Thursday 2nd July 2020
Route: Wayrham Picnic Area, Callis Wold, The Bence, Deep Dale, Bishop Wilton Wold, Crow Wood, Worsen Dale, Garrowby Hill Top, Cheese Cake Wold, Megdale Plantation, Beech Farm, Painsthorpe Lane, Painsthorpe Wold Farm, Worm Dale, Bradeham Dale, Wayrham Dale, Wayrham Picnic Area (9 miles)
Members: Paul, John, Chris, Paul ‘Sherlock’ Holmes.
For the second time in a fortnight the forecast of wet weather curtailed our planned walk in the Skeffling/Welwick area on the north bank of the River Humber. And as before, plan B involved a walk with a bit more tree cover than we would have had in the eastern extremities of the Holdreness plain. And so in pouring rain we set off for Wayrham which lies on the A166 between Fridaythorpe and Garrowby Hill.
The rain began to ease the further north we travelled so by the time we reached the car park at Waryham it was down to just mere drizzle. Despite this, wet gear was donned as we knew the ground and surrounding undergrowth would be damp in the extreme and to that end we were not wrong. Without much more ado we set off over Callis Wold heading for the aptly named Deep Dale. This is one of many similar named valleys on the Yorkshire Wolds, and in our extensive experience we’ve yet to encounter one that didn’t live up to its name.
Care had to be taken dropping down into the steep sided valley as the grass was wet and slippery, just waiting to catch out the unwary walker. One wrong step and you could easily find yourself travelling down the valley quicker than expected. But what goes down inevitably goes up and anyone wondering why it was named Deep Dale would wonder no more once the top was reached at Bishop Wilton Wold.
As we meandered down the western flank of Bishop Wilton Wold heading for Crow Wood we were confronted by a field full of cows and their calves. As we stood at the gate surveying the scene they glared back with a look of “come on then, we dare you”. Usually the best strategy in these situations is to give the beasts as wide a berth as possible. It’s advisable not to get between the cows and their young ‘uns as they can sometimes get a bit feisty if you do. But there were so many in the field, and they were well spread out, that there was little chance of skirting around the herd.
So we decided to use the next field which fortunately had no crops growing, it was just your ordinary common or garden grass meadow. As we traipsed through the almost thigh high grassland the cows next door eyed us suspiciously from the other side of the hedge. It was clear others had used this alternative route to avoid spooking the herd. You would be hard pressed to out pace them if they had a mind to escort you out of their field, probably with extreme prejudice.
Once opposite Crow Wood we managed to get back on track and then headed off along Worsen Dale and Garrowby Hill Top. By now everyone’s boots were well sodden after ploughing through acres of wet grass. It’s often been noted that there is more water contained in a field of wet grass than you’re likely to encounter crossing your average river, and on today’s evidence not one of us would deny it.
From Garrowby Hill Top we took the track that leads down to Kirby Underdale, a village that will forever be linked with Keith’s gripfast boots, however that’s a story for another day. What we were looking for was a place to sit as it was fast approaching snap time. We passed a long parade of felled beech trees stacked a good ten feet high. Not a place to drop a spoon, as Paul was reminded, but that’s another story for another time.
A little further down the track we found a suitable place to sit and enjoy a brew and a butty. We made use of the remains of an old gate which had been left strewn about the place having been replaced by a new one. The light rain and drizzle had ceased by now although there seemed little prospect of the clouds parting to allow the sun to break through, but for all that it was pleasant place to rest awhile. The local bird life was making itself heard despite having to compete with the wildlife sounds emanating from Sherlocks phone. And Chris was determined not to be fooled for a second time by a Samsung cuckoo.
Suitably fed and watered we continued down the track towards Kirby when we spotted a couple of characters wandering through a field of potatoes. Intrigued we pointed out that the track we were on would be much drier and less muddy than the field of spuds they were traipsing through. It turned out they were men from the ministry checking the farmers crop ensuring they were the of the specified variety and that they weren’t harbouring any diseases or other nasties. They also carried a curious v shaped stick but for what purpose we could only speculate…and we did…wildly.
Around a quarter of a mile short of Kirby Underdale we struck off the main track and headed for Beech Farm and Painsthorpe Lane. This piece of hillcraft helped keep our height as the climb out of the village up to the Leavening road is one of the steeper climbs in the area. Once past the farm and onto the lane it was crawler gear all the way to the top which Sherlock declared had been “a snorter” when he finally reached it.
After a short distance down the Leavening road we took the farm track past Painsthorpe Wold Farm. We were once more on the wold tops which brought with it another bout of fine drizzle due to the low cloud base. It was further along this track that things went a little awry. After about 10 minutes walking down the stony track it was realised we were heading for Broadholme Farm instead of Worm Dale. A case of too much talking and not enough route checking. Of course Paul claimed that he’d took them that way so they could admire the splendid views of the distant hills and appreciate a nearby copse of trees. There was just the merest hint of scepticism from his walking companions.
Once back on track, and back amongst the wet grass, our quartet dropped down into Worm Dale. One of the outstanding features of the Yorkshire Wolds are the steep sided and lush winding valleys which are a pleasure to walk along at any time of the year. Many are well populated by sheep and Bradeham Dale, which was our next valley after Worm Dale, was no exception. This gave Sherlock plenty of opportunity to converse with the well scattered flock which he’s been unable to do these last few weeks. Worryingly they appear to answer him back.
Our track threaded its way through the western end of Bradeham Dale which soon switches from open pasture to thick woodland. As we turned into Wayrham Dale we met a family heading in the opposite direction who were dressed as if they were on a day out in their local park rather than on a trek through a very damp and soggy wooded valley. They didn’t seem all that sure where they were going either and after we pointed out to them that all that lay ahead was tangled wet undergrowth and rough pasture, populated by man eating sheep, they decided to head back. Baaa! said Sherlock.
It was a good leg stretcher today with a few of ups and downs over typical Wolds terrain. Despite the damp weather it was still a great day out.
Skeffling area next time? Keep your eye on the seaweed.