Start /End: Millington
Distance: 5.46 miles
Time: 2.5 hours
Map: OS 294
This is a lovely loop, with on road at the end, but the 2nd part involves a stile, which is OK for humans & small dogs but not big fellas like Bill! If you would still like to do half of this walk (there and back) see our walk 'Millington to Givendale'
1. Starting in Millington, park in the layby on Swineridge Lane just past the church (i.e.do not park down in the village). Carry on up the road towards the junction where you can either head right into the village, go straight along to Millington Woods or turn left, up The Balk. Walk up The Balk past the allotments on your right. After a short distance uphill, and at the T junction, cross over onto the stony Minster Way footpath which heads out along the field edge, with beautiful views into the distance.
2. Go past Little Givendale Farm and through some farm buildings to where the path appears to turn right at a gate. DO NOT turn right but go through the gate and into the cow field. There may well be cows in here so please keep dogs on a lead if there are any. Head straight ahead and down into the valley (it can be a little bit steep, so go steady!)
3. At the bottom there is a double gate, which you go through and out into Whitekeld Dale. This is a beautiful part of the walk and very easy going. If your dog likes water (which Bill does - he lies down in it!) there is a small stream on your left that runs all the way along (just watch for cows).
4. Head along the Minster Way footpath as it winds up into Given Dale, with Beck Plantation on your left and Castlefield Plantation on your right. Eventually at the road, you come to the small church of St Ethelburga at Great Givendale, where I suggest you take a breather and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the church and its grounds. The church is normally open and is dog friendly - there is even a water bowl and water provided outside.
5. St. Ethelburga's Church is on an ancient site but was rebuilt in 1849 by John Singleton, incorporating parts of an earlier Norman church on the site including the large chancel arch. Although much of the original medieval stone was cast aside and reused for road building. There is also a font that dates from the Saxon period. From here, if you are not able to navigate the stile that is toward the end of the next section, you can turn back along the way you just came. Otherwise continue on!
6. From the church head up onto the road and turn left. After a short distance you will spot a footpath signpost on your right at the edge of the wood. Take this path and walk through Brimlands Wood to the end point where the path swings left and out onto the edge of the field.
7. Follow the Chalkland Way path around the edge of the field, bending first left, then left again, then right (where there is an almost hidden way marker in the hedge), right again, then left. This brings you to Grimthorpe Wood, and the edge of an area of land called The Park. There are lovely open views along this stretch and great bounding-about paths for dogs!
According to archaeological records there was an Iron Age hill fort at Grimthorpe on the other side of the road you have just crossed, which enclosed a circular area of 8 acres. Here, the field-name—Bruffs—a variation of ‘Brough’, may refer to an ancient Roman camp. There is, however, not much to see today although in 1871 an excavation found ‘the filled up inner ditch of a supposed camp’ and a burial with rich grave-goods. Grimthorpe, itself, was probably founded by the Vikings, as Grim [Grimr] was a variation of Odin and so was a favourite Norse name.
8. Towards the end of the path along the edge of the wood turn right onto the trail through Grimthorpe Wood. Here you will see signs for tree felling (Forest Operations), so be mindful and possibly keep dogs on a lead. Walk through this part of the wood until you come to a stile. This one you can go through with a dog, as it has a gap to the left that they can walk through.
9. When you emerge from the wood just head straight ahead (you can't go left or right anyway as there are signs and gates preventing you!). Walk straight across the field, which in summer is full of crops so keep dogs under tight control if you need to. At the end of this field you come to the 'dreaded stile' that is difficult to negotiate with large dogs unfortunately. Smaller dogs could be carried over or they might be able to scramble under the wooden bars.
The 'infamous' stile!
10. The end section of this walk is all on road. As you emerge from the crop field over the stile, turn left along Miller Lane and at Ousethorpe Farm, on the corner of The Mile / Swineridge Lane, turn left and follow the road all the way back to the start. The road is fairly quiet and you just have to keep right at the junctions with Grimthorpe Hill (which goes back to Great Givendale) and Givendale Hill (which heads eventually to the A166) and keep dogs on leads.
In Millington you can enjoy a well-earned drink or meal in the dog-friendly Gait Inn (where there is a lovely beer garden) or at the Ramblers Rest Tea Rooms.
Millington Circular - Exploring the Minster Way and Chalkland Way