Few villages have a lovelier setting than this countryside around Hackness and Suffield. From Hackness, beautiful wooded valleys extend northwards, like fingers from the palm of a hand.
This lovely, short walk explores the environs of Suffield, east of Hackness, and provides a kaleidoscope of ever-changing scenery which is particularly attractive in springtime.
From Scarborough, one should travel to Scalby village and then take Hay Lane over Hay Brow to the road junction. Here, turn left towards Suffield, and the walk starts from the road junction, near a cottage selling organic products including milk, butter, cheese, yogurt, pork from Happy Trotters, and vegetables. Also for sale is beer, wine, cider, juices and cordials. Call back later.
Start by descending through Suffield, passing Northfield and Suffield Cottages off right, with a couple of ponds opposite as you approach Northfield Farm, a sign indicating ‘bends’, and 17 per cent gradient.
Just beyond stone cottages and a farm, round the bend and bear left off the road, near a sign for Hackness and Forge Valley. You’ll see a cart or barrow of vegetables and eggs for sale. This is the start of your track cross-country. It leads to the brow of a hill, from where a water tower is seen on the horizon.
Ignoring public footpaths either side, remain on Limestone Lane with the water tower across the field to your left. Glimpse deer nearby! At a junction, go right to pass the access to Suffield Heights (farm only).
Descend a rough track, and almost immediately seek a low waymarker to your right. Here, go left to discover a public footpath sign indicating your route beneath hawthorn bushes. A narrow footpath threads its way between bushes, primrose banks and celandines. Here you’ll find an old lime kiln.
The path descends, and banks steepen. They’re densely clad with wild garlic called ramsons. Crush the leaves to release the pungent smell of garlic. At the lower end cross a stile and traverse a field, keeping close behind Greengate Wood to your left.
Reaching the road to Hackness, cross with care to Thirlsey Bottoms. Turn briefly left to cross an obvious ford at Crossdales Beck. Wade across or jump! Turn left along the green for almost 100 yards, and veer right towards Thirlsey Wood. A blue bridleway arrow directs you right along the edge of woodland. The track enters a blue-arrowed farmgate. Keep ascending Thirlsey Wood with post and wire fencing to the right.
At the top, enter a gate. Sheep are in the nearby field. Follow the grassy area between the field’s boundary and stone walling. Next, walk around the perimeter of a horse field to your left, and reach Thirlsey Farm. Cut right across a field before Thirlsey Cottage is approached and drop down the bank to find a gate in the corner. Enter the waymarked gate and follow the public footpath to the edge of a field. Either, turn right beside hedging along a good footpath, or keep the line of electricity posts to your left as you cut across a corn crop to find an old tree and hedges etc.
Meet a four-finger post by a track in the corner near the tip of woodland. The sign indicates Suffield, Hackness, Coomboots, and Silpho. Keep straight forward to Suffield.
From a rutted track go off left through a handgate and follow the footpath’s hedged boundary alongside a large field of rape, towards an electricity post. Turn left beside the rape field to meet the hedging again, and keep it to your right.
At the far end, enter a waymarked gate and proceed along a grassed path with stone walling to the right and cornfield off left. Finally, nearing the route’s end, a gate provides access to the road in Suffield, and your starting point. Turn left to the road junction, and collect all your provisions from the cider and farm shop.
Distance: A good three miles of varied terrain.
Allow: Two hours of gentle walking and coffee break.
Dogs: Please keep dogs leashed near farm stock and pheasants etc.
Refreshment: Ideal locations for a picnic.
Map: Ordnance Survey OL27 Explorer Map. North York Moors Eastern Area. Scale: 2.5 inches to one mile.