Start / End: End of Meadow Road, Driffield
Distance: 6.92 miles
Time: 3 hours
Map: OS 295
This walk can be a bit wet and muddy but there are lovely stretches along Nafferton Beck & the Driffield Canal, plus there are lots of places for refreshments in Driffield when you finish.
1. Park on Meadow Lane in Driffield. At the end of Meadow Lane there are a few parking spaces just before you head up the footpath. Follow the footpath along and you will come to where you cross over the train track. Take care here and have dogs on a lead for crossing over when it is clear. On the other side head up the footpath.
2. You will come to a wooded area, where at time of writing (Feb 2024) there are houses being built on the left. Follow the path straight ahead, with the train track on your right, through the trees, so you emerge at the end of them after the housing development ends.
3. The path continues ahead on more open ground, with the train track still on your right. Across the other side of the tracks here is the delightfully named Cheesecake Hill, where there is also an ancient Tumulus. Walk up towards the trees at the end of this stretch.
4. At the trees you cross over a wooden slatted bridge and turn left on the other side of Nafferton Slack (the beck).
5. Follow Nafferton Slack along on your left for a short distance, Bill went for a little swim, and where the path turns right follow the track up to the farm buildings you can see at the top where it joins Markman Lane.
6. Turn right onto Markman Lane which is a fairly quiet road that heads into Nafferton, that does have a nice wide grass verge at the side of it.
7. You will enter Nafferton along Westgate, and just carry along on the footpath on your right, past the school, The Blue Bell pub, and up to All Saints Church, which dates from the 13th century. Just after the church turn right onto Priestgate.
Archaeological evidence for settlement in the area dates back to the Mesolithic period (9600 - 4000 BC) . Early hunter-gatherers established temporary camp sites throughout the area, subsisting from woodlands foraging, deer, boars, bears, and wild cattle.
8. Continue up Priestgate past the Mere; once the mill pond which served the village corn mill. Just past the pond is a moated site at Nether Hall, which is a Scheduled Monument and was the original location of a manor house.
In 1066 it is recorded that the Lordship of Nafferton was held by Karli son of Karli. By 1086 this had transferred to William of Percy, who also became Tenant-in-chief to King William I. Henry Percy sold his Nafferton estates to the crown in payment of his debts and the manor was later granted, in 1544, to the Earl of Lennox (father of the infamous Lord Darnley, the second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, and the father of James VI of Scotland and I of England) and then passed back to the crown through the earl's grandson James I in 1603.
9. At the point that Priestgate bends right and then becomes Station Road, carry on straight ahead along the public footpath. At the metal kissing gate to The Parks (an open stretch of grass) follow the line of the wooden planters, past a bench to another metal kissing gate on the other side of the field. Note that there could be sheep in this field so put dogs on a lead.
10. Just after the gate go up some steps and follow the path ahead with trees and a beck on your left. You will then come to a wooden gate and railway crossing again.
11. Cross safely over the train tracks and continue following the footpath between the hedge line on your left and wire fencing on you right. You will come to a wooden kissing gate at the road.
12. At the road go slightly left and straight over after the small bridge, following the public footpath sign. There is also a bin here if you need to dispose of any dog-waste!
13. Take the public footpath that heads down the side of Nafferton Beck, on your right-hand side.
14. The footpath continues all the way along the beck and is easy to follow unless it is underwater, which is was for some of our stretches, although Bill didn't seem to mind, in fact the first time we did this route he couldn't see where the path ended and the beck began, so he fell in!! This is a great stretch for running though.
15. Before the end of this stretch you pass a brick-arched bridge but carry on straight ahead until you reach Carr Lane.
16. Turn slight right over the bridge here and then take the footpath at the bench, straight ahead again, continuing along the beck on your left.
17. Continue on the footpath through a wooden kissing gate as it bends left and then right, following the beck. At the end of this path you will come to another wooden kissing gate at a house.
18. Go through the gate, even though it looks as though you are going into a private garden and driveway - you are - but it is also a footpath so dogs should be back on leads here. You will see the small weir as you walk over it and down to the road in Wansford.
19. Cross the B1249 (being careful of fast-moving traffic) and on the other side duck under / climb over the railing that separates the road from the canal turning right. You will see that it has been walked along here, and it is safer to walk here than along the road.
20. Follow the Driffield Canal along, keeping it on your left and the road on your right. You will pass by Wansford Lock, where there is some interesting signage about Wansford Bridge and Church, as well as the canal and the carpet and bone crushing mills that once stood on the west bank of the canal here. After which, keep following the DNT Permissive Path.
21. At the second set of locks that you come to the path goes left over the canal bridge and you will see signage illustrating Driffield Canal and 'Passing through the Lock'. Turn right to keep following the path, now with the canal on your right.
22. Follow the footpath straight ahead until you reach a metal kissing gate, which marks the point that you come back into Driffield. You will pass a group of lovely goats on your left as you walk along the tarmac path which leads to the River Head in Driffield.
23. Here you will need dogs on leads as there could be cars moving around, but if you are lucky, like us, you may spot a beautiful kingfisher flitting around over the canal as you walk by. You will pass by the old warehouses here, which, together with the cranes and locks, illustrate Driffield's more recent history.
In the 18th and 19th centuries town’s economy boomed when local businessman Thomas Porter arranged the extension of the region’s canal system to Driffield in 1770. The now tranquil and beautiful River Head area of the town became a hive of activity back then, with flour and bone meal mills, warehouses and granaries, malt houses and breweries, coal yards and manufacturing industries. The Riverhead ceased to be a commercial traffic in 1951 and the Driffield Navigation Trust was later formed with the aim of restoring the waterway to a navigable condition – a lengthy process which was completed in 2009.
24. At the main road turn right (although if you want to head up to the town centre for refreshments turn left onto Middle Street). For the purposes of returning to where you started though, walk up Riverhead to where it joins Wansford Road at the T junction and turn right.
25. After a short distance cross over the road and head up Meadow Road, all the way to the end and back to where you started.
Roberto's Authentic Italian Gelato
The Cheeky Squirrel
The Butchers Dog pub
The Crooked Tap
Mishka / Blue Bell pub
The Star Inn
The Cosy Cow
The Highfield House