The approach to Thixendale from the village of Fimber is hauntingly beautiful, and one etched in the memory for life. The rounded chalk-hills of the Wolds and deep dry valleys with steep escarpments add to the remoteness of Thixendale. The chalk of the Yorkshire Wolds is soft, and being permeable is well-drained. During this walk you’ll find rich farmland with cultivated slopes dating back over about 5,000 years.
Your deep, winding lane from Fimber eventually reaches one of the most isolated villages of the Wolds – Thixendale, which has several old cottages and more modern homes, along with a church, school and former vicarage contributed by Sir Tatton Sykes and designed by the architect George Edmund Street.
Entering the village of Thixendale you’ll see the popular Cross Keys set back to the right, serving sandwiches as well as hot meals. There’s also a beer garden. Near the village centre is Thixendale Store and Post Office, where refreshment is also available.
Parking is suggested near the village church from where this route starts. Do visit the church to see Clayton and Bell’s stained glass.
Start from point A and, leaving the church, go west along the street as far as the last house to your right. You’ll see a Wolds Way and Centenary Way sign guiding you up a good, broad track to point B.
Nearing the hilltop, seek a Wolds Way sign to the left. Follow the grassy track ahead, negotiating any stile and then along the field side to rejoin the track and keep directly ahead. (C) Meeting another Wolds Way sign, step over any stile and proceed alongside a wire fence. Continue to the top of the field and go right at the sign, with Vessey Hill to your left. Your path drops down to reach a stile and continues its steep descent into a dry valley. Here you may find another stile. Your path then curves and descends yet again to point D by a gate.
A blue public bridleway sign on your right should be taken as it winds left up the side valley. Observe a deep earthwork ditch as you near the top of the valley. Between points D and E you’ll find a good example. There’s a ridge of earth beside a deep cut. It’s believed some earthworks were created between 2,000 BC and 600 BC.
Continue along the edge of a field to a point where the footpath forks. Here go right via little woodland onto a track beside a signpost.
Having now reached point E, just turn right as indicated by a Wolds Way sign. Your route goes directly east along an obvious track for about three-quarters of a mile. Woodland features to your right, named North Plantation. At the far end of this plantation seek a signpost to your right. Here, you leave the Yorkshire Wolds Way as it heads towards the B1248. Turn right and follow the Centenary Way sign due south. Keep to the edge of a field and pass a ruined building as you continue along a winding path past a signpost to reach point F. Reaching the next signpost, leave the track by turning right along the Centenary Way. Walk along a grassy track down the side of a field. At the end of the field leave the track and pass through a waymarked gate. Your path turns left and traverses the hillside above Court Dale to descend to a gate at point G. You’ll see a yellow waymark arrow guiding you directly ahead over a field, to pass over a track up the hillside to the left of a line of trees. The path descends to the site of the village cricket field. Cross any stile near a gate to access a lane. Finally reaching the main road, turn right to return to the church.
Distance: Four miles, allow two hours plus.
Parking: Near Thixendale church.
Refreshment: The Cross Keys in Thixendale, and also Thixendale Store and Post Office.
NB Please keep any dogs leashed.
Map reference: Ordnance Survey Explorer 330, Howardian Hills and Malton. Scale 2.5 inches to one mile.
Don’t miss Robert Fuller’s Gallery at nearby Fotherdale Farm. His bird and animal paintings are superb.