Written by Maureen Robinson
Within seven miles east of Malton, off the A64 you’ll discover a beautiful peaceful church with an elegant spire. Be inspired by its amazing interior! Having sought its interesting furnishings and treasures, tread the Wolds Way from Wintringham, and enjoy the bracing breezes of the heights on a five-mile circular ramble. A day you’ll long remember, with its breath-taking views!
Start from Wolds Way Lavender Farm, located half a mile off the A64 between West Knapton and Scampston. Brown and white tourist signs are in the vicinity. [NB Lavender Farm closed until next spring].
From the Lavender Farm, follow the lane beside Cottage Pasture into the peaceful village of Wintringham with its grassed verges and attractive properties. Gleaming white cottages; the old school near a public telephone; Home Farm, and Grange Garth feature as you approach the Church of St Peter, standing a little outside the estate village of Wintringham, in the Vale of Pickering.
Entering the metal gate, ancient yew trees guard the graveyard, filled with 18th and 19th century monuments to former inhabitants.
Norman in foundation, this largely medieval church boasts fittings ranging from Norman to Victorian in era. The beautifully carved misericords and tracery add to the medieval atmosphere.
Leaflets within the church suggest 10 things to see before leaving.
Briefly 1) The ornately carved poor box used to collect funds for the poor.
2) Jacobean bench pews made from oak with panelled backs and acorn finials.
3) The limestone ‘tub’ font is Norman, with later wooden cover decorated with angels. The date ‘1736’ is inscribed around the finial.
4) Stained glass depicts 32 saints etc. Worked in white and yellow, the glass dates to late 14th century and is believed to be Flemish.
5) Screens. Lower panels screening chapels are late medieval, with tracery panels above renewed. Bell tower – see tracery screen, and the 1889 chancel screen of intricate tracery.
6) Squint to peer through during mass.
7) Bell tower houses three bells from late 17th and early 18th centuries.
8) Piscina. A stone basin for the priest to wash the chalice and his own hands during medieval mass.
9) Misericords on underside of seats, highly ornamental. See choir stalls. Shelves were added to act as props when the seat was folded. Seek mythical beasts, dragons and Green Men.
10) Oak choir stalls with beautifully carved creatures from the griffin to more domestic dogs.
Leaving the church gate, turn left to the bend only. Here go left and immediately right on the Yorkshire Wolds Way footpath, indicating Sherburn 6.5 miles.
Follow the right hedging to the top of a field. Take the corner stile into the edge of woodland and turn left along a cross-track, as signed WW and CW. Follow a good firm track along the fringe of Deep Dale Plantation. View Deep Dale far below to your left.
Seek at a bend, a two-finger post with an arrow pointing sky-wards! No, it isn’t bent, it indicates a steep gradient! Up you go, on a grassy path between brambles and burdock to ancient earthworks.
Veer left from a post to a hand-gate. Follow the WW sign and view to your left a fairly recent introduction of nine carved figures etc.
Read the information board regarding Enclosure Rites and Site Archaeology. Keep straight on for six paces or so and go left along a grassy path between raspberry canes!
Fields are to your left and then follows a gradual descent between bushes to meet a lane at a three-finger post.
Turn left along the open wind-swept lane which gently leads down to the A64.
Cross the road with care and turn left, going behind a bus shelter to follow what used to be the old A64. Seek, to your left, a rather overgrown pinfold where stray animals used to be impounded until claimed by their owners.
Rejoining the A64 at the B1258 junction at West Knapton, continue briefly along the main road to turn left along Sands Lane.
With tall conifers either side, your route returns you alongside Sands Wood, and what used to be the old deer park on your right, to the Lavender Farm once more.
Distance: 5 miles.
Refreshment: None en-route until the Lavender Farm re-opens in spring 2014. Take a picnic.
*A torch is useful for details of church carvings.
NB A steep ascent (short and sweet).