This walk, visiting interesting remote villages linked by single-track lanes, is the answer to wet conditions and winter blues.
Taking the A170 Scarborough to Pickering road, go towards Helmsley via Middleton and Aislaby and turn off at the sign indicating Wrelton a quarter of a mile. In the village fork right uphill as to Cropton 2.25 miles and then fork left as signed Cropton two miles. Immediately upon entering Cropton park near the New Inn if you’re a real ale enthusiast. Cropton Brewery is just a couple of miles east of Lastingham. It produces a range of beers such as Monkman’s Slaughter and Honey Gold made with local honey. The brewery and visitor centre open daily during the season, but in winter by arrangement only.
Start from the New Inn and walk up to the village green, with its horsechestnut tree, seat and fabulous views!
From here, bear left to Lastingham, two miles ahead. Dropping down the wooded hillside to Cropton Bridge, turn left to Lastingham, 1.75 miles. You pass Beck House as the narrow lane hedged with hazel leads by woodland and horse pasture.
Continue over the bridged stream and a majestic row of trees grace the roadside in Lower Askew. Watch out for partridges!
Ignore the turning off left to Appleton-le-Moors. Instead bear right up the bracken-fringed Ings Lane leading to Lastingham. Rising and falling, narrowing and winding by sheep pasture, bridge and barns, you reach beautiful stone-built properties on the outskirts of the village. Veering right uphill, away from a ‘No through road’, go left over the bridge and Lastingham Church is seen to your right. The church lies in a hollow between moors and woodland and should be visited if time permits.
The Venerable Bede once described the area as “among lofty and remote hills, more suitable for the dens of lurking robbers and retreats for wild beasts than the habitations of men.”
Lastingham is where St Cedd, Bishop of East Anglia and once a monk from Lindisfarne, founded his monastery in AD659.
Cedd died of the plague and was buried there in AD664.
He was followed as head of the monastery by his brother St Chad. He later became Bishop of York and Lichfield.
The monastery was destroyed in the 9th century by the Danes. In 1078 Stephen Abbot of Whitby set out to rebuild it. He built the crypt as a shrine to St Cedd, who lies buried beside the altar.
The Norman crypt is unique in this country - a small church in itself. The present church was built in 1228 on the foundations of St Stephen’s abbey church. It’s quite awe-inspiring to stand in the peaceful crypt where those ancient saints once walked.
Three holy wells were dedicated to St Cedd, St Chadd and St Ovin. They once served as part of the village’s water supply.
Leaving the church, why not call at the Blacksmith Arms opposite? Feeling refreshed you’ll enjoy the trek ahead.
Returning to the lane, walk uphill as signed to Appleton-le-Moors. Your route follows Oldfield Lane, which is narrow and rises steeply, presenting great views into the valley.
Keep straight forward into Kirkgate Lane, leading to Appleton-le-Moors. Approaching the village, turn off left near a seat on the green, where a sign indicates ‘Cropton 2 miles’.
Keep to the very narrow Hamley Lane as it gently descends and swings away from Appleton Mill Farm. Descending Howldale Lane, the farm named Hamley Hagg is off right. Gorgeous views beyond pastures extend to the distant valley. Shortly, Cropton village is recognised on the hilltop. Cross the stone road bridge and view the little waterfalls. Re-uniting with the road in Lower Askew, turn right as signed to Cropton, only one and a quarter miles to go.
Handsome beech hedging leads to the next road bridge spanning the beck as you retrace your steps to Cropton.
At the next sign turn right at the junction and beyond the bridge follows a steady climb uphill of three-quarters of a mile. At the summit features the village green and spreading chestnut tree.
Before returning to the New Inn, please spare time to divert left to fully appreciate the lovely village of Cropton.
Distance: Seven miles of good, dry terrain, but some hills.
Refreshment: The New Inn, Cropton, and the Blacksmith’s Arms, Lastingham.
l This route may be enjoyed in its entirety by walkers, cyclists, and motorists alike.