A Snainton saunter

A view of the entrance gate and St Stephen's Church, Snainton. 120569b
A view of the entrance gate and St Stephen's Church, Snainton. 120569b

Written by Maureen Robinson

Snainton is situated on the edge of the Vale of Pickering, alongside the A170 between Scarborough and Pickering.

This charming and varied route of about four miles uses local country public footpaths, bridleways, and minor roads to the north of Snainton. The occupations of local residents are varied, with farms spread around the outskirts of the village.

Access to Snainton is by public or private transport to Station Road from where this walk departs.

Start. Leaving Station Road, cross the A170 and turn left along the High Street, passing the entrance to St Stephen’s Church. The unusual Norman archway seen by the roadside is the original entrance to the early church of St Mary’s that was built in 1150AD. The present church was rebuilt and re-sited in 1836 after a fire in 1834. It is now St Stephen’s Church.

Follow the footpath by broad, grassed verges to Cliff Lane. You’ll notice that the fire station just beyond is now for sale.

Halt here to read wall plaques regarding Snainton’s Pinfold, and Unique Sundials. The pinfold dates from the early 1700s and was used to impound stray animals. The Unique Sundials were commissioned by Snainton Parish Council to mark the Millennium. The inauguration ceremony was on March 24, 2001.

Wander up the steep, tree-lined Cliff Lane for about half a mile, admiring wild flowers and listening to bird song.

Reaching the junction with a metalled lane, ie Nettledale Lane, you’ll see Vale View Farm to your right. Beyond stone walling you may notice an old seed drill.

Turn left up Nettledale Lane and you’ll soon see to your right a concessionary footpath (which we’ll leave for another day).

Beyond is a driveway lined by trees, leading to The Pheasantry. A sign-board now announces B&B. All are welcome – pets too! There is also a site for the Camping and Caravanning Club.

Ahead, and to your left, is Granary Cottage. Almost opposite is a public bridleway leading alongside a farm long known as Milebush Farm.

Leaving Nettledale Lane, turn right to pass the farm.

Horses may be seen to the left as you walk to a metal gate. Enter and walk along a well-used track. Keep straight forward towards a wood. The rough track follows the edge of Headon Plantation into the dip. Halt! Here, glance over stone walling to your right to read a notice of great interest. “High-water mark of the great flood caused by the cloud burst May 1910 when a raging torrent 30 yards wide swept down this dale and carried all before it, including two large stone gate-posts, walls and farming implements.”

Proceed along the track, still beside Headon Plantation, and at the top swing right by the wood’s perimeter.

At the far end of Headon Plantation, look out for High Cottage to your right, and continue along a straight, metalled lane named Wydale Lane.

Reaching Headon Farm Cottages and Headon Lodge on the left, please halt here. Seek to your right a fenced public footpath through the wood. Enter, and almost immediately turn left through a waymarked kissing gate. Stroll along a metalled drive with fine lawn to the left and trees and shrubs to the right.

Leave by a handgate, and walk between an enclosed tennis court and stone walling. Keep straight forward to a cross-path. Drop down a shady, woodland footpath to meet a prominent cross-track. Here turn left, where in springtime snowdrops ‘flow’ down the embankment of Wydale Hall to spread cool sheets of white. Rhododendrons are splendid in May and June.

Wydale Hall is in a lovely wooded area, and has been long known as a retreat for the Diocese of York. It was previously owned by the Illingworth family for many years. They owned most of the land and farms in the area.

Reaching a ‘private’ sign, go left towards a fieldgate and stile. Enter and bear immediately right to take a footpath up the hillside, not along the valley. Wydale is to your left. Keep to the hillside path as it climbs by Beech Wood high above Wydale. Please ensure any dogs are leashed.

At the far end, leave by a handgate and follow the tall hedging on your right, alongside a couple of corn-fields. Tremendous views extend across the Vale of Pickering to the Yorkshire Wolds.

Passing through a ‘gap’ in the field’s boundary, to your immediate right is a bench where you may choose to enjoy a cuppa. A huge tree-trunk blocks a gateway. Go straight ahead beyond a little lane to continue along a hedged track which gradually descends to Snainton.

Observe Strathyre and South Gables to your right. Then rounding the bend, high walling features to your left. At the foot of Garth Head Lane you should turn left down Nettledale Lane by a row of stone-built cottages. At the far end features the Peacock Inn by the A170.

Turn right in front of the Reading Room and Snainton’s notice board etc.

Crossing the road with care, turn first left to return to Station Road.

Distance. Four miles approximately.

Refreshment. Take a picnic as there’s nothing en route. Maybe call at the Peacock Inn.