Great views across Vale

Snowdrops in bloom in St Matthew's Church graveyard, Hutton Buscel
Snowdrops in bloom in St Matthew's Church graveyard, Hutton Buscel

Written by Maureen Robinson

When country footpaths have been lost beneath the plough or reduced to a mud-bath, turn to country lanes as we do.

Hutton Buscel is a lovely, unspoilt village to the north of the A170 between West Ayton and Wykeham. Easily accessed by private transport or bus, I suggest you start this walk from the Forge Valley Inn beside the A170 Pickering/Thirsk road in West Ayton.

Start from the Forge Valley Inn and cross the main road with care to follow the roadside footpath towards Pickering. Beyond private properties turn north along Far Lane as signed to Hutton Buscel. The hedged lane gently ascends with fields to either side.

The rough lane may become muddy in places, and is banked as it rises to a barn on the left. Keep climbing and observe the ivy-clad trees towards the brow of the hill.

Admiring views, swing left with the road and then briefly right towards Ancat Farm, but observe a notice indicating ‘private’ to Ancat Farm. Here go left to a road junction.

At the road junction with Great Moor Road, go left away from Bee Dale, otherwise you’ll enter Wykeham Forestry!

Great Moor Road provides a gentle descent to Hutton Buscel. Look out for a pinfold to your right – a stone-built fold or pen to confine stray animals such as sheep or cattle. Beyond, and to your left features The Holt as you enter the main street.

Many naturalists may well remember The Holt when it became a field study centre for young budding nature-lovers, led by Mr Geoffrey Watson and enthusiastic volunteers.

What inspirational excursions we all enjoyed in the early 1960s.

The Holt now serves as a residential home, occupying a prominent site on the corner fronting St Matthew’s Church.

In the church is a marble monument to the memory of Dr Richard Osbaldeston, Bishop of London, who died in 1764.

Continue along Hutton Buscel’s main street, admiring the stone-built properties and Hall to the right. Apparently there was a fire at the Hall during a large house party.

The exact date is uncertain, but it occurred, “when snow lay deep and about two hours after dusk when the ladies were changing for dinner. There were no engines nearer than Scarborough except one belonging to Mr Langley at Wykeham and he refused to lend it. Despite valiant efforts with buckets of water, the west wing was soon destroyed.

“In the end the house was uninhabitable.” The fire can most probably be dated to January or February of 1814 or possibly 1815.

Marmaduke Dawnay Langley became Lord of the Manor of Hutton Buscel. He immediately set about restoring and rebuilding many of the houses in the main street that had fallen into disrepair.

You’ll find date stones even today, and upon one is depicted a bushel (confirming pronunciation) below the word Hutton. Dates range from 1839 to 1849 mostly with the initials MDL. He died in 1851. How many can you discover as you stroll along the main street, past Middle Lane, and negotiate a 1:6 descent?

With your route almost complete, swing right at the far end to return along your final lane which re-joins the A170.

Turn left and retrace your steps along the roadside verge to return to the Forge Valley Inn and your departure point.

Distance: 4.75 miles approximately

Refreshment: You’ll find options in West Ayton and East Ayton but no facilities in Hutton Buscel.