Written by Maureen Robinson
East and West Ayton lie four miles west of Scarborough on the banks of the River Derwent at the entrance to the Vale of Pickering.
A bridge over the Derwent separates the twin villages. It can be reached by public or private transport along the A170 Scarborough to Pickering road, and is where this walk begins.
This idyllic country route is almost four miles, but an extension is recommended, if time permits, to include the Betton Farm Visitor Centre just one mile away along the A170 Racecourse Road towards Scarborough.
Start. There are parking facilities in Chapel Garth but please avoid the private one for Ayton’s Library.
Cross the road towards the bridge (just to the right), and turn immediately left along Mill Lane. There are seats on the green, and ducks to feed beside the River Derwent.
Ahead features High Mill, said to be the second oldest water mill of its kind in England. It dates from about the year 1800. From the mill swing left with the lane, and at the road junction turn right up Yedmandale Road.
Passing the end of Castle Rise, keep rising to a road junction. Go straight across and up the hill towards Yedmandale, with ever-extending views. Dropping down to a workshop depot, just beyond the wood is a bridleway sign beside the lane. Here turn left and keep to the main ascending track beside left hedging. Continue as far as a narrow, metalled lane named Far Lane.
Turning left, pass a farm and drop down into Hutton Buscel. Meeting the main street, turn right and ascend the hill with its pleasant, stone-built cottages, as you head towards St Matthew’s Church. Turn left to enter St Matthew’s approach, and take time to wander round the church walls. Can you find, to the right of the tower, a sundial? Around the sundial we read: “Time wasted is existence – used is life”.
From the church door follow a path through the churchyard to an ornate lychgate. This 18th century lychgate was designed by Basil Champneys and was refurbished to celebrate the second millennium.
Enter Middle Lane, and turn right to meet the A170. Crossing the road with care, take up Fenton’s Balk towards Wykeham Pit and Wykeham Lakes. Part of the disused railway embankment is to your right. To the far horizon feature the Wolds and Ganton area.
Follow Fenton’s Balk for about half a mile. Seek off left, just before a pair of trees each side of the road, a broad track. At the far end of Fenton’s Balk is a metal farm gate. To the right is a public footpath sign. Follow a broad swathe of cut grass hedged to the left. At the end of this field walk between two gate posts and continue alongside a second field hedged to your left. Reaching the far corner you’ll find an arable field. Here, turn left to follow the field’s perimeter along two sides. You’re heading towards properties in Ayton.
From the far field corner the footpath narrows and leads to a waymarked (yellow-arrowed) kissing gate. Enter, and keep straight ahead along a broad, grassy footpath hedged to the right. Meeting properties, leave by a kissing gate beside a farm gate.
Entering Garth End Road, turn left in front of number 80. Take the right verge footpath through a smart residential area.
Passing Candler Avenue (off left), just ahead on your right is Hall Garth Lane. This stone-walled lane leads to the most attractive village green with its water-ways, wonderful weir and weeping willow trees creating a picturesque scene. I always find it somewhat reminiscent of the Dales!
Follow a good path in front of houses overlooking the scene. Remain on the lane to its farthest end, where it terminates at Ye Olde Forge Valley Inn. What finer place for some welcome refreshment! The library is just to your right, and your departure point.
Distance: 4 miles approximately of easy walking. Allow 2 hours average walking time.
Refreshment: There are several inns, Walker’s fish and chip restaurant, a fish and chip shop and village shop for refreshment.
Driving and Rambling On
The booklet features 16 scenic drives and rambles pus maps for only £3.30 per copy.
Send an A5 stamped, addressed envelope plus cheque for £3.30 payable to Mrs E.M. Robinson to 14 Malvern Crescent, Scarborough.