Maps: OS Landranger 101; Explorer 300
Start: Rillington Church (853743)
Finish: Sherburn crossroads (958758)
Distance: 9.4 miles
Going: Easy Wolds walking except for one fierce hill in the middle
Natural England NCA: 27 (Yorkshire Wolds)
Special interest: Wander – Art on the Yorkshire Wolds, Wintringham Church
Starting at Rillington High Street retrace steps from the last walk to the left turn at the byway (A). Follow this wide, firm earthen track (it is used by occasional vehicles) to the road/path junction at (B). Turn right alongside the field edge on another earth track; the sign says ‘Rowgate Farm; not suitable for cars’. Continue to join the combined YWW and CW at (C). Here turn left and cross two fields to Wintringham Beck, with its attractive Millennium Pond, and on to the village. Turn right on the road (D) and walk through the village (we found it more interesting than using the back road behind the houses) before going left at the end (E). If there is time, investigate St Peter’s Church which is in the care of the Historic Churches Trust and is open to visitors.
Following YWW signage, climb the hill and enter Deep Dale Plantation. The wide track is easy to walk but be prepared for the right turn up the fierce ascent at (F) – it’s a killer! At the top, take a breather and use the excuse of investigating the ‘Enclosure Rites’ sculpture.
In summer look for wild raspberries (and listen for mewing buzzards) alongside the old earthwork. Cross the bridleway and a small field and then at the next gate turn right (G). For the next five miles to Sherburn the trail should pose no problems; just keep walking eastwards following the waymarks and fingerposts. The track lies a little below the crest of the chalk scarp but the elevation is still high enough to allow superb views across the Vale of Pickering and for some walkers this stretch of the YWW is perhaps its most spectacular.
At the minor road (H) there is an escape route down the hill to West Heslerton but otherwise walk round the three sides of the trees and continue along the field side. There are several short 90 degree zigzags along the west-east route but they are all clearly signed. After joining the road (I), the walk drops steeply down to Sherburn.
Wander – Art on the Yorkshire Wolds Way is a programme to produce 10 new public art works by contemporary artists along the route of the National Trail. At West Farm on Knapton Brow, Jony Easterby has created the first piece of work to be commissioned for the project. Entitled ‘Enclosure Rites’, the sculpture takes its inspiration from the rich landscape heritage of the area. The display includes a group of ‘guardians’ sculpted from wood and then lime washed. It is modelled on small chalk figures found within local prehistoric burial mounds (or ‘barrows’).
This is close to one of the steepest parts of the trail but the climb is well worth it for panoramic views of the North York Moors and across the Vale of Pickering.
St Peter’s Church is a redundant church in Wintringham but can be visited. It is recorded as Grade I listed and is under the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. St Peter’s was apparently built from the same Tadcaster Magnesian Limestone that was used for building York Minster – a reminder, perhaps, that the local chalk is not suitable for monumental constructions.
Nikolaus Pevsner described the building as ‘the most rewarding church in the East Riding with an exceptional collection of furnishings’. The oldest part of the church is the Norman chancel with its priest’s door and corbel table. The church is full of other interesting items including Jacobean bench pews, medieval carvings and stained glass. Search carefully and you might also find green men, mythical beasts and sword markings.
Note the curious instructions to bell-ringers written by the church clerk in 1723:
‘I pray you Gentlemen beware,
And when you ring ye Bells take care,
For he that Rings and breaks a stay,
Must pay Sixpence without delay,
And if you ring in Spurs or Hatt,
You must likewise pay Sixpence for that.’