Walks: The pleasant village of Bulmer

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Bulmer is a village pleasantly situated on high ground. It’s about seven miles south-west of Malton, and 13 miles from York. Lying in wooded countryside, on a road running straight from Welburn, it’s only about two miles from the A64. This farming village, in the popular Howardian Hills, overlooks the Vale of York.

You can almost imagine this is the Cotswolds, as its stone-built cottages with red roofs remind one of those. They also share part of the same geological band of limestone.

Bulmer is now a designated conservation area, and one of great beauty. Any recently built properties have to blend in with older homes, which they do most admirably.

Situated at the top of a steep hill known as Bulmer Bank, it’s often said to be a top coat colder than its neighbouring village of Welburn! We were immediately impressed by its broad lane, flanked by immaculate grass verges; red and yellow begonias welcoming you to the signed entrance to Bulmer, and its quiet lanes.

The church of St Martin is impressive, standing out as the oldest and most important building in the village. I understand that the Domesday Book informs us that people used to worship at ‘Bolemere’, over 1,000 years ago, but that was in a different building. The outside walls of the nave have some herring bone masonry, though the inner walls are plastered. You’ll see a slit in each of the side walls, and a blocked north doorway with a Norman arch above a single-stone lintel.

The simple south doorway from Norman times has lost its shafts, but the modern door still hangs – on old hinges. Some of the nave windows are 15th century but others are of later date. The chancel has modern windows and a simple screen with some 15th century tracery. On a bracket stands a fine wheel-head of a Saxon cross.

This church was light, and well cared for, with its red carpet and ceiling highlighting the cushioned pews and kneelers.

Look again at the kneelers, to discover the carving of an acorn at the end of each pew!

Alongside the pulpit you’ll find details regarding the Bulmer Effigies. The effigy to Sir John Bulmer, Knight Templar, is one of the oldest in Yorkshire. He died in 1268.

Leaving St Martin’s Church, as you approach the gate there stands a memorial, ‘In Glorious Memory of The Men of Bulmer who fell in the Great War 1914-19.’

Across the road, opposite the church tower, is The Old Blacksmith’s shop, and just beyond the church, between Church House and Thorn Nook, two public footpaths are indicated – but more later!

Apparently, The Slip Inn once stood opposite the church, but was closed by the Countess of Carlisle, who was a fervent abstainer, so there’s now no public house here. The nearest one is The Crown and Cushion at Welburn.

We failed to find a village shop or post office, but you’ll notice that a post box remains, and the telephone kiosk now houses a defibrillator for use in emergencies.

Records show that a schoolmaster lived in Bulmer in 1823. The village school was founded in 1827 by the Carlisles, and closed in 1947. This building can be found if you leave the main street near The Old Rectory and 30mph sign. From an island dominated by an oak tree near Northfield Farm House, turn left down to the village hall, which used to be the school. It’s now the focal point of many village activities.

Returning to The Old Rectory, admire this fine old house which was built in the early 18th century and is a listed building. Take time to explore the village, and its beautiful gardens and wild area beside Bush Cottage.

Refreshment: Call at Welburn to enjoy food or drink at The Crown and Cushion, or the Leaf and Loaf Cafe with indoor or outdoor facilities.

Transport: Private transport, or bus 181 from Malton.

NB Fragments of the Roman Empire and traces of a six acre camp found at Bulmer. Also pottery – bowls and vases some with decorations of dolphins and sea horses.

l Walks to Bulmer Hag and Foston, only signed for about 100 metres!