A favourite short walk of ours includes a couple of villages about four miles south south west of Scarborough, namely Seamer and Irton.
Seamer is easily accessed by private or public transport as far as St Martin’s Church, Seamer. This large village owes its name to a great lake or mere which used to exist near the church – a ‘mere’ near the ‘sea’.
If you park, or dismount between the church and Ratten Row, you’ll have excellent views to the left of land behind the church where stand the ruins of the manor house of the Percy family.
On the moor are numerous early earthworks. Gold and silver ornaments dating back to the Saxons have been found here!
Start: Stroll towards Seamer roundabout, noting the village hall almost opposite the Londesborough Arms; the Copper Horse; Proudfoot’s; the Mayfield and Seamer Fisheries, with a youth centre which used to be the village school. You’ll find plenty of refreshment choices here!
Continue beyond Seamer roundabout, and take the first turning left into Irton village. You’re now in Main Street, having left Ayton Road.
To your left near number 23 is the site where the controversial beech tree was felled in October 2011. The century old tree, some 55ft in height, made national headlines, when it was allegedly causing damage to an adjacent property. Following a court hearing Scarborough Borough Council was granted a licence to fell the tree, at great cost!
Walk along Main Street, with its stone walling and properties harmonising with the rural setting, or sit a while on the millennium seat provided from funds raised by Irton’s residents. Then stroll forward to pass the junction with Porrit Lane, opposite Grange Court, which will be your return route.
Jersey Court to the left, bears reference to Jersey cattle that were kept there. There used to be five farms with dairy herds in this village, two of which were Jersey cattle.
Irton was my home in the early 1960s, and the farmer, Mr Fred Keith, and his assistant, Leila Dutton, were great pals. Sadly those days are history and dairy farming has ended.
Winding around the bends you’ll pass Keeper’s Cottage and Water Works Farm to the right. Caravans and Irton Riding Centre lie off left before you reach Irton Water Treatment Works supplying Yorkshire Water. Did you know you were almost walking on water? The underground reservoir was tapped to supply water to Scarborough and the surrounding district. The first trial bore-hole was drilled in 1879. Irton and Seamer were built over an underground lake. Steam engines raised the water which was stored at the Scarborough reservoir after filtration, before it went electric in 1928. Although you can’t see the building itself. I understand it’s a fine example of late Victorian architecture around 1884. Another attractive seat and planters are to be admired close by.
At the far end of the lane features Waterworks Cottage, opposite Clock Cottage, which used to bear the old station clock. You now face the dismantled railway, where farmers once operated the gates manually. The Scarborough to Pickering railway line last operated in the early 1950s.
Turn left along Goose Mire Lane, with field beans to your right, and hedging of willows and conifers at the start, to the left. Follow the fine broad track between massive fields of arable land. Electricity pylons stride across the valley in line with your route. Walk only as far as the bend, and woodland. Here, leave the track to keep close beside the woodland, with a ploughed field alongside.
The narrow footpath shortly accompanies a ditch to the right. Irton Dike is a very steep cutting which deserves respect! Very pretty in summertime with rosebay willowherb and meadowsweet, but by autumn maybe just a few plants of yellow ragwort.
Veer right over a red-bricked bridge, and go immediately left beyond, so the ditch and hedging are now to your left. Can you see Seamer church midst trees to the right? St Martin’s Church, dedicated to St Martin Bishop of Tours is the oldest building in Seamer. It was built on an earlier Saxon foundation.
Keep straight forward to the end of hedging, where your path continues along the top of a field. You’ll see riding stables and camp site beyond the dike. Keep to the side, ignoring a footbridge.
An arrowed post guides you left across a rough field well-used by dog walkers. This leads directly to Grange Court, with attractive properties and floral displays. At the far end and enter Main Street.
Now go straight across into Porrit Lane between bungalows, and at the far end is the A170 Ayton Road. Your bus stop into Scarborough is beside a bus shelter to the right. However, our walk makes a little diversion. Cross the A170 with care into Irton Moor Lane. Just ahead on your right is a hut for Irton’s Cubs and Scouts. Beyond, you’ll find Irton’s Garden Centre and Cottage Coffee Shop. What a perfect place to end your walk. Purchase a memento of your visit and treat yourself to appetising refreshment! With gardening and plant area, farm shop, restaurant, and gifts to peruse, you’ll be pleasantly occupied until departure time. Then return to the A170, or walk back to Seamer for the bus of your choice, or to collect your private transport.
Distance from Seamer return is four miles.
Refreshment: Irton Garden Centre and Cottage Coffee Shop. Open Monday to Saturday, 9am-5pm, Sunday 10.30am-4.30pm (01723) 862978.