The Yorkshire Wolds Way is seventy-nine miles of National Trail which will take you through some of the most beautiful landscapes and picturesque villages in Yorkshire. Starting just outside Hessle, near Kingston-upon-Hull, and ending just outside Scarborough, the trail will take you under the Humber Bridge, through a number of small villages (and their pubs!), and, of course, the wolds themselves.

Flora and fauna

As well as providing picturesque views and quaint village pubs, the Yorkshire Wolds Way will also introduce you to variety of Yorkshire's native wildlife. The wolds are composed of a large underlying chalk layer, and this heavily influences the plant life you will see. In thin soil, you might spot bee orchids or yellow wort, while plants like wild thyme, burnet Saxifrage, the common rock rose and clustered bellflowers are more common. As you travel through as past woodland, you should see ash trees, which are the most common, along with sycamore, beech and larches.

Oh course, you might also be lucky enough to spot some fauna during your trek, too. At the start of the route, there are wading birds to be seen along the foreshore of the River Humber. Once you reach the open countryside, there are plenty of butterflies to be spotted, like the orangetips, or common blue. And this being the countryside, there's always a good chance you'll see some sheep grazing. Which is nice.

The route

The Yorkshire Wolds Way will take you from Hessle to Filey. The route is pretty long and complicated, so I'll refer you to the resources section below, where you can look up detailed instructions and maps on where to walk. In addition, I would highly recommend "The Official Wolds Way Guidebook", by Roger Ratcliffe, which contains Ordinance Survey 1:25,000 maps for the entire area, clear and easy to follow directions, and is small enough to fit nicely into your rucksack.

There are basic maps available online at the following addresses, if you would like to see where exactly you'll be roaming:


Points of interest

The Yorkshire Wolds Way will take you past a number of interesting areas and buildings. Here are some of the more interesting things on the route:

The Humber Bridge and Hessle Foreshore

At the time of building, the Humber Bridge was the largest single span bridge in the world. The Yorkshire Wolds Way is the only National Trail to have a route by such a significant structure.

The Green Dragon pub

At Welton, stop for a pint in the Green Dragon. In 1739, John Palmer was arrested in the bar, drunk, and under suspicion of horse stealing. He turned out to be none other than Dick Turpin, legendary highwayman and general rogue. From this public house in Welton, he was dragged to York, tried and hung at the gallows.

Market Weighton (no, really!)

Market Weighton might not seem like the most exciting place on Earth right now, but once it was a centre for Roman commerce and trade. On the wold tops around the town, you should see the remains of a Roman amphitheatre, and one of the largest Anglian burial sites in the country. Market Weighton was also the home to William Bradley, who was better known as "the Yorkshire Giant" - born in 1787, he grew to 7ft 9in, weighed 27 stone, and amassed a small fortune touring the country as a fairground freak.

Kiplingcotes Derby

According to an engraving on the winning post, this four mile horse race has be run since 1519, which makes this derby the oldest racecourse in England. It's ran on the third Thursday in March, every year, come rain or shine. What makes the race really interesting, however, are the prizes. First prize is the interest gained since the last race on 360 shillings which was donated by Lord Burlington in 1618, which works out to around £20 nowadays. Second and third place take a share of the entry money, which invariably is much more cash than the first place jackpot.

The deserted village of Wharram Percy

Wharram Percy is one of the most researched medieval villages in the country, and one of the best preserved uninhabited villages in England. Isolation and the black death forced the last house to be abandoned around the year 1500. Three hundred years later, a chalk quarry was excavated nearby, but now this too is deserted, and is also protected as a nature reserve.

One last warning

The route shown on many maps (and unfortunately in the latest edition of the official guide) is slightly out of date. In particular, at Weedley Springs (at grid references 936 330 to 941 350) coastal erosion has destroyed the official path. Once you have gone north down Comber Dale, turn left instead of right at Weedley Springs. There will be an old railway line in your path. Cross it, then turn right on the path passing "Diamond cottage" and climbing Drewton Wold. Eventually you will reach the B1230. Turn right at that point and follow the verge until you get back onto the Wolds Way path again.

Resources and Bibliography

  • The Yorkshire Wolds Way
    Official government website, with an online map, and links to books and maps to buy. Very handy!
  • Yorkshire Wolds Way National Trail Guide, by Roger Ratcliffe
    ISBN: 1854109863
    Contains all the Ordinance Survey maps and instructions you'll need to follow the Yorkshire Wolds Way route.
  • Malcolm Hodgson, National Trails Officer
    E-mail for more details on closures and diversions on the Wolds Way route.

Created as part of wertperch's UK tourism quest.
Everything Quests: Places to visit in Ireland and the UK » A Tourist Guide to Northeast England

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