REYTA Finalist Just Beverley shortlisted nominee o2 community publication award 2017

Explore Folly Lake Café, Risby Park Fishing Ponds and Country Walks

Winning the Remarkable Cuppa award at this year’s Remarkable East Yorkshire Tourism Awards was Folly Lake Café at Risby Park, just a short walk across the fields or by road from Walkington.

The four Risby Park Fishing Ponds have often been quoted as the local coarse anglers’ favourite place to fish due to the range of fishing, the good distance between the pegs and no bans on the type of bait that can be used. But adding to that list must now be the availability of such a great little café with delicious food and that all important cup of tea!

The fishing ponds were first opened 17 years ago on the site of Risby Hall, which was, after several fires, finally burnt to the ground in 1784.

However, the terraces can still be seen along with the folly, which remains on the bank of the lake which adopts its name. The folly has a hearth and steps leading down to the lake which would suggest it was once accessible by boat and was used as a shelter, possibly for fishermen or deer hunters. It’s also likely there was a roof on the building. Rumour has it that the Ellerkers, who lived at Risby Hall, wanted somewhere nice to sit and watch the swans.

Today you can sit and watch the world go by from the veranda of the café! The Risby estate has been in the Clappison family for 3 generations. While Park Farm islooked after by John, brother Anthony looks after the Lakes and café. Along with wife Jo and her team of Phillip and Kerry, Folly Lake Café produces the most amazing range of freshly-made food, including salads, sandwiches, soups, burgers, breakfasts and fabulous cakes in one of the smallest, most well-organised kitchens you are every likely to find.

Ever mindful of the needs of their customers, many who return frequently, the café uses locally-sourced ingredients and always lists gluten and dairy-free options on the menu as standard. There are vegetarian meals and children’s portions. Extremely popular are the hand-cut ‘fat’ chips – they are so tasty that sometimes Jo admits they are challenged to keep up with demand! If a chip could be legendary, then perhaps Folly Lake’s chips fit that bill.

Along with the tea, coffee and soft drinks, the café has an alcohol license. There are canned and bottled beers and Jo sources wine from specialist merchant, Berkman Wine Sellers which she sells by the bottle or glass to suit. The most popular wines are the Sauvignon Blanc, Verdelho and Merlot, but there are other grapes depending on recommendation by Berkman’s.

Having a license makes the café a great place for a party. After the café has closed to the public, it could be a special place to meet with friends and family on a warm summer’s evening to celebrate a birthday. Anthony is the man to call to discuss possibilities on 07860 255981.

Of course, being situated where it is, there are some great walks. Just walking round the 4 ponds makes a very pleasant stroll, though not allowed on match days. The ‘Risby Round’ is a 2.9-mile walk from the café back to the café which takes about 1 hour. Extending the walk can include Skidby, with Walkington only 6 miles away too. At the end of your ramble, there is the welcoming café.

The site is registered by English Heritage in recognition of its historic interest, even though it is owned privately. There are information sheets in the café describing the history of Risby Park along with picture maps of the ‘Risby Round’ which add to your enjoyment.

The lakes are open for fishing all the year round, from 6am – 9.30pm in summer. Earlybirds often catch a glimpse of a deer wandering around the park, although you will have to wait for your breakfast until the café opens at 9.30am (later in winter) and ensure you get your tea before it closes at 5pm (4pm in winter).

Risby Park offers a great day out for the whole family. Fishing, walking, bird-watching and a fabulous café – what’s not to like?

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