Walks: Lythe to Ugthorpe is a charming route
Ugthorpe is a small village situated on the edge of the North York Moors, eight miles west of Whitby. It is not on main tourist routes, and has retained its quietness and calm, which adds to its charm.
Take advantage of a sunny day to cross the miles of moorland aglow with purple heather, which surround this bleak spot between Whitby and Guisborough. Some coins were discovered in a field in this village in 1792. It’s believed a Roman settlement existed here in the first century AD.
Start: This linear walk, or drive, departs from the car park at Lythe, opposite The Stiddy (painted white). Turn left along Lodge Road, bearing right from a private entrance to Mulgrave Castle.
Now, just relax and follow the narrow country lane beside meadows and woodland to a warning of bends. Descend to a ford and crossroads, keeping directly ahead to Ugthorpe 1¾ miles. Enjoy views between the trees and from Broom House Farm tall hedges, and broad roadside verges ascend to Ugthorpe and Postgate Way.
Christ Church Hall is to your left and a seat for your relaxation on the corner near the Anglican church – Christ Church, which is shaped like a cross. Opposite the church you’ll see the Old Vicarage screened by trees.
Continuing into the village, stone-built properties with red roofs feature, and reaching Inglenook, to your left, there’s the parish notice-board and post box nearby. Opposite, beyond stone walling, stands St Anne’s Church. This Roman Catholic church has an east window to its founder, Fr Rigby.
In the early 1660s, when Roman Catholics were persecuted, Fr Nicholas Postgate returned from France to his native Yorkshire. He lived for a time at The Hermitage, and said Mass. The villagers apparently knew when this would be when they saw his white sheets hanging out on a hedge to air! More than one priest knew of a chimney in a stable as a good place to hide.
Reaching The Green to your left, see opposite, a small RC chapel where Fr Postgate said Mass, at risk of his life. Visiting local houses in secret, he lived in a cottage until he was dragged to York and condemned to death for baptising a child. He was over 80 when he walked to the scaffold and died smiling, in 1679.
Next you’ll notice White House and Rose Cottage to your right. Originally, a slaughterhouse and factory were at White House, before moving to a site near The Black Bull Inn. A bacon factory was run by Alice and Dinis Hart, who went by pony and trap to Whitby market each Saturday.
Alice died aged 103, and the business was continued by her son and grandson, both named Aaron Hart. The building you see, is now a dwelling, but is still referred to as the Bacon House!
You’ll now appreciate a drink at The Black Bull, set back on the left. Then proceed up the lane to view Ugthorpe Pinfold or Pound beneath a fine sycamore tree. It was used to impound stray cattle or sheep, until such time as the owners claimed them upon payment of a fine.
Look inside the pound to see a remarkable sculpture of a ram, and a seat behind.
Admire the fine building of Ugthorpe House, before completing your walk a little further uphill. At the top of Mill Hill is a great landmark. Standing in a commanding position is the windmill. Once a working mill, it’s now minus its sails and used as a dwelling. There are stunning views from here.
You may observe caravan sites beyond, but I suggest you retrace your steps from the windmill to Lythe village. The views on your return walk extend to the sea near Sandsend – quite dramatic!
Distance: Lythe-Ugthorpe Windmill approximately 7.5 miles return.
Refreshment: The Stiddy in Lythe village, and Lythe Community Shop just above Lodge Road on the main street, selling hot or cold snacks, and home-made cakes and pastries. The Black Bull in Ugthorpe.
Access: By private transport, or Arriva route X93. Check you can dismount in Lythe near The Stiddy.
l In the 1930s there were two cobblers, a watchmaker and a joiner in the village, as well as the bacon factory.