A Walker’s Journal by Anthony Linick
For those who have walked in Yorkshire two regions will undoubtedly have special resonance, the famous Dales and the North York Moors. I encountered the first of these while walking the Pennine Way and Wainwright’s Coast-to-Coast Path offered an introduction to both of these areas. But there is another part of this northern world offering wonderful opportunities for the long-distance walker, the Yorkshire Wolds. The Yorkshire Wolds Way was, in fact, one of the earliest of the National Trails. It offers walkers a unique visit to a region south of the moors and north of the Humber estuary in an eighty-mile journey that drops in and out of its narrow, dry valleys and tops its wooded highlands.
I had long been interested in undertaking its challenges but there were problems in organizing such a march, particularly in finding accommodation among its scattered villages. More recently, however, there had arrived a number of organizations specializing in providing support for walkers – finding accommodation and transporting heavy luggage from spot to spot – and my long-time walking companion and former student Gavan suggested we give this route a try in 2017. And so we did.
We were supplied with two guidebooks, the national trail guide, The Yorkshire Wolds Way by Tony Gowers and Roger Ratcliffe, and the Cicerone guide to Walking The Cleveland Way and Yorkshire Wolds Way by Paddy Dillon. Our trip organizer, Contours, also provided us with four OS maps in the two-and-a-half inch to the mile format, sheet 293 (Kingston Upon Hull & Beverley), sheet 294 (Market Weighton & Yorkshire Wolds Central), sheet 300 (Howardian Hills & Malton) and sheet 301 (Scarborough, Bridlington & Flamborough Head). These days the purchase of such publications offers the buyer the additional opportunity of downloading the map onto their smart phones – and this we did as well.
Shortly after making our bookings the BBC offered a two-part series on walking the Wolds Way. I refused to watch it until I had completed the route, though I needn’t have feared that doing so would have made my own experience into a boring repetition since, like so many TV programs that propose to introduce the viewer to a walking experience, it had little to do with the actual route itself. Paul Rose, its narrator, described the YWW as “easy,” but did he really walk it? I would not say it was overly difficult or really testing but it did require strenuous activity, some long stretches and a number of very steep ascents. We did find it a very rewarding experience with wonderful vistas throughout and we were delighted with the welcome we received on the way.
Incidentally, if you are entirely new to the walking enterprise you may find some hints in organizing such a walk (and yourself) in my A Walker’s Alphabet – Adventures on The Long-Distance Footpaths of Great Britain, available from the publisher, AuthorHouse, or from Amazon or any of the other online booksellers. And you can always let me know how you got on by using the Contact Page on this website.
The miles I have listed for each of the following stages are not official but represent our best estimate of the miles we actually walked.
Day 1: Hessle to Melton – 5.5 miles
Day 2: Melton to South Cave – 8 miles
Day 3: South Cave to Goodmanham – 12 miles
Day 4: Goodmanham to Millington – 9 miles
Day 5: Millington to Thixendale – 11.5 miles
Day 6: Thixendale to Wintringham – 12.5 miles
Day 7: Wintringham to Ganton – 9 miles
Day 8: Ganton to Filey – 12.5 miles