Maps: OS Landrangers 100 and 101; Explorer 300
Start: Coastliner bus station (787714)
Finish: A64 by Rillington Church (853743)
Distance: 8.5 miles
Going: Easy and flat first half; two steep hills in second half
Natural England NCA: 27 (Yorkshire Wolds)
Special interest: Chalk Yorkshire Wolds, Centenary Way
Locate the Centenary Way (CW) behind the Coastliner bus station and follow the path beside the River Derwent, noting the plaques inserted into the path floor. Emerge on to Norton Road and bear left to the bridge over the river (N). Going left over the bridge is Walk 9 to Kirby Misperton; the present walk goes right over the level crossing, then immediately left on the Beverley road (B1428).
Still on the CW, go right at the pub (along Wold Street), left on Wood Street and bending right then left, continue to rejoin the B1248. Carry on in the same direction to the signed footpath (O) just before the end of the houses. Turn off left and temporarily leave the CW to walk two sides of a rectangle and then meet the CW again at (P). Now go left at the end of the field.
Waymarks direct us to the path junction on the dismantled railway at (Q). Turn right and walk on top of the embankment to (R). At this point, make sure not to miss the left turn off the banking and over the footbridge. Then go right along the edge of the field. The CW bends left and soon becomes enclosed by trees as it continues into Settrington.
At the road junction by the school, instead of going right on the CW, go ahead to the road bridge (S) over Settrington Beck and turn right on the path that runs alongside the clear stream. Leave the waterside at the second footbridge (cyclists seem to have to use the ford!) and continue up to join the road. Turn left to the junction at (T) and here turn left again.
Climb the road – be warned this is a steep pull up the hill – to the second track turning off right (U) to Wardale Farm. The track passes the farm, becomes a grass path and then bends left at the field corner.
Follow the path alongside the wood and where the fence bends sharp left, go on down to the pond at (V). Cross the stream; go through the gate a short distance ahead and turn right up the slope to another gate. Bear left on the narrow path (not the tractor trail) and continue up just above the clumps of trees on the left to a stile left of Wold House Farm. Cross the stile and go on ahead to the tarred farm track. Turn left alongside the wood to the minor road at (W).
Crossing the road, the path goes over two fields. Once over the crest of the first field, aim for the isolated hawthorn bush on the skyline. From there, the path runs along the left side of the hedge to (X).
Go left for about 20m and join a wide bridleway track. Make a sharp bend back right and, going through the trees, start the descent of Bassett Brow. Soon the track leaves the wood and goes diagonally down the face of the chalk scarp. At the fence corner (Y) turn left over the field to Rowgate Farm. Passing to the left of the buildings, there is now a clear (flat!) bridleway into Thorpe Bassett.
Go through the village as far as the road/track division at (Z). Go straight ahead past Walnut Tree Farm. The track soon becomes a very pleasant path beside the beck through the trees to Rillington. Just after passing the cemetery, follow the stream on the left side of the road, down Rillington’s High Street, to the A64. Bus stops are found on either side of the road junction.
The Yorkshire Wolds (NCA 27) forms an arc of gently rolling chalk hill country, with numerous, secretive, dry valleys, curving round from the Humber Estuary to the North Sea and the spectacular cliffs at Flamborough Head. Parts of the coastal area (Flamborough Head and Bempton Cliffs) are designated as being of European importance as a Special Protection Area for birds. Flamborough Head is also recognised as a Special Area of Conservation on account of its chalk cliff grassland habitats. A prominent chalk escarpment rises steeply from the Vales of York and Pickering and falls away to the plain of Holderness in the east. One writer in 1586 called the Wolds ‘a heap of mountains’ but their highest point is only 246m at Garrowby Hill. The steep-sided dry valleys are generally believed to have been cut by meltwater at the end of the Ice Age but then, when the frozen ground thawed, surface water could sink into the permeable chalk rock below, leaving the valleys dry. Today majority of the land is agricultural with woodland being restricted to small, scattered blocks on the higher land and steeper slopes. Bridlington actually lies just within Holderness (NCA 40). Rather surprisingly, the Yorkshire Wolds are not a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) although the Lincolnshire Wolds are given this official classification.
The Yorkshire Wolds Way was originally an initiative of the Ramblers Association and went on to become the tenth National Trail launched by what was then the Countryside Commission. In 2015 it became the first of the English and Welsh National Trails to be made entirely stile-free. A total of 120 stiles have been removed since 1996 and replaced by gates or gaps. The Trail just pipped the Thames Path, whose last stile was due to be removed later in 2015.
The Centenary Way is a route between York and Filey devised to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Yorkshire County Council. It was opened by Chris Brasher in 1989. It runs across the Howardian Hills and Yorkshire Wolds via Castle Howard and Wharram Percy, linking York and the Foss Walk with the Yorkshire Wolds Way and Cleveland Way National Trails. Meeting the Derwent and Foss, it combines riverside walks in deep valleys with forest tracks. A new 48 page booklet, The Centenary Way, has been published by North Yorkshire County Council. Revised and updated by John Sparshatt it includes full OS mapping and notes about features on route. Priced at £4 it is available from NYCC by telephone on 01609 532512. Coastliner Way follows the Centenary Way in several places, especially on the Wolds in the Malton to Settrington and Wintringham to Ganton sections.