Walk tall in this village!

Bondville miniature village.jpg
Bondville miniature village.jpg

Written by Maureen Robinson

Bridlington seems to have everything for the holidaymaker and plenty of 
entertainment for all ages. This week, our day out to Sewerby, as fog lifted, was “the icing on the cake”.

Sewerby Hall and Gardens is celebrating its 300-year anniversary this summer and the Grade I listed hall has been restored to its former glory!

There are 50 acres of stunning gardens to explore, monkey puzzle trees amongst the oldest in Britain, a zoo and aviary, adventure playground, golf, putting and bowls, along with Sewerby Hall dating from 1714.

A pleasant, easy cliff-top stroll from Sewerby Park to Danes Dyke and back over the golf course is stimulating in all seasons.

Then, to complete your perfect day, call at Bondville – a village you won’t find on the map! Why? Because it’s a miniature village within Sewerby and is renowned for its incredible models of hand-crafted scenes depicting everyday life, all set in a beautifully landscaped, one-acre site. You’ll feel like Gulliver on his travels!

Access. Take the A165 towards Bridlington. On the approach to Bridlington, as you reach the roundabout, turn left as signed to Sewerby. Pass a fish and chip shop, and the B1255 takes you along Marton Gate. Reaching large white gates, turn right down Church Lane. Passing the church to your left just beyond the walled perimeter of Sewerby Park, you’ll find a lay-by to your right. It’s just opposite a bus shelter and is fragrant with borders of flowers.

Start. Leaving the lay-by, just cross Main Street below, and leave the gate-houses and lodge behind you. Walk down Seagate and you face the Ship Inn. This family pub is in a beautiful cliff-top location with sea views. There’s a large beer garden looking out across the sea, and a children’s play area.

Turn right in front of the Ship Inn and just beyond is the Old Forge restaurant and tea rooms. Here turn left to enter a delightful, landscaped cul-de-sac of handsome bungalows. Go straight towards the cliff edge, crossing a track used by the land train shuttle, and turn left to enjoy a panoramic cliff-top stroll to Danes Dyke. The complete circular is only about 2.5 miles of easy level walking, with fantastic views. [A flight of steps descends to the beach if you wish to deviate first!] To your left Sewerby grounds, hall and orangery are set amongst gardens etc.

From the beach east of Sewerby steps is the ‘buried cliff’. The cliff turns from clay to that of chalk topped by clay deposited by glaciers during the Ice Age. Your grassy path closely follows the cliff edge so please keep dogs and small children leashed! The clay cliffs are eroding at two to three metres a year so do take care.

Shortly, enter a kissing gate and continue along the well-worn footpath by the cliff edge. Skylarks wing high overhead.

You have spectacular views of gleaming white chalk cliffs which are rich in fossils, especially fine specimens of sponges. Also on the beach are rocks riddled with holes bored by shellfish called piddocks.

At Danes Dyke, close to chalk cliffs, your path swings inland alongside the ravine. This great earthwork is about 18ft high and 2.5 miles in length. It’s believed to be about 3,000 years old. Though probably used by Danish settlers, it must have swarmed with armed men before, and indeed after the Danes.

The golf course is to your left, as your walk continues by the boundary to meet a cross-path, and a seat beneath a tree. Sit and listen to bird-song, eg blackbird, great tit, and chiff-chaff etc.

Here, turn left on a footpath signed to ‘Nature trail, car park and toilets’. Then with the ravine to your right, pass a seat and approach a sturdy post. Go left to follow the arrowed bridleway to Sewerby Hall and village, just one mile ahead.

At a cross-path keep straight ahead. The narrow, well-used path is hedged to the right, and brambles feature either side, with a patch of comfrey off left with coarse, hairy leaves. Yes, you can eat it as a vegetable. Quite nice too!

Your path becomes confined between posts and guides you directly past a pill box used during the war.

A few well-spaced trees to your right, and then an arrow indicates your route between several trees and bushes to cross a grassed area. Pass the pavilions originally viewed from the cliff edge, and note the ‘ha ha’ (or sunken wall/barrier) around the perimeter of Sewerby grounds. It’s now in dire need of repair. Beyond is the bowling green etc and Sewerby Hall. The Graeme family lived in the hall (built 1714) and extended it in 1808. They landscaped the grounds. The hall contains an art gallery and museum including the Amy Johnson collection, a display of mementoes of the pioneer airwoman from Hull.

At the far end you’ll see the land train terminal off left. A post indicates Sewerby village, quarter of a mile. Pass a ticket booth and follow post and wire netting alongside a paddock. Very low brick walling guides you between enclosures to return to the Ship Inn. Turn right to reach the top of Seagate and cross to your point of departure.

Following your walk, you may choose to explore Sewerby Park and enjoy welcome refreshment there, before the next highlight of the day. Leaving the car park, turn right along Main Street to pass the Old Forge, fish and chips, and Methodist Church all on your left, before entering the car park for Bondville model village.

This miniature village is under new ownership. It has an incredible collection of over 200 handcrafted buildings and over 1,000 handmade and painted figures and animals.

The scenes depict beautiful country and coastal life amazingly set into a one-acre site. You’ll feel like a giant as you take a leisurely stroll around Bondville and see its little inhabitants going about their daily lives. Watch the train pulling its carriages round the track. Cross the river and sit by the harbour where fishing boats and cruisers are moored. Admire the castle, and join in the fun of the camping scene. Look out for unexpected humour. Don’t rush. It takes time to fully 
appreciate this masterpiece. It must surely be the finest model village in the country!

Take light refreshment here before returning home.

Distance of drive approximately 36 miles; walk 2 to 2.5 miles.