Start /End: Millington
Time: 2 hours
Map: OS 294
This, there & back again walk, is the first part of the Minster & Chalkland Ways Loop, which, I discovered, has a stile at the end- OK for humans & small dogs that can be lifted- not big fellas like Bill! This lovely linear walk explores the best bits!
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. 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). Also listen and look our for red kites of which I saw many when I was walking here.
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.
There are several memorials to members of the Singleton family (including the jockey, John Singleton senior) within the church, and if you visit in the early spring the churchyard is full of snowdrops and winter aconites. The churchyard is also home to soft comfrey which has a white flower.
It is a lovely place and I thoroughly recommend a visit before turning around and heading back the way you came to the start of this walk. In Millington village you can enjoy a drink or bite to eat at either the Ramblers Rest Tearooms or The Gait Inn.
If you are able to navigate a stile then you can carry on with the rest of the circular route detailed as the 'Minster and Chalkland Ways Loop'. Bill was too big to fit under or over the wooden bars but a smaller dog might or they could be lifted over. This longer circular route, which navigates some of the Chalkland Way, includes a lovely passage along and through Grimthorpe Wood and takes the road for a short distance at the end, back up Swineridge Lane to Millington.
Enjoy one-minute walking from Millington to Givendale