This splendid little walk around the attractive village of Thornton-le-Dale will delight all ages. Specially chosen for the festive season, it follows country lanes and is charming when Christmas lights enhance its natural attractions.
Thornton-le-Dale retains an olde-worlde charm with many tranquil and beautiful sights. It’s situated on the southern edge of the North York Moors and lies about two miles east of Pickering along the A170 Scarborough to Pickering road. A Boxing Day or New Year’s Day treat to visit this village will really “put the icing on the cake!”
Entering Thornton-le-Dale from Scarborough, the Church of All Saints is seen on high ground to the right. Sir Richard Cholmley is buried in the chancel, and in the churchyard is the gravestone of Matthew Grimes who fought at Waterloo and guarded Napoleon on the Island of St Helena.
Immediately beyond the church, turn first left into Dog Kennel Lane, respecting residents’ access before parking here.
Start from here and walk up this pretty lane to meet its union with Rectory Lane and Peaslands Lane. Here, go left along Rectory Lane, which continues to meet South Lane. This pleasant backwater of stone-built properties leads to the road junction by bearing left along the northern tip of Hurrell Lane. The High Hall stands impressively to your left.
Meeting the High Street, cross with care and bear immediately left into Church Lane. Begin the descent past cottages and houses, and view the church ahead. Skirting the churchyard walling, drop down to the road junction and turn sharp right into Priestman’s Lane. This was named after the family who built the large houses there in the 18th Century. Bedecked with evergreens, this lane swiftly accompanies Thornton Beck as it glides beneath bridges and glimpses Midstream Cottage and rural scenes.
Beyond the ‘Ford’ sign, admire Burgess Mill ahead. From the road bridge, deviate off right at number six lamp post, where a signed public bridleway leads to views of a fish ladder. Then return and cross the little wooden footbridge to rejoin the road past the mill (Burgess Group).
Continue up Whitbygate with woodland to the right. As Ellerburn Road enters on the right, keep to Whitbygate. Ascending to the road junction, turn left downhill along the verge footpath to re-enter Thornton-le-Dale. From the Buck Inn at the corner of Chestnut Avenue, turn right to reach Classic Car Sales at DT Mathewsons. The motor museum may be open, with classic and vintage cars and motorbikes form 1918-1976 and a chance to watch the restoration process!
Then, cross the road (A170) to enter Roxby Road. Walk past Archway Lane, Roxby Gardens, Roxby Terrace, and Roxby Garth before sweeping left with the road to enter Maltongate.
Turning left by The Corner Cottage, continue along Maltongate with the beck to your right, crossed by footbridges.
Seek off right a turning to the car park and Lakeside Toilets. Follow arrows to the village centre straight ahead. Keeping toilets to the right, follow the lakeside path over a footbridge spanning the beck to enter the village. Cut across to the focal point of the village – The Green, where every Sunday from about mid-July to the end of August, silver and brass bands perform. Don’t miss the village cross, where the annual tribute of red and white herring used to be handed from the Abbot of Whitby to the Hospitallers of St Leonard’s in York. The nearby stocks are a replica of the original.
Walk now along Chestnut Avenue, with Thornton Beck flowing through the village, though divided into many channels. With tearooms and bakeries, inns and restaurants, along with Balderson’s ice cream (in summer), there’s refreshment in abundance.
Beyond Balderson’s are Lady Lumley’s Almshouses to your left. They were founded in 1656 by Elizabeth Viscountess Lumley, who also endowed the old grammar school at the end of the row.
Magnificent horse-chestnut trees flank the beck which flows past the high walls enclosing the Hall’s grounds.
At Bridgefoot House, cross the road bridge and pause to view any trout lurking in the water. Then view Beck Isle thatched cottage situated on the bend. It’s one of the most photographed parts of the village. Many years ago it was used as the laundrymaid’s house.
Cross the bridge and you’ll notice that the waters divide here.
Pass the Hall to your right, and the Church of All Saints stands proudly elevated beside the High Street.
Before reaching the church, cross the A170 to turn right into Dog Kennel Lane and return to your starting point.
Distance: 2.5 miles of easy, firm walking. Interest all the way, and no special foot wear is required.
Allow a good hour or more for a leisurely stroll, and time it for the festive lights to be admired, and a hot pie or sausage roll with a bowl of steaming soup for a warm up!
Refreshment: Plenty of choice in the village centre. Happy Christmas everyone!