Start / End: Bishop Wilton
Distance: 4.4 miles
Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Map: OS 294
This is a walk of 3 parts, the middle part of which is all on road, which is not ideal but it does join up two rather nice walks either side! I also fell over in a sheep field toward the end so ended up muddy and wet - so be careful!
1. Park in Bishop Wilton village being mindful of traffic and access (I parked outside the Fleece Inn), then walk back out the village along the route of the Chalkland Way / Minster Way on the road to Meltonby. Shortly along the road you will find a signpost on the left which indicates an off-road footpath and which heads fairly steeply upwards from the road.
Follow the path up and then to the right with lovely views of the Vale of York laid out before you. The grass, and sometimes stone, path bends around a grassy hummock on your left, around the back of which is a path marked with the Chalkland and Minster Ways through a gap in the fence which you go through.
2. Almost immediately after the gateway, a path on your right takes you up a small rise and then follows the fence line along until you get to a gate to the field on your left.
3. Go through the gate into the field (where there may be cows - so dogs on leads) and follow the fence line to your right for a short distance to a second gate. Go through this gate still following the Chalkland Way & Minster Way and then follow the footpath all the way along. Go through the gate at the end and follow the track up to your left and around the corner into Great Givendale village. You will emerge at a signpost and wooden bench. Turn left.
4. Here you will start your road-based part of the route. Walk through the village and out the other end to where the signpost points towards Malton (and Pocklington the other way). Turn left and continue up the road with Church Dale and then Bishop Wilton Wold on your right-hand side. Unfortunately, this stretch is not terribly interesting and dog leads are essential although the road is not that busy most of the time. Walk for about a mile and a half, before you come to a mostly hidden way-marker in the hedge on your left.
5. Go down the path on your left, along the side of a field, through a gate and down to the bottom of this next field (where there may be cows), to a 3-way signpost. Take the left-hand way (don't go through the gate straight ahead as this leads down to Worsendale) and follow the fence around Crow Wood to a gate.
6. Go through the gate, down the hill and follow the well-marked-out path along the valley edge of Old Wood. This is a lovely stretch of the walk taking in wide views across the landscape in front of you. Half way around you can stop at a (new) wooden bench on the site of the original Rambling Club bench - a part of which remains with the words:
'A memento from the original seat. Finally beaten by the ravages of time'
There is also a marker which reads:
'Do not put on the ring Frodo' referencing The Lord and the Rings and similarities perhaps between the views here and the Shire. (Weathertop?)
7. Carry on the path as it bends around a corner to your left and make your way to a gate in the left hand fence line. Looking over to your right is the site of the Archbishop's medieval moated palace and fishponds.
Bishop Wilton is originally linked to King Athelstan of Northumbria (AD937-939) who gave the lands of the Manor of 'Wilton' to Archbishop Wulstanus of York. The Palace at Wilton, with a moat and fishponds was thought to have been built between AD1216 and 1255, with the first letters referring to 'Wylton' or 'Wilton' signed by Archbishop Gray. The manor remained in the hands of the Archbishops of York until 1544 when it passed to the crown.
Go through the gate.
8. Follow the path through this field keeping to the top of the field (rather than the track which follows the bottom fence line which can get waterlogged). There were sheep in the field when we came through here and this is where I came a cropper, as it was fairly steep, muddy and wet - be warned!
At the far top left of the field there is a gate which comes out in Bishop Wilton along the road from the Fleece Inn, so it is an easy job (unless you were limping like me) to follow it back to where you started.
If you are hungry or thirsty you can call in to the pub for some refreshments or stop off at the volunteer run community shop and café, which you will also pass by, for cake (or even their own Bishop Wilton wine) and to support this fantastic village endeavour.
Enjoy one-minute walking Bishop Wilton Wold