Written By Chris Young
The Yorkshire Wolds lie to the east of God’s Own County and are often overshadowed by the Yorkshire Dales or Moors.
Indeed The Yorkshire Wolds Way is, arguably, one of the least well known National Walking Trails in Britain. It is 79 miles – or one week – of tranquil, isolated villages in the midst of beautiful Yorkshire countryside.
The trail starts at its most southern point in Hessle, at the foot of the Humber Bridge, heads north and then ends in the seaside town of Filey. Whether you decide to walk the Way, or just visit the villages on the trail, you can be sure that the Wolds will leave a life-long impression. Here are the top 10 places to visit..
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This village, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, is at the start of the National Walking Trail. The trail starts from the bank of the Humber estuary before progressing into the heart of the Yorkshire Wolds.
Welton offers great views of the famous Humber Bridge – which was once the longest single-span suspension bridge when it was built in 1981 – at one mile long. Once you’ve taken some photos of the bridge, you can then head off for a nice, refreshing glass of wine at a nearby winery. The village is very well known for its wine tasting, as there are several Yorkshire vineyards in the area – yum.
2. South Cave.
This village is situated 14 miles to the west of Hull City Centre on the way to the market town of Market Weighton. If you get tired of walking, simply hop on a Penny Farthing and cycle your way through some of the Wolds.
There are a few Penny Farthing clubs in the area where you can visit these antique ‘high bikes’ – and perhaps even be allowed to ride one. Or, if you’re lucky, you might stumble across a Penny Farthing club event where experts in the area race the bikes for fun and you can just spectate.
Speaking of racing, there is a unique event that occurs at the village of Kiplingcotes – which is 3.5 miles north-east of Market Weighton – every third Thursday in March, without fail.
It is the oldest horse race in Britain, and runs across 4 miles of the Wolds majestic countryside, every year since it began in 1519. Anyone can enter the race and, whether you’re competing or simply spectating, it makes for an excellent day out.
The Yorkshire countryside just gets better as you head further and further into the Wolds. Situated a couple of miles north-east of Pocklington lies the village of Millington.
You might think that the stunning, vast landscapes surrounding this village look like they have stepped out from a painting – and that’s because they have. One of Yorkshire’s most famous painters, David Hockney, used the rolling hills of the Wolds as subjects for his paintings numerous times.
The Wolds are described as ‘David Hockney’s playground’ as stepping through them is essentially like stepping through works of art. Millington, in particular, is the subject for one of Hockney’s most memorable paintings: ‘A Larger Valley’. Although visitors often say that the real thing is much more impressive.
There are several pretty churches around the Wolds, but one of the prettiest is St. James’ Church in Nunburnholme. This village lies approximately 3 miles east of Pocklington and is a popular stop on the Wolds Way walking trail.
St. James’ church is full of history; it was built in the 13th century and had a very famous vicar between 1854 and 1893 called Reverend Morris. Reverend Morris used to study the wildlife around the area and produced a definitive guide during his time as vicar called ‘A History of British Birds’.
With its Early English architecture, and buzzing wildlife, St James’ church is definitely worth a visit.
Thixendale is a village 20 miles east of York in the Wolds. If you like your art, you should visit Thixendale, without a shadow of a doubt. It is home to the Robert Fuller Gallery, where a lot of famous Wolds Way artwork is displayed.
Thixendale is certainly off-the-beaten-track – as it’ is one of the most remote villages on the trail – which makes it very peaceful and entrancing.
If you have time, you can make a short detour just off the Wolds Way – around 4 miles north of Bridlington – and head to Bempton. Bempton is well known for their famous 350-feet-high chalk cliffs. The best way to see the cliffs is by taking the Yorkshire Belle out to sea on the RSPB boat trip.
However, if you’re not really into boats, you can simply walk along the cliff top where you can spot more than 250,000 birds in their peak time of May – hence why Bempton is called ‘Sea Bird City’.
8. Wharram Percy
If you thought Thixendale was remote, then think again. Wharram Percy is the most famous deserted medieval village in Britain on the western edge of the Wolds. It is about 1 mile south of Wharram-le-Street and attracts many visitors annually.
It was founded in approximately the 9th or 10th century, and was occupied for about 600 years, before being abandoned in the 16th century. It has an eerie yet mystical quality – and is certainly not to be missed.
Nearing the end of the trail is the village of Wintringham in the Ryedale district of North Yorkshire – 6 miles east of Malton. You can climb the hill to the sculpture; though, be warned, it is a steep climb.
However, it is worth it when you reach the top, as those panoramic views of the North York across the Vale of Pickering are a treat for the eyes.
The final stop of the Way, where you can get some scrumptious fish and chips, is Filey. A great place to pause and take a breath, this seaside town is picturesque and offers fun for the whole family. It is part of the borough of Scarborough on the north east coast of England and has lovely beaches, as well as gorgeous greenery.
Filey Dams Nature Reserve is a must do for any wildlife lover, or perhaps you’d rather go golfing at Filey Golf Club. No matter how you decide to spend your time, Filey’s variety makes it easy to understand why it is loved by tourists and locals alike.
Whether you choose to cover some of these stops, all of these stops, or perhaps even just one – the Yorkshire Wolds Way is sure to awe and inspire at some point. You only have to take one look at the mesmerising, endless, rolling hills of the famous Yorkshire countryside for the Wolds to be imprinted in your mind, and in your heart, forever.