Written by Maureen Robinson
Situated on the southern edge of the Yorkshire Wolds is the attractive village of Burton Agnes. It lies almost six miles south-west of Bridlington along the A614, and about 23 miles south of Scarborough. It’s famous for one of the finest Elizabethan mansions in the north of England. There’s Burton Agnes Hall, an old Norman manor house, and the church of St Martin in the grounds of the estate, when time for exploration. In season are flamboyant gardens, giant board games, and a woodland walk. February heralds snowdrops, which create an enchanting white wonderland!
Travelling along the A614 Bridlington-Driffield road, seek the war memorial in Burton Agnes, and park near the crossroads close beside the village pond. Here one may feed geese and ducks, and admire the tree-planted island which is a sanctuary for wild fowl. From this point you have excellent views of Burton Agnes Hall, built by Sir Henry Griffith about 400 years ago!
Start. Turn right to pass in front of the war memorial. Ignore the first turning left signed to the hall and manor house etc to continue to the bend. Take this second turning left beside white walling. Passing Manor Farm to your right, and Home Farm to the left, the lane snakes its way around the lovely parkland of Burton Agnes Hall. Open views across the fields feature before trees and hedges line the lane.
This short section of the route is known as The Walks. Keep to the lane as it swings left, and reaching a road junction you’ll see Park Farm on the right corner. A sign opposite indicates your way ahead towards Burton Agnes. Continue along the lane beside a small woodland to your left. In February and March it’s transformed into a sheet of shimmering white showdrops.
Proceed for a short distance along the hedged lane, seeking a public footpath off right, before the Burton Agnes sign-board is reached. The waymarkers have gone! Just follow the sportsground boundary fence to your left, as you keep beside a stubble field. Where the sportsfield ends, continue directly ahead across the remaining field towards a distant electricity pylon. Tractor treads guide you.
Reaching the upper end of the field, pass through the gap in the hedge and continue across an arable field on a path left by the farmer.
At the top of this massive field is a group of three sycamore trees. From this point, follow tractor treads across a ploughed field. Leave by a way-marked gap in the hedge and again follow tractor tracks to finally leave this field near metal gates to enter Sandy Lane. Here, go left along Sandy Lane (a broad track) to reach the A614.
Go straight across the main road and follow the lane towards Harpham, heading due south. The church tower is a fine landmark in the centre of Harpham. Before reaching crossroads, seek a public footpath immediately past an old chapel delightfully converted to the left. Take the stile and proceed along a short, hedged footpath to enter an arable field. Your route, with an arrowed post, crosses the field, following a grassy, hedged path.
Leave by a gap in the hedge with a rotting stile. A broad track across a massive field of barley, is clearly demarcated. Meet a post, and continue with the hedging to your left as arrowed, along a grassy field path with arable land off right. At the end of the field turn left over a ditch as arrowed. It’s by a sign: ‘Warning - Possible Shooting in Progress’. From here, head diagonally across an arable field. An electricity pylon is to your left as you approach an exit between maize. Pass through, and electricity wires are to the right. Cross a ‘planked’ ditch to cross a stile between hedging. Now turn left to a metal gate, and follow the left fenced boundary for about a third of the way along the field. Take a stile you’ll find by another “warning” regarding possible shooting in progress.
From the stile, follow an obvious footpath over a stubble field, which leads to the main road.
Turn right along the A614 to return to the Bluebell Inn, with Burton Agnes village pond just beyond.
Distance: A good four miles of easy, level walking. Well-drained in wet weather.
Refreshment: The Bluebell Inn, and Burton Agnes courtyard cafe with delicious homemade meals and treats. Access to the courtyard is free.
Note. Snowdrops Spectacular - February 8 to March 2 (approximately). Gardens, cafe and shops open daily 11am-4pm. Telephone (01262) 490324 to confirm opening in 2015.