A short tour of Pickering

The splendid 13th century Pickering Castle.
The splendid 13th century Pickering Castle.

Written by Maureen Robinson

The bustling market town of Pickering holds attractions for all! The North Yorkshire Moors Railway is said to be the most popular heritage steam railway in the world. Pickering Castle is one of the most splendid 13th century castles in northern England. History buffs will head to Pickering’s remarkable Beck Isle Museum, whilst the Trout Lake on Newbridge Road, stocked with rainbow trout, will draw those hooked on fishing.

This week, set the adrenaline flowing by following a short four-mile walk on the outskirts of Pickering. It’s level, and easy to follow, taking about two hours to complete. This will leave you time to explore further activities afterwards.

Pickering lies 17 miles from Scarborough and 21 miles from Whitby. The A170 enters Pickering along Eastgate to meet a roundabout dominated by the Forest and Vale Hotel. Turn briefly left by the hotel, and immediately right to park on Mill Lane near the swimming pool and recreation area.

Start. From Mill Lane continue beside bungalows, with Pickering Recreation Club etc to your right. Pass No1 Railway Cottage, and opposite 2a Adabeck, you’ll observe a public footpath sign for a walk on a later occasion. Continue along the lane, to discover just ahead Viver’s Mill and Guest House. It is most attractive, having been delightfully renovated.

Remain on the lane to pass a handsome property with large, eye-catching garden. Swing right with the lane to a cross-road. Here, go straight forward along a broad track signed: public bridleway. This is Broadrum ‘Lane’– an extremely muddy experience after rainfall – a wellies job!

Reaching a junction, turn right along a grassy track between agricultural land to meet a metal farm-gate and adjacent stile. Take the stile and cross the field with post and wire fencing to the left. Crossing the old dismantled railway track beyond to the next gate and stile, your route heads due north. Go straight across a grassy field with clover, and follow the insignificant path in a direct line to the far end of the field. Leave by the stile and continue in like manner to a grassed track heading towards Westgate Carr Industrial Estate. Meeting a row of garages beside a lane, turn left through a metal kissing gate to follow an excellent footpath.

This path, banked to the right, guides you safely around the industrial estate with no problems whatsoever.

Meeting Westgate Carr Road, turn right. Keld Head Water treatment works lie to your left after passing properties to your right. Reaching the A170 turn left along a footpath by the lovely Keld Pond. Cross the road with care to discover the impressive property of Keld Head dated 1697.

Just beyond, as you bear right, is the Alba Rose Care Home. Past the care home, turn right along a short, tree-lined lane which enters Middleton Road. Here, turn right, taking the elevated path to continue through a residential area. Rest a while on a seat close by for a cuppa, maybe? Pass Northway and Piper’s Acre, to seek Swainsea Lane. Here turn left to reach St Joseph’s RC Primary School. Beyond is Swainsea Drive. Cross Swainsea Lane to find close by, a public footpath concealed between properties. The path gently rises, passing Lady Lumley’s School and grounds off left. To your right is Beacon Hill. This was possibly the site of an earlier castle. Bonfires have been lit here to celebrate many events including Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee and Queen Elizabeth II’s silver jubilee.

Keep to the fenced path as it leads around Beacon Hill with sheep-grazing. From the hillside, magnificent views extend beyond the valley with its beck and railway line, to Pickering Castle.

Immediately you meet a road, turn left on a fenced footpath. This descends to stiles, and drops down to a level path veering right. Enter a kissing gate, and turn right on a track to Beck Isle Museum. This was originally built by William Marshall, as an agricultural college.

Cross the road to the 
Memorial Hall, built in 1865 as a steam corn mill. In 1922 it was converted to a war memorial, to those who gave their lives during the First World War. From this point, you’ll wish to spend the remainder of your day exploring Pickering, before returning to the Forest and Vale Hotel near the roundabout, with Mill Lane close by for your private transport when ready to depart.

Distance: 4 miles approximately.

Refreshment: A great variety of cafes, restaurants, inns and shops in Pickering.

Public transport: Bus 128.

Note. Being routed on low-lying ground, this mainly-level walk is susceptible to flooding after heavy rain. Strong footwear recommended.

NB. The Forest and Vale Hotel, Eastgate, was built circa 1787 as a mansion called Low Hall. It replaced an earlier one of the Dean and Canons of Windsor. It once held a private museum with a prehistoric coffin in the lounge. It was briefly the home of Dr JL Kirk, the founder of York Castle Museum, and became a hotel in 1947.