Your Day Out: Peace and tranquility

Snowdrops in bloom in the grounds of St Matthew's Church, Hutton Buscel.
Snowdrops in bloom in the grounds of St Matthew's Church, Hutton Buscel.
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Peace and beauty go hand in hand as you wander the wayside country lanes to the north of Hutton Buscel. This lovely village on a green hilltop lies just off the A170, about 6 miles south-west of Scarborough. It’s visited on the return route, to allow more time for exploration.

I suggest parking as convenient in West Ayton, possibly near Ye Olde Forge Valley Inn.

Cross the A170 with care to enter Cockrah Road. Observe a pair of pigs beside the gateway of a local residence! The winding, hedged lane leads to a road junction. Here, go left as signed to High and Low Yedmandale. Ascend by a quarry to your right, surrounded by fields and a distant view of the Yorkshire Wolds off left.

Quickly reaching Oakley’s Plant Hire, pass by and turn immediately left along a signed bridleway. This heads south-west across fields and can be muddy, so do be prepared – it’s only for a short distance, then no problems.

In less than half a mile your bridleway reaches a silo and meets Far Lane. Turn right up the lane, which may be a muddy track in wet weather at the start. Watch out for French partridges and pheasants as the lane ascends between fields. Pass a barn to your left, and keep to the hedged lane leading to Ancat Farm. Veering left and right, you’ll now view Ancat Farm and Cottages, with Middle Lane behind you. The next bend left brings you to Great Moor Road.

Turn left to follow Great Moor Road in a southerly direction, providing superb views to the Yorkshire Wolds. A dis-used quarry lies to your left, and as you descend, the grassed verges erupt with mole hills!

Elevated hedging to the left features as you drop down to a fine seat on level ground. Just the spot for a welcome flask of tea or coffee.

Approaching Hutton Buscel village, look out for the restored village ‘pound’ where stray animals would be retained until claimed by their owners.

The original Manor house was burned down, but some of the outer walls remain, forming the entrance to the old school. The walls too remain of a two-acre walled garden, the Thomas Farside tythe barn built in 1693, and an ice house. St Matthew’s Church stands to the south of the village.

Holt Cottage and The Holt feature to your left, as Great Moor Road enters Hutton Buscel’s Main Street. You may recall when The Holt was a field study centre run by Mr GG Watson (curator of Wood End Natural History Museum). Myself and several other volunteers, helped with the junior naturalists’ activities.

Allow time to view the church, tucked away among the trees in the churchyard. This village was the home of the Buscels as far back as the 12th century. The earliest of them would see the building of the church. The massive tower has been restored after damage by lightning. The pulpit is Jacobean. Do step inside to see more of this lovely church.

Leaving St Matthew’s Church, continue north-east along Main Street admiring its stone properties, both old and new.

Towards the far end is a very steep descent, with a bank of snowdrops to the left giving one hope for springtime. Then, bearing right around the bend, you return to the main A170 Pickering Road.

Turn left beside the road for the final stretch into West Ayton, and across the road you can’t miss the Forge Valley Inn. This could well be your best place for refreshment.

Distance: Five miles of easy walking, but be prepared for a little mud on the bridleway in wet weather.

Refreshment: Ye Olde Forge Valley Inn on the A170, West Ayton. Also, excellent facilities in East Ayton.

Map reference: Ordnance Survey North York Moors Eastern Area, OL27. Scale: 2.5 inches to one mile.