Stunning lavender

Working among the plants at Wolds Way Lavender.
Working among the plants at Wolds Way Lavender.

Written by Maureen Robinson

When summer is over, and the countryside shrouded in mist and dying leaves, where can you got to cheer the day along?

Waste no time, and hasten to Wintringham near Malton, where you’ll discover on Sandy Lane, the Wolds Way Lavender. It’s free admission and parking until October 31. Yes, I’m sure you’ve often thought about going, but have never quite made it. Well, you’ve nothing to lose if you take advantage of this offer, and it may inspire a re-visit in 2015.

Access. The Lavender Centre lies between Malton and Scarborough, and Sandy Lane takes you just half a mile off the A64. From York, remain on the A64 past Malton and then follow the brown and white ‘Wolds Way Lavender’ signs after Scampston.

As a birthday treat, we drove to the edge of the picturesque Wolds Way National Trail to see once more any transformation that had taken place. We understood that TV coverage had put them in the media spotlight, as 2014 had provided a complete revamp for Wolds Way Lavender.

Arriving early after lunch on a Sunday meant we had the 12 acres of natural beauty almost entirely to ourselves! One can read all about the area’s gradual development from poor agricultural land to lavender fields where hundreds of species revel in well-drained sandy soil.

In summer, the lavender, with its stunning array of colours, from white through a complete range of blues and lilacs to magnificent deep purples, along with the range of heady perfumes, is a wonderful experience.

In autumn, it requires imagination, for the season is over, and we were told by a gardener, hand-cutting remaining plants,that it hadn’t been such a good year. The early spring was wet, and lavender hates being over-watered. So, although the scene may now appear more monochrome, don’t despair. There’s a great deal of pathways to explore; remaining wild flowers in the meadows, and butterflies and bees in abundance on mild days.

From the waterfall tumbling into the pool, to well-stocked ponds and displays to enhance your visit, there’s something for everyone. All along the walk-ways are informative boards regarding wildlife to be discovered.

Children will want to spend considerable time in the giant maze, or trying their skill playing giant-sized games.

If you’re observant, you’ll discover sculptures too of deer and pre-historic animals roaming the grounds. Rest on the superb gardener’s seat, skilfully bedecked with gardener’s tools such as spade, rake, hoe and sickle etc. See whether you can find them all!

One disappointment is the giant observation hive of bees! This year apparently, they’ve swarmed three times – and vanished, alas.

The Miniature Railway, with extended lines and the addition of a tunnel, is sure to prove a great attraction. Do read the information board for details of the tunnel’s construction.

Ready for a rest? Recline at the station to watch a most interesting video detailing the distillation of lavender. It lasts almost a quarter of an hour and is repeated.

Lavender is a herb that has been used over the centuries. It is easy to propagate in your garden and has many natural properties. Here, lavender is farmed during the summer months from field to the finished product. Lavender oil is one of the most versatile of the essential oils and has medicinal and therapeutic properties.

The key ingredient in all the products sold here is 100 per cent pure Wolds Way Lavender essential oil. This oil is extracted using steam distillation, but this distillery is unique. Why? 
Because it’s the only wood-fired steam distillery in the country. This is the only lavender farm in the north of England to distil lavender essential oil. You can understand why they are passionate about the quality of all their products, and proud of their collection.

Now do go along to the gift shop to purchase a unique gift.

Your visit wouldn’t be complete without visiting the recently refurbished tea room. Don’t forget to try their speciality – a lavender scone!

Enjoy your day, and return next summer for a blaze of colour.

NB Dogs are allowed on leads. Cyclists are welcome. The centre is fully accessible to all.

Opening times remaining: until October 31, 10am-4pm, Sunday to Thursday inclusive. Closed Friday and Saturday.

Driving and Rambling On

The booklet features 16 scenic drives and rambles plus maps for only £3.30 per copy. Available from Crag and Moor, 38 Victoria Road (until October 31 only). Or send an A5 stamped, addressed envelope plus cheque for £3.30 payable to Mrs E.M. Robinson to 14 Malvern Crescent, Scarborough.