Written by Maureen Robinson
Travelling along the ever-popular A170 Scarborough to Pickering road, how many folk long to escape the volume of traffic, speed, noise, and the pollution of modern highways? A simple solution is to deviate into one of a string of charming villages, where time appears to have stood still for half a century.
Good tracks and footpaths make for easy walking
One such village is Ebberston, easily accessed by private or public transport along the A170. A regular bus service, number 128, operates between Scarborough and Pickering and beyond. Attractive countryside lies north of the village, with good tracks and public footpaths making for easy walking.
Ebberston is only 10 miles from Scarborough, and as well as the lovely village to explore, and tracks to the moors north of the village, there are great dykes and entrenchments, and ancient burial mounds. In the vicinity is Ilfred’s Cave, where King Aldfrith of Northumbria is said to have sheltered – but that’s another story.
Take bus service 128, or private transport, to the road junction of Ebberston’s Back Lane with the A170. From Brook Farm, follow Back Lane by stream, stone-walling and hedging to The Granary and Pear Tree Farm. Lovely properties feature off right, with rural names such as Fox Den and Fox Holm before a sportsfield is reached.
Shortly, Back Lane meets the B1258. Here, turn right near Low Moor House, and veer right at the corner, with a nursery to your left, to enter Ebberston once more, with the stream banked by snowdrops heralding spring.
Rest on a seat beside stone walling before ascending Main Street, lined by trim stone houses, with flowered walls and gardens in season. You’ll notice a footpath off left to Mill Pond, should you wish to deviate and return to this point. Just ahead on the grassed verge is a commemorative feature celebrating the year 2000.
The stream, now to your left, and bridged to several properties, leads to Tiswood. Yes, ‘tis wood indeed, where oak signs are displayed for your selection! Also nearby is local honey just before Mill Lane wanders off left, and Kings Lane goes right.
Keep to Main Street, and there are eggs for sale too. This village has so much to offer!
Studley House has B&B accommodation, holiday cottages and a caravan site, whilst just beyond is a family history research centre!
Continue past nicely-named cottages and the chapel to admire the bridged stream now to your right.
Ahead features The Workshop for the would-be-creative, and as you ascend, don’t miss the Eco Bakery to your left.
Beyond the bus stop, meet the A170 and turn left up the High Street to The Grapes, for possible refreshment. Nearing a sign indicating ‘Bends’, cross the road with care to a blue announcement of St Mary The Virgin church – a real highlight!
Enter the wrought-iron gate and beyond walling there may be bullocks grazing, whilst two metre-high post and wire fencing ensures the small herd of deer do not escape! The deer are usually near the woodland.
Take the gate into the churchyard, and a gravel path leads swiftly to a noble Wellingtonia which you can’t miss. Its trunk even engulfs the headstone of a grave! Steps to the left of the church lead to a gate and woodland, and the entire area is a ‘sea’ of sparkling white snowdrops in early spring. There is a glorious outlook over the vale, and behind the church is Ebberston Hall. What a fine setting! The hall was built in 1718 by Campbell, with a baluster parapet and flight of steps to its entrance.
The church fits snugly into the hillside, and is worth close examination along the exterior walling. Can you see dates 1870 and 1875 high above on black ‘boxes’? Built into the walls are fragments of old coffin lids, with quite an obvious sword and cross.
Enter the porch and face the south doorway which is Norman. Notice the spirally carved shafts of the doorway which have been renewed. A ‘rare and precious possession’ is the iron work on the modern door. It’s said to be most probably the work of the Normans too. Look at the hinges. These are enriched with curious scrollwork in haphazard fashion. Over the top hinge is a dove with the olive leaf – a lovely touch!
Mind the step as you enter the church. You’ll notice the font is Norman. A curious feature of this church is the floor, which makes a gradual slope from east to west. This is because the roof of the chancel and nave and tower go up in steps.
The Norman nave and chancel have been partly rebuilt, but the chancel still has a Norman window with others of the 13th and 14th century.
The sturdy arcade with pointed arches was built when the aisle was added at the close of the 12th century. From the 14th century came the tower and the big arch (now in the south wall of the nave), which once led to a chapel.
Admire the skilled carving of a magnificent eagle lectern, and details on the pulpit.
Leaving this interesting church, it’s surprising to learn that this area was once the original site of Ebberston village – now so far distant! The adjacent field may have clues to its past history.
If time permits, continue briefly up the A170 to turn first right, just by the woodland, along Hagg Side Lane. You may then access Kirkdale, and public footpaths beyond.
Distance: Arrowed route approximately 4 miles return.
Refreshment: The Grapes Inn, Ebberston, on the A170; The Peacock Inn, Snainton, on the A170; the Eco Bakery (when open) on Main Street, Ebberston.
Rural Rambles Volume 15 is now available – 17 walks and maps for £2.50. Entire profits to charities. For a copy send a cheque for £2.50 payable to EM Robinson and enclose an A5 sized stamped addressed envelope (a 53p stamp will cover cost). Send to Mrs M Robinson, 14 Malvern Crescent, Scarborough YO12 5QW.