Here’s a great walking route ideal for autumn when the leaves present their pageantry of colour. Remote country lanes, plantations, fields, farms and pretty villages of Hutton Buscel and Wykeham make for a memorable six-mile walk.
Start from Hutton Buscel’s bus shelter on the Main Street. Access is by private transport or the East Yorkshire service bus 128. Check the bus timetable in advance to avoid waiting.
From the bus shelter, go briefly left to the Middle Lane in Hutton Buscel. Descend this lane alongside the church walling to the right.
Cross the A170 with care to take up the lane opposite as signed to Wykeham Lakes. Follow the grassed verge directly towards Charm Park. The lane makes a right-angled bend, beyond which features the site of Wykeham Lakes, unfortunately screened by trees to the left.
Pass a permissive track to Tetherings Plump off right, and keep heading south along the Long Causeway Road. From a silo, you enter a shady section between plantations. Read the notice ahead on your left regarding the ‘Natural Retreat, working in partnership with Dawnay Estate’.
Sheep-grazing features, and an electricity pylon, is seen ahead before you pass beneath electricity wires and seek off right a rough track signed as ‘unsuitable for motors’, by Danby’s Riggs Plantation. To your distant right is Swan Hill Farm.
Your permissive track leads into a metalled lane from Wykeham Carr Farm, and in autumn, crab apples from green to rosy pink hues deck the roadside verge.
Continue on the lane past a turning to Swan Hill Farm, and observe cottages to your left – one being named Cream Cottage. Perhaps you can guess why? With fields opposite, the scene changes to that of a leafy lane. Graced either side with trees of many species, how many can you identify? Notice a track off right which unites with Long Causeway Road, so don’t follow it!
The road-bridge crosses a stream, and then beyond low beech hedging is Wykeham Abbey, though you won’t see it from the road. Wykeham Abbey occupies part of the site of a priory founded here around 1153. It was for nuns of the Cistercian order. There are only slight remains of the priory buildings, however. A sign, ‘No Entry’, prohibits access to the abbey. Ahead features the lovely lodge and grand gateway to the grounds. You may have glimpses of the ground. Look at trees lining the right verge. They’re lime trees. Fine mature trees are admired to either side, and pheasants frequent the cover.
As the lane swings right, smart grassed verges greet your entry to a 30mph zone, and the outskirts of Wykeham village. Stone walling and stone-built cottages overlook fields.
Nearing the bend you’ll discover Davey and Son East Coast Field and Stream Suppliers of sporting shot guns, rifles, game fishing supplies and other field sports etc.
Walk up the village street, past Dawnay Estate and Wykeham Business Centre to return to the A170. Here turn right and you’ll discover Wykeham Tea Rooms just ahead. What better place for refreshment? Then cross to the opposite side of the main road, and surprise, surprise, St Helen’s Cafe and Shop announces its tempting provisions! With an all day breakfast available, cold sandwiches, daily specials and cakes, what more could you desire? What’s more, you can either eat in or take away!
Having enjoyed a splendid walk, and re-fuelled your energies, take the next turning left uphill to Hutton Buscel.
At the top, bear right with the lane through the village. On the corner of Great Moor Road is The Holt, and opposite is St Matthew’s Church, tucked away among trees. Beauty and peace go hand in hand in this village on a green hill. You’ll find stone houses, both old and new, and in this idyllic place lived the Buscels, as far back as the 12th century. The earliest family members would have seen the building of St Matthew’s Church.
The massive tower of that era still stands, although it has been restored after damage by lightning.
Take time to view the church. I understand it has a Jacobean pulpit, and a beautiful oak reredos, to mention just a couple of features to be admired.
Leaving the church gate, turn right to appreciate more of this secluded village, before returning to the bus shelter or private transport.
Distance: Six miles. Allow three hours for viewing scenes of interest.
Terrain: Good, easy level walking most of the route. Just a short ascent up to Hutton Buscel.
Access: Bus service 128 (check time table to Pickering/Helmsley in advance).
Map reference: Ordnance Survey Explorer Map, North York Moors Eastern Area. Scales 2.5 inches to 1 mile.