Intoxicating aromas on a wander among the lavender

Wolds Way Lavender
Wolds Way Lavender

by Maureen Robinson

It’s almost summertime! A time to relax and renew your senses in a tranquil oasis of lavender planting. Set within 12 acres of gardens and ponds, you can discover over 120 varieties of lavender and herbs whilst enjoying the panoramic views of the Wolds. Just to sit and inhale the intoxicating aromas midst a peaceful atmosphere, helps dispel all thoughts of winter.

Wolds Way Lavender is a must, especially during July and August, when lavender is at its peak, and you can see lavender being collected with a unique harvester. See the train bringing lavender in from the fields. Why not take a trip on the Wolds Way Miniature Railway? It’s a treat for all the family, as you travel by lavender fields and wild flowers, nature ponds, and through a tunnel.

When you’ve sought pond life, and braved the ‘World’s Largest Beehive’, where bees make honey before your very eyes, there’s so much more to learn.

In 2005, a new lavender distillery was created. Apparently it’s the only one in the country to be wood-fired, as in olden days. Watch the lavender oil being extracted by steam distillation. The lavender oil extracted is used in a wide range of cosmetics, and pure oil for aromatherapy. Learn how dried lavender and its essential oil is used in the centre’s cottage industry.

It’s difficult to imagine that the patchwork of lavender, ranging from purest white to rich shades of purple, has been converted from a former piggery at Deer Park Farm. Steve and Ann Jacques have transformed the area into a lavender farm, visitor centre, gift shop, herb and plant sales and tea room. The incredible amount of work can be fully appreciated if you read the interesting information boards, which provide an insight into the centre’s development.

Naturalists will love the Nature Trail Challenge, where you can discover a wealth of information about the countryside.

Not only the birds and bees, but butterflies and trees are included. Then in the Physic Garden you can marvel at the medicinal magic of plants. You may see how the cottage industry transforms plant into product.

A woodland trail changes from season to season, and in summertime the Sculpture and Jubilee walks lead through a fair feast of colourful countryside wildflowers. New to ourselves is the Sculpture Walk. Children will love the step back in time and walk with the dinosaurs and deer! A great favourite too is the willow maze where one can weave along and find giant-sized games along the way. Read about the origins of giant chess and draughts, noughts and crosses, nine men’s morris and the ancient game of ringing the deer too. Then try your own skills!

Go for the day, as there’s plenty to do in this family-friendly atmosphere which appeals to all ages. Raised lavender and herb beds, level access, and disabled facilities ensure the site is welcoming to all.

Then, when you’re fit to drop, be lured into the tempting gift shop with preserves and lavender honey; beauty products containing 100 per cent pure lavender oil and home-sewn products.

Finally, you’ll welcome refreshment in the lavender tea room. It serves light refreshments hot or cold, ice creams, and their speciality which is home-baked lavender scones and cream teas.

Before leaving, don’t forget the plant sales, with lavender, herbs and wildflower nursery. Treat yourself to a memento of your visit - a plant that will return annually to remind you of the Wolds Way Lavender Farm.

Opening times: Until May 31 10am-4pm Sun to Thurs; June 1 to June 30 10am-4pm open daily; July 1 to August 31 10am-5pm open daily; September 1 to October 31 10am-4pm Sun to Thurs.

Free car, bike, caravan and coach parking. Coaches welcome, dogs welcome on lead.

Admission varies according to dates. Concessions available.

Location: Half a mile off the A64. Only 25 minutes drive from Scarborough.

Access: Take the A64 Scarborough to Malton road and by-pass West Heslerton. Then turn south along a minor road (ie Sandy Lane) as signed Driffield 15 miles, West Lutton 7 miles and Wintringham 1.5 miles. Just half a mile along this lane is Wolds Way Lavender, well indicated to the right.

NB A bus service runs between Scarborough and Malton.

Telephone: (01904) 758641 for more details.