; a charcoal-burning site, and charming village of Lower Askew!
Parking at the New Inn, enables you to dine after your walk prior to an optional extra exploration of Cropton village itself.
Leaving the New Inn, turn right and discover almost immediately off right, a public bridleway leading along Bull Ing Lane, with a disused limestone quarry off to the right.
Deep hollows like this are a feature of the southern edge of Cropton, as the village was noted for limestone quarrying. For centuries limestone was kiln-burned and carried north over the moors for agricultural use.
Remain on the hedged track to pass a cottage, and continue along a little further (about 175 yards), to seek a footpath sign to your right. Here, leave the bridleway and descend a narrower public footpath fringed by trees, and bear left into the valley. Pass a yellow waymarker arrow, and shortly meet a cross-path. Turn left to enter a hand-gate and public bridleway along a broad, leafy track. Pass between two gate posts and seek to the left bank, a three-fingered post. With Sinnington to the south, your route is to the right as signed to Appleton-le-Moor.
So - turn right along the broad green belt towards the River Seven.
Hedging is to your right, and the scene is reminiscent of a large amphitheatre surrounded by trees. Reaching the river bank, turn left to enter a hand-gate, and cross a fine, wooden footbridge over the river. Keep left around the edge of a field with evidence of felled timber and charcoal-burning.
Reaching a corner gate to a lane and Appleton Mill Farm, ignore it. Instead, continue alongside the charcoal-burning site and field, with hedging to your left. The farm is now behind you.
Walk alongside the wooded slopes, adorned with spring flowers. Keep glancing up the hillside where truly wild daffodils are its crowning glory. On the lower slopes, where the starry white flowers of wild garlic or ramsons ‘perfume’ the air, crush a leaf or nibble a piece and you’ll be left in no doubt that it’s wild garlic!
Continue along the edge of the field, and beyond a gatepost, follow a second field for several paces only, as a grassy track begins to ascend from the field’s edge. Seek immediately, a forking off right along a footpath edged with brambles, and a steep drop to the river! Keep dogs and children leashed! Wandering between trees and stumps you may observe a pond in the lower field corner. It’s more concealed when leaves unfold.
Your path climbs through the wood, as you keep to the path further right and leave by a waymarked gate into a field. The pleasant, open field is beautifully hedged and trimmed to your right. In the far corner, leave by a waymarked gate and cross the next field, with Scarth Wood viewed to your left. A gate and stile provide access to the lane. Turn right over the road-bridge and admire small waterfalls to either side.
Passing a farm on the corner of Lower Askew’s village, turn right as indicated: Cropton 1.25 miles. The lovely lane graced by dry stone-walling and attractive hedging skirts sheep-pasture and pony paddock, as it crosses a seasonal road-bridge named Seven Bridge.
Beyond Larchwood House, and Beckhouse Farm, with its millstone and trough, is a road junction. Turning right to Cropton, cross a third bridge - Cropton Bridge spanning Cropton Beck, and wind your way up the hill to re-enter Cropton.
Here, at the south-west end of the village, is a triangular green at the junction of roads to Wrelton, Rosedale and Newton-on-Rawcliffe. There are tremendous views towards the moors west of Rosedale. It’s a popular resting place beneath the spreading chestnut tree, with the village pump close by.
From this point, forking right will return you to the New Inn. To extend your walk and explore Cropton village, fork left along its one, broad street. The attractive houses are mainly stone-built with red pantiles. Many were built in the 18th and 19th centuries from earlier cruck houses and long houses.
See the chapel and village hall opposite; the well, and the church on the outskirts. Go down a public footpath just beyond the church to discover a fine information board.
Returning to the village, admiring the country gardens, seek butterflies, which seem to be welcoming warmer days.
All too soon, your day’s outing draws to a close - unless the New Inn beckons!
Distance: 4.5 miles approximately.
Refreshment: The New Inn, Cropton.
NB A long 1:8 hill from Lower Askew back into Cropton!