Over the past three years it has been my pleasure to share in Just Beverley, some of the splendid walks around our town and surrounding countryside. Last year our focus was on twelve lovely local villages, I hope you enjoyed some of them, if not, they are all on the website justbeverley.co.uk
In 2020, I have something a little more ambitious to offer - walking the whole Yorkshire Wolds Way National Trail - from the Humber Foreshore at Hessle to the North Sea at Filey, a gentle afternoon`s ramble of seventy nine miles! Just a cock stride compared to the 268 mile Pennine Way or the mammoth 870 of the Wales Coastal Path.
Of course, I suggest we do this in easy stages, certainly I will be - six days of about thirteen miles, seems reasonable, you could have more stages and there is no need to do them on consecutive days - ideally go only in fine weather.
My friend, local singer, Simon Davey, shares his experience of completing this most lovely of walks - over ten years! Interest in the walk has grown since being launched in 1983, a recent BBC TV documentary presented by Paul Rose, raising its profile.
I will cover the entire route in three monthly articles, between early spring and early summer, the best time of the year, with lengthening days and ever-greener landscapes. The first, next month, will cover the first twenty miles or so along the Humber from Hessle, through the delectable valleys at Welton and Brantingham and over to delightful North Newbald, with its outstanding Norman church.
Then over Arras Hill to the disused railway line, just east of Market Weighton - here are regular buses to Beverley. On linear walks, you may need two cars, or an obliging friend to help. Far better, in these green-conscious times, to use buses and trains.
Surprisingly, this is just about possible over the entire route, each article suggests bus and/or train options, allowing leisurely travel from the Beverley area for each stage. If you are lucky and have a bus pass and/or railcard- all the better!
Our second article covers the next twenty miles or so, a stunning area from Market Weighton, through the fine villages of Goodmanham and Londesborough, taking us to a halfway point on the trail at Huggate. A land of big skies and deep secluded valleys, far from traffic and pollution, rich in country churches and prehistoric remains, such as the enigmatic Huggate Dykes.
You may know I can’t resist passing an open church, or seeking out a nearby key holder, such as at Goodmanham or Newbald. Fridaythorpe is a particular favourite, despite being labelled as ‘utterly barbaric’ by Pevsner.
There are many pubs to enjoy on the route, the charms of The Gait Inn at Millington and The Cross Keys at Thixendale are redolent of another era, in my view - all the better for it. Cafes are are a more recent phenomena, popping up in out of the way places, The Fiddle Drill at Goodmanham and The Ramblers at Millington, are splendid ones.
The final article covers the remaining forty miles, only the fittest could begin to contemplate completing that in one go - take at least three days and enjoy slowly. Northwards through beautiful Thixendale, over to the mysterious ruins of Wharram Percy.
We now head into our neighbouring county of North Yorkshire, for me the route along the scarp of the Wolds from Settrington to Hunmanby, is somewhat unfamiliar territory - I am keen to tread its paths and discover its secrets.
Filey Brigg is a splendid and most definitive spot to end any walk, another step and you will be in the North Sea! The town has much to enjoy with outstanding beaches. At the end of this trek, enjoy your fish and chips by the sea and a smashing train ride back to Beverley.
The route of the Way is fairly well way-marked throughout, but it is always best to have the relevant OS maps. I can`t get used to digital, preferring the paper ones, which might get wet and blown around, but to me are the definitive guide. You can get a leaflet on the Way from Beverley TIC, or buy a guidebook to the trail.
Take a camera, you are almost certain to see much wildlife, including buzzards, hares, and deer. A thrilling recent arrival are red kites, who perform their graceful flight in large numbers on the thermals above Nunburnholme. The national trails website: nationaltrail.co.uk/yorkshirewoldsway is great to discover more - and to print your certificate upon completion.
The final words are from to two fine gentleman, local residents who have much enjoyed the Wolds Way. Simon Davey took a decade to do it, in all seasons and weathers, especially loving the sweeping views over the Derwent valley above Grimston. Esteemed Beverley Rotarian, Suham Sidani, told me most eloquently of how pleasantly surprised, he and and his late wife were by the beauty and tranquility of the hidden valleys - they lie just over the horizon, waiting for you and me in the coming months.