Your Day Out: Insight to rural Ryedale

Experience the sights, sounds and smell of life on the home front and the frontline at Eden Camp.
Experience the sights, sounds and smell of life on the home front and the frontline at Eden Camp.

This interesting walk departs from Old Malton, and will appeal to historians and country-lovers alike. With level bridleways crossing the countryside, a farm which used to welcome visitors desiring an insight into the rural life of Ryedale and Eden Camp*, a modern history museum, you could devote an entire day to this venture.

Park in Old Malton, in the vicinity of the Gilbertine Priory and Royal Oak Inn. Wander through Old Malton beside the Pickering road, and to your right is the Old Malton Memorial Methodist Church. You’ll pass the war memorial dated 1914-18, Classroom Cottage, and the Old Schoolhouse.

Beyond, to your left is the Wentworth Arms, and a row of lovely old cottages with large gardens. Continue to the roundabout and cross the bridge high above the Malton by-pass. Negotiate the roads with care, taking the Pickering and Whitby A169 sign-posted to Eden Camp.

Following the grass verge for about half a mile, ignore the turning to Eden Camp and a group of trees ahead, to find a public bridleway. Here turn left as indicated, along a fine broad track, hedged and ditched on either side.

Open views extend across the fields, and a woodland features to your left. This quiet, sheltered track we have found to be popular with butterflies of many varieties in summertime. Cowslips are a welcome feature during May. Winter – this year wet and watery!

Your route shortly takes a right-angled bend left along the main bridleway until Ryton Lane is reached. Here, go left and proceed by Eden House and Eden Farm which are to either side of the lane.

Continue down the lane, and ignore the turning off for Windmill Farm. Keep straight ahead to the bend and then turn right to Eden Camp if you wish to include this unique experience in your itinerary. If not, your return route turns right along a public bridleway.

However, I suggest you do not miss the opportunity of spending three or four hours re-living the civilian way of life during those dark days. It is open daily, between January and December, from 10am-5pm.

Return to the public bridleway and you pass the barbed-wire fencing which encloses the original huts where the prisoners of war were accommodated. Italian and German prisoners were held captive from 1942 to 1948. They were housed 64 to a hut with about 1,000 there at a time!

At the end of the track turn left along a gravelled track. In about 50 paces reach a diversion. Turn left and follow the road to a bridge. Cross the bridge spanning the Malton bypass and continue down a metalled lane. As you re-enter Old Malton, you’ll discover the Wentworth Arms at the road junction.

Turn right to return to the Royal Oak Inn – your departure point.

There is plenty more to see close by – the Gilbertine Priory, and the Roman fort, along with the River Derwent too, but do return another day to enjoy a follow up to this walk.

*Eden Camp is housed within the buildings and grounds of a former prisoner of war camp. This unique museum will transport you back in time to wartime Britain.

You can experience the sights, sounds and even the smells of life on the home front and the frontline. The displays also cover the history of British military forces during the 20th century, from the trenches of World War One, the truly world war of 1939-1945 and all post World War Two conflicts since. This provides an exciting, memorable and educational day out for all the family. Allow at least four hours to explore the six acre site

Distance of walk: 4 miles approximately.

Refreshment: The Royal Oak Inn and The Wentworth Arms beside the B1257 in Old Malton.

Also, Eden Camp itself, situated on the junction of the A64 and A169, half way between York and Scarborough.

Map reference: Ordnance Survey, Malton and Pickering, sheet 100.