Following the Race

Sledmere House
Sledmere House

by Maureen Robinson

This week your scenic drive will meet up with the Gypsey Race.

Some believe that gypsey springs were named after gypsey folk because they’re wanderers. Gypsey springs are erratic and weird! They all come and go at uncertain intervals. Gypsey springs unite to form an elusive stream which flows through a natural trough of the Wolds known as the Great Wold Valley. Sometimes the stream 
assumes a rapid surging flow, hence its name, ‘Gypsey Race’!

Leaving Scarborough, head for Seamer and the A64, then follow signs to Staxton, the Hare and Hounds is to your right as you approach traffic lights. Here, turn off left on the B1249 to ascend Staxton Hill.

Continue by the Yorkshire Wolds Gallery and coffee shop, or pay them a visit! Then it’s downhill to Foxholes. Seek a turning off right as signed to Weaverthorpe 4 miles, and Malton, at cross-roads. A long straight stretch of road leads to Boythorpe, before a sharp bend left and then right brings you to Butterwick. You’re now entering the Great Wold Valley where you’ve the chance to glimpse the Gypsey Race when it accompanies your route. Near the public telephone and post box you’ll find a farm shop. Then, with agricultural land either side, view the course of the Gypsey Race about 20 yards off left near the fencing.

Entering Weaverthorpe, the Gypsey Race is to the left grassed verge, and you’ll 
observe the Star Inn and the Blue Bell Inn. Round the corner is the village hall, and a sign: Malton 14 miles. Ahead is Helperthorpe, still featuring the Gypsey Race on the left verge.

Many of the chains of villages encountered now display most attractive information boards. Do take advantage of these, and learn useful historical details related to each location.

Passing Sleightholmes Steel Fabrication to your right, keep straight on to East Lutton with the Gypsey Race now to the right, fenced verge. 
Beyond is West Lutton, 12 miles from Malton.

A sharp bend, and the Gypsey Race is to your left. The lovely St Mary’s Church is almost opposite the Three Tuns Inn. It was built in 1874-75 by Street, for Sir Tatton Sykes, replacing a medieval chapel. Passing the Manor House, Three Tuns Inn and Methodist Chapel, the Race cuts across to the left verge. Meeting cross-roads, turn right and ahead is signed: Kirby Grindalythe 1.75 miles and Duggleby 4 miles. Open fields are all around in the heart of the Wolds.

Reaching barns, don’t miss a brief deviation left from a sign indicating: Sledmere 2.5 miles and Driffield 10 miles.

You’ll see Cranedale Field Study Centre as you swing to the church. The 14th century church spire is an excellent landmark for miles!

St Andrew’s Church was restored in 1878 by GE Street. Enter the fine lych gate, ascend flights of steps and marvel at the mosaic mural on the nave’s west wall. The portrayal of Christ’s Ascension was painstakingly created by Italian craftsmen.

Leaving the church, cross the Gypsey Race and follow close beside its waters, noting an information board of local interest, regarding the Crane Valley, and why Kirby Grindalythe is so-named.

Return to the lane from which you deviated and turn left to Duggleby 2 miles, alongside the church walling. The Gypsey Race is in the valley bottom, a field away.

Rising to High Mowthorpe, observe to the left horizon a prominent mound of earth. This is Duggleby Howe. It’s known to be a Bronze Age burial mound which you’ll view again, shortly.

Proceed to Duggleby, and at its cross-roads turn left to pass ADAS and then fork right as signed: Sledmere 4 miles and Driffield 12 miles. Seek off left a closer view of Duggleby Howe. A century or so ago, an excavation revealed ancient stone tools and bronze implements. Along with treasured artefacts recovered, were several skeletons that indicated the possible resting place of some tribal chief and warriors!

The road levels and traverses open countryside of the wild Wolds. Few trees, but wide extensive sky-scapes to the brow of the hill from where the views are fabulous!

Next, as you enter East Yorkshire, with more views to admire seek ahead several unwelcome intruders to our scenic landscape – wind turbines!

Reaching a road junction, turn left on the B1253 towards Bridlington, enjoying leaving your transport briefly, to walk around. Sledmere with its splendid Sledmere House. A manor house has been at Sledmere since medieval times. The present house was begun in 1751.

It was extended in the 1790s by Sir Christopher Sykes. Open in season, it’s one of Yorkshire’s most beautiful houses with some of England’s finest plasterwork. With lovely gardens, parkland and woodland walks, coffee shop, gallery and sales shop, it’s a must for summer 2014.

Beside the road admire the Sledmere War Memorial, and beyond, on the green with chain-fencing is another fine memorial.

Take time to view Mark Sykes Waggoners Reserve dated 1914-1919.

Keep straight ahead with Sledmere House to your right, and descend to an eight-pillared edifice. This was erected by Sir Tatton Sykes to the memory of his father, Sir Christopher Sykes.

Now, returning to your means of transport, continue your route by turning left along the B1253 to return to Scarborough. Pass the village hall before ascending the hill out of Sledmere, and woodland soon features to the right. Ahead is Cowlam, and more wind turbines.

At Octon crossroads and roundabout turn left on the B1249 to Foxholes and re-enter North Yorkshire.

Ascend to a road junction rounding bends via Ganton Dale. Descend Staxton Hill and meeting the main road at traffic lights, turn right and return to Scarborough along your outward going route.

Distance of route: 45 miles.

Refreshment: Many village inns and cafes along the route, plus fish and chips etc.

NB The Gypsey Race emerges at Wharram-le-Street to meander all the way to Bridlington harbour.