Summer days are here - time to enjoy unspoilt farming villages linked by fields and forestry, a dew pond at Silpho, and maybe a spot of bird-watching near Bell Heads car park.
Hackness is particularly pretty, in a wooded situation north-west of Scarborough. St Peter’s Church in the valley near Hackness Hall has a 12th century tower and spire, and 15th century chancel.
There is much interest within, including a Saxon cross and early 16th century font cover.
Hackness Hall is not open, but is the seat of Lord Derwent, and viewed in passing.
Access to the starting point from Scarborough, is by taking the A170 Scalby Road as far as Scalby as Nearby Library and Information Centre. Then turn left alongside the Rosette Inn. Continue to the road junction and go right as signed to Hackness.
Follow any ‘Hackness’ sign up Hay Lane and Hay Brow to reach the hamlet of Suffield. Park near the road junction and your walk begins from here.
Head north-east as signed to Silpho 3 miles. The lane elbows sharp left along Swang Road, with Prospect Plantation running alongside.
Open views across the countryside are seen towards Hackness. Gorse bushes add a blaze of gold in summertime.
Reaching Turkey Carpet, turn off left to Silpho, passing North Farm and a number of stone-built cottages beyond stone walling. To your left features a water tower, and just behind is a residential conversion of a Methodist Chapel dated 1900. Opposite is a dew pond with details regarding its use.
If you do this walk in winter, snowdrops drift along the foot of walls and hedgerows.
Leaving Silpho and Binkley’s Farm, drop down Kirkgate to Bell Heads car park where we sometimes used to park and observe a variety of birds in the bushes, including the bullfinch. However, this car park has closed unfortunately, so from Bell Heads as you wind your way down a steep descent, beware of two things.
Admiring the view through Hilda Wood into the valley, and Hackness, keep looking and listening for traffic. There are dangerous bends for motorists and cyclists to negotiate.
Bird-watching may distract your attention, so take care.
The countryside around Hackness is beautiful. The name is said to mean cloven paints. Many steep dales meet at Hackness, like the outspread fingers of a hand leading down into the palm.
Passing the old rectory you meet the main street through Hackness. Turn left and follow the guttered spring water to St Peter’s Church.
It’s worth visiting the lovely church in a charming setting. Inside is a Saxon cross and early 16th century font cover.
Beyond, Hackness Hall stands in the midst of delightful parkland surrounded by an abundance of trees.
The Hall’s ancient ice-house, which would provide an early form of refrigeration, is close beside the bridge spanning the road, but is private.
A haunting, beautiful walk follows, alongside Greengate Wood, and Crossdales Wood through the valley, before climbing back up to Suffield and your departure point near the road junction.
Distance of arrowed route: 5.5 miles approximately.
Refreshment: There are no facilities on this walk, but drinks are sold near this point, as observed. Take a flask or picnic.
Map Ref: Ordnance Survey OL27 Explorer Map. North York Moors Eastern Area. Scale 2.5 inches to 1 mile.
*Suffield - Tree Top Press at Hillcrest Cottage near road junction. Cider Press and Farm Shop. Juices, cordials and craft cider. Picked and pressed by hand.
NB No parking on verges - by request.