About eight miles south-west of Scarborough, sited alongside the A170 Scarborough to Pickering road is Brompton-by-Sawdon. Its hidden charms are easily by-passed but this glorious route ensures you discover its beauty on the return trek. (l See end. )
The village has been associated with the Cayley family for almost 500 years. In All Saints’ Church are memorials to the Cayleys. This church is where the poet William Wordsworth married Mary Hutchinson of Gallows Hill Farm in 1802. This wonderful trail of about six miles follows peaceful country lanes throughout. Walk, cycle, or drive to appreciate the joys of lovely level route with natural and historical features.
Access to the starting point is along the A170 Scarborough to Pickering road via Ayton and Wykeham to the hidden little village of Ruston, off right. I suggest you park in Ruston village near its junction with the main road.
Leaving Ruston, bear briefly right along the main road to cross with care into Hudgin Lane. Woodland features to the left and Wykeham Estate, along with a fine centre for Wykeham Mature Trees. The narrow lane crosses a bridge and winds pleasantly by a pheasantry. Watch out for pheasants!
From white cottages to your left, keep straight on over Wykeham Carr with a plantation to the left extending to the River Derwent. Linger in the vicinity of Ruston Carr Bridge. The River Derwent is one of the most picturesque in the country, flowing from its source of origin on Fylingdale Moors, through Forge Valley; Kirkham Gorge; the Vale of Pickering and the Vale of York, before joining the River Ouse at Barmby on the Marsh near Selby.
Supplying water to about one-seventh of Yorkshire’s population, it also supports a rich variety of wildlife on its banks. This area was once very prone to flooding. In September 1799 hundreds of acres of farmland were seriously affected. It’s thanks to Sir George Cayley’s drainage scheme in 1804 that the situation has greatly improved.
Cross the bridge and remain on the lane with great vistas beyond left hedging. Pass a ‘Give Way’ sign and turn right towards Brompton. You’ll notice Brooklands Coarse Fishing signs to the left. Cross Brompton Bridge, and you’ll observe agricultural land, along with some sheep and Highland cattle in the area. Enter Brompton ‘Birthplace of Aviation’.
Brompton Ings Road leads to The Butts – an attractive green where during Medieval times, men practised archery. Here turn left as signed to Snainton Carrs. Do read The Butts information board. The magnificent horsechestnut trees are adorned with ‘candles’ of blossom in May. Ignore diversions and keep straight forward to a large house and other residences to the left. Reaching a ‘bend’ sign turn right beside stone walling. Ivy festoons this narrow lane skirting the grounds of Low Hall to your left. During February and March carpets of yellow aconites and drifts of snowdrops present a scene of dazzling beauty! Ahead you’ll observe the church spire and Brompton village.
At the top of the lane is West End Farm from where Church Lane sweeps eastwards towards All Saints’ Church. Built of stone in the decorated and perpendicular styles, this lovely church is graced by trees. It is here that the poet William Wordsworth of Grasmere in Westmoreland married Mary Hutchinson of Gallows Hill, Brompton, on October 4, 1802. Walk up the cobbled path to see the church’s fine oak door. It was reclaimed from the lake across the lane, where it was cast by Cromwellian forces. Admire the amazing stained glass windows – two of which were inserted to the memory of CS Cayley who died in 1884.
Behind the church is Brompton Hall, originally the home of the Cayley family, but it later became a school.
Leaving the church, re-enter Church Lane and turn left. Across the road you’ll see a lovely lake frequented by swans, geese and ducks. You may choose to take a stroll by the lakeside.
Then return to Church Lane, and continue only as far as the first turning left. Turn off here to return to the A170. Meeting the main road opposite a post-box, turn right to the Cayley Arms. Stop at The Forge for possible refreshment.
Continue beside the A170 to pass Hudgin Lane and cross over into Ruston village to return to the starting point.
Distance: Approximately six miles of easy, level walking. No special footwear is required.
Refreshment: The Forge beside the A170.
Transport: Private transport or the Scarborough and District 128 bus to Ruston village (bridge).
Map reference: Explorer Map OL27. North York Moors, Eastern Area. Scale 2.5 inches to one mile.
l Sir George Cayley was a man of genius who invented many aspects of today’s living, including weird flying machines that posthumously earned him the title, ‘Father of Aeronautics’. He conducted flying trials in Brompton Dale in 1853. He also invented the bicycle wheel and artificial limbs!