It could be the Broads!

Driffield Canal
Driffield Canal

Written by Maureen Robinson

Evocative Emmotland mirrors scenes of the Norfolk Broads or even Holland! The low-lying level land drained by ditches is mainly agricultural, with private fishing in ponds left by sand and gravel extraction.

Chat to any barge folk you may see along the canal; cross bridges spanning the water courses; seek the somewhat rare water vole, and meet an occasional fisherman or farmer in this remote region.

Brigham, from where this admirable walk of about six miles departs, lies about five miles south-east of Driffield, and 25 miles from Scarborough.

From Driffield, the capital of the Wolds, take the B1249 to Wansford and turn right as signed to North Frodingham.

Access. The winding lane leads to cross-roads where Cruckley Lane and Brigham Lane unite. Here, turn right along Brigham Lane to park alongside the road in this small, idyllic village. Please take care not to obstruct access to properties etc.

Walk down the lane to Brigham Bridge – a fine, railed swing bridge. Cross the bridge and turn left along the 
embankment of the Driffield Canal. Please ensure any dogs are kept on a lead.

Level fields extend for miles, and North Frodingham is seen eastwards.

Passing Brigham Sailing Club, wander along the peaceful footpath. Entering a gate, glance back at Brigham village elevated on the hillside above the flood-plain.

Frodingham Beck enters Driffield canal to your left and meanders across Jarrett’s Ing. Enter a farm gate near an adjacent dyke to reach a footbridge. Pass up and over the arched crossing and turn left. This is just the spot to watch the natural world go by.

Reaching a berth for motor launches and barges etc, cross a stile and leave by a gate to proceed to Bethell’s Bridge. Cross the swing bridge and turn immediately left.

At the far end of a path cross a waymarked stile. Follow the grassed area between the canal and ditch, and then veer right, away from the canal towards a farmhouse. Cross the red-bricked bridge and enter a farm gate. Passing Low Emmotland Farm, a farm track continues. A chalk lane leads by a poultry farm and the driveway to Emmotland House to meet a junction.

Swing left away from the private Langholme Hill Fishery.

The pretty lane winds through Emmotland, linking a chain of glistening ponds.

Remain on Howes Lane, ignoring any public footpath diversions. Fishermen may relate tales of “the one that got away,” but they’re sure to have caught varieties such as roach, perch, carp and tench.

Bull frogs have been reported (huge ones introduced from Argentina), and water voles too may be sighted.

Meeting Church Lane, turn left at the Old Vicarage to pass Frodingham Church on the corner. Keep to the right road verge and cross Churchend Bridge, and shortly Frodingham Bridge before Bridge Farm is reached.

Reaching Grange Farm, a public footpath sign on the opposite side of the road indicates a route away from traffic returning you to Brigham.

Either remain on the B1249 and turn first left at the cross-roads to return down Brigham Lane, or select the alternative footpath route.

The latter passes through Grange Farm off left, heading west up the hillside to leave by a gate opening into Brigham Lane.

Returning to the starting point, you may feel in need of refreshment. As there are no facilities directly along this route, I would suggest you play safe and take a picnic!

Distance of route: 6 miles approximately.

Refreshment: Take a flask and picnic to enjoy at your convenience.

NB Binoculars and camera may prove an asset.