by Maureen Robinson
This glorious scenic drive of about 20 miles may be short, but it will completely fill your day should you devote time to viewing the gems suggested en route. Magical Hackness, the Sea Cut, bird-feeding station, Forge Valley’s board-walk, Old Man’s Mouth, Ayton’s quarries and castle remains, the Mill and River Derwent, Betton Farm Visitor Centre, Irton Garden Centre, and Irton village with its waterworks are just a few highlights. Also, there are plenty of refreshments stops!
Leaving Scarborough or Falsgrave, take the A171 Scalby Road towards Whitby. Passing Newby and Scalby Library, turn immediately left at the Rosette Inn. At the far road junction turn right to Hackness, crossing the Sea Cut to Scalby’s village green, and continuing up Hay Brow and a long steep hill to Suffield.
From Suffield it’s all downhill to Hackness – 1.5 miles of paradise!
Drive slowly to appreciate the stunning beauty of this valley. Beautiful beech hedging screens a section of Hackness Hall and grounds. The fine Georgian manor house is the home of Lord Derwent and is private. Hackness Lake marks the site of St Hilda’s monastery. Fish would have been bred as a source of food for the nuns and monks. St Peter’s Church, Hackness, has a 12th century tower and spire, and 15th century chancel. There is a Saxon cross and early 16th century font cover of interest too. The church and village school overlook a guttered stream, easily passed by unnoticed. This stream provided clean drinking water for the locals before piped water supplies.
Crossing the road bridge, swing left and reach a road junction. To your right is Red House with a red door. It faces the village hall, and is a fine Georgian manor house constructed of exquisite local limestone. Turn left from the village hall as signed to Forge Valley and Ayton – 4 miles. Mill Farm looks onto sheep pasture and just ahead is a turning off to the village of Wrench Green, but please don’t deviate.
Bends are negotiated before the Everley Country House Cafe welcomes you! More bends lead to Mowthorpe Farm and the road-bridge over the Sea Cut. From here, there’s good level walking along the banks of this man-made channel which eventually flows into the North Sea at Scalby Ness, just north of Scarborough.
If walking lacks appeal, drive on to pass three bungalows off left near Hazel Head. Keep straight forward to seek the Bird Watchers’ car park to your right, with bird tables and nest boxes, and excellent bird identification board. Using the car as a hide, observe five species of the tit family, nuthatch, tree creeper, woodpecker, chaffinch, blackbird, robin, wood pigeon, and pheasant etc. Grey squirrels may entertain their audience too with acrobatic skills! Allow maybe an hour for birds to visit the various food tables.
As the road levels, seek a car park to your right. This has a bridge giving access to a beautiful level board-walk alongside the River Derwent, with its rich array of wild flowers and wildlife.
Then, just past the car park to your left, is the Old Man’s Mouth of gushing water into a stone trough.
Continue alongside Wallis’s Quarry and Seave Gate Gill, with car park and information board, to ascend from Forge Valley.
Passing ‘Woodend’, you’ll see East Ayton Lodge Hotel. Close by is Castle Lane. From this point onwards are marvellous views of Ayton Castle’s remains. This castle guards the southern entrance to Forge Valley. The tower dates back to 1390 and was built by Ralph Eure. Stone from the castle was used to rebuild the bridge over the River Derwent. There’s a lovely walk to the castle from Ayton’s library.
Reaching the main road, turn left to cross the stone road-bridge, which divides East Ayton from West Ayton. Then turn immediately right to cross the road into Yedmandale Road.
From Yedmandale Road, go right along Mill Lane to view the mill in the corner.
Proceed with the river to your left and recline beneath willows on the green and feed the ducks. Leaving Mill Lane, turn left and re-cross the stone bridge into East Ayton with plenty of refreshments here.
Passing the church, take the A170 towards Scarborough. Scarcely half a mile ahead you’ll discover Betton Honey Farm to your right. A great place to spend some considerable time.
The tea rooms and restaurant’s picture windows provide extensive views to the wolds, and there’s a farm shop and bakery to tempt you too.
From there, just to the brow of the hill turn right off the main road. It’s all downhill to Irton Garden Centre before reaching the Pickering road. This centre has been lovingly renovated and is obviously a very popular destination for locals and visitors. There’s a beautiful new plant area, a farm shop, and coffee shop.
Feeling refreshed, it’s off to Irton. Just bear left along the main road and immediately right along Porrit Lane. At the far end go right at the junction and enjoy the real, rural scene. Beneath you is water! You’ll find Irton Waterworks at the far end alongside Goose Mire Lane where the old railway line was. The railway cottage is named Clock Cottage.
Return to Porrit Lane, but keep straight forward along Main Street. Reaching the main road, turn right to Seamer roundabout and immediately left to seek the first turning left at the crossroads. It’s country all the way, as you eventually descend Stoney Haggs Rise to meet Seamer Road.
Turning left returns you alongside the industrial estate to Falsgrave and Scarborough.
Distance of entire drive: 18 miles approximately.
Refreshment: As mentioned along the route.