Walk 9 Malton to Kirby Misperton

Maps: OS Landranger 100; Explorer 300
Start: Malton bus station (787714)
Finish: Kirby Misperton road junction (779793)
Distance: 7.2 miles
Going: Easy road walking
Natural England NCA: 26 (Vale of Pickering)

Special interest: St Mary’s Priory Church, Old Malton; Fracking

Walk 9 Malton to Kirby Misperton 1:50,000 OS © Crown copyright 2017 CS-05488-NOY1H7
Walk 9 Malton to Kirby Misperton
1:50,000 OS © Crown copyright 2017 CS-05488-NOY1H7

Some walkers may wish to combine this short Walk 9 with the next one (Walk 10) from Kirby Misperton to Pickering and so create a longer combined walk of about 11 miles.

Map of Malton on floor grid
Map of Malton on floor grid

Go behind the Coastliner bus station and turn right on the Centenary Way (CW) 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).

St Mary's, Old malton
St Mary’s Priory Church, Old Malton

At this point, Walk 16 to Rillington will turn right over the railway. However, the present walk goes left over the bridge towards Castlegate but turns right up Sheepfoot Hill. At the open grassy area follow the path going diagonally across the grass and over the old Roman settlement to Old Malton Road (O). Turn right along the field side.

Mousey Thompson Mouse
Mousey Thompson Mouse
By the Jack Berry Sports Club, take the permissive path (the fingerpost may be missing) left of the driveway on the left side of the hedge. This concessionary path turns left at the end of the sports field to join the p.r.o.w. at (P).
Old Stone Coffins
Old Stone Coffins
Bear right on the wide path to St Mary’s Priory Church. Inside there are several historical displays (and a Thompson Mouse Trail) and don’t miss the medieval stone coffins in the churchyard.

Rejoin the road, continue to Westgate Lane and turn left (Q). From here much of the walk is along quiet country lanes as we cross the Vale of Pickering.

Bend right at (R) to go over the A64 and follow the track Borough Mere Lane as far as (S). Turn right to Edenhouse Road (T) and then go left for about 1.6 miles, crossing the River Rye, to the sharp bend in the road at (U). At this point there is a problem.

The p.r.o.w. leaving the road and going over several fields is not, at the time of writing, usable. Until it is made passable, the following alternative is recommended. The three farmers over whose land this route goes have each very kindly indicated their willingness to allow walkers to use this alternative diversion. Please note that this generous gesture in no way whatsoever constitutes any general right of public access but is entirely a goodwill concession.

Old Shell in Kirby Misperton
Old Shell in Kirby Misperton

Continue along the road to the bend at (V) and here take the tarred track north towards North Farm. At (W) go left on the public path, then right, to North West Farm (X). A little way beyond this farm, the p.r.o.w. goes NNW through a small copse and over an unbridged ditch. However, the concessionary path allows us to turn sharp right beside the field edge to the stile a little further on (Y) and here to turn left and use the farm track up to Sandlands House Farm (Z).

Go on straight ahead through Kirby Misperton village to the bus stop – hopefully there’s time to investigate both the Church and the pub.

Special Interest

The Vale of Pickering (NCA 26) is a low-lying basin of exceptional archaeological and environmental importance and is recognised by English Heritage as being of international significance for the completeness of its record of human habitation. Recent excavations at Star Carr have revealed this site to have been of even greater significance than previously thought. The area’s main river, the River Derwent, is recognised as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). (See Walk 19 Special interest for more detail.)

St Mary’s Priory Church, Old Malton
St Mary’s is the only surviving Gilbertine Priory Church in England still being used for regular worship. There has been a church at this site since the Saxon times but little is known about it except that it is mentioned in the Domesday Book.  It is likely that the church was destroyed in 1138 when Old Malton was burnt down during the rebellion between King Stephen and Queen Matilda.  The current church was started in about 1150. When completed around 1200, the church would have been much bigger, as the church’s east end is now roughly where the chancel steps would have been.

When the Priory was dissolved by Henry VIII, the change seems to have been a relatively smooth affair with the prior, John Crawshaw, surrendering in December 1539.  The chancel, which could no longer be used by the parish, soon fell into disrepair.

A major restoration was started in 1877 under the direction of Temple Moore and this included underpinning the south west tower. However, in 1899 the roof was found to be decayed beyond saving and so this had to be replaced by one based on a 15th century design.

St Mary’s is well-known for its misericords – these are the carved hinged seats that give singers some relief from long periods of standing. The Church has 7 misericords dating from the 15th century and 28 modern ones which were added during the renovation.  It is not known whether the 15th century misericords originated with the priory or if they were brought in from elsewhere.  However, the 28 modern misericords were specially designed to fit stylistically with the older medieval misericords. Nevertheless, looking carefully, you will see that the carvings of the medieval misericords are primarily of animals from the bestiary books whereas the modern ones show mainly angels, devils and dragons. (www.misericords.co.uk/oldmalton.html)

On a lighter note for younger visitors, there’s a Thompson mouse trail in the Church and a fine photo opportunity awaiting volunteers willing to pose in the medieval stone coffins outside.

The Fracking Debate
The writers of this website are very strongly opposed to the development of fracking for shale gas and Kirby Misperton has been designated an area where fracking might be allowed to go ahead. The following material has been lifted verbatim from the www.frackfreeryedale.org website and summarises what opponents of shale gas fracking describe as ten of the myths put forward by those in favour of fracking.

‘There are a great many myths about fracking, which are often repeated over and over again in the media by politicians, the gas industry lobby and supporters of shale gas production. Some of these are repeated so often – sometimes even word-for-word, as though they are all working from the same centrally published script – that it is perhaps hard to believe that they aren’t true. When you hear something a hundred times, then you almost instinctively begin to believe that it must be true, simply because you hear it so often. However, many of the claims by advocates of fracking do not stand up to scrutiny and can be clearly shown to be untrue.

Here are ten of the most common myths about fracking and reasons why they are not true. To check any of the information provided, please click on the links within the text to go to the original source material.

Just click on a myth to begin.

MYTH #1: “FRACKING WILL PROVIDE ENERGY SECURITY FOR THE UK.”
MYTH #2: “FRACKING WILL LOWER UK ENERGY PRICES.”
MYTH #3 “FRACKING HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR DECADES.”
MYTH #4: “FRACKING POSES NO RISK TO PUBLIC HEALTH.”
MYTH #5: “THE UK HAS GOLD STANDARD FRACKING REGULATIONS.”
MYTH #6: “FRACKING WILL NOT AFFECT HOUSE PRICES.”
MYTH #7: “FRACKING HAS NEVER CONTAMINATED DRINKING WATER.”
MYTH #8: “FRACKING IS A BRIDGE FUEL TO A LOW-CARBON ECONOMY.”
MYTH #9: “A FRACKED WELL CAN PRODUCE GAS FOR OVER 20 YEARS.”
MYTH #10: “FRACKING WILL CREATE OVER 64,000 JOBS.”

You can also download a FRACKING MYTHS AND FACTS leaflet by clicking on the link. Please feel free to print it out and give to people next time they tell you one of these myths!