Start / End: The Mile Farmshop, Pocklington
Distance: 3.2 miles
Time: 1 hour 20 mins
Map: OS 294
This short walk, that starts and ends at The Mile Cafe, is a great way to stretch your legs and take in some great views over the Vale of York before enjoying a hot drink and big slice of cake!
Note - when parking at The Mile please pop into the shop before setting off to let them know you are walking or, if it’s early, leave a note on your car.
1. Park in the Mile car park and then back out the gateway, cross the road and turn right along the footpath. The first part of this walk travels through the outskirts of the town, so is obviously all on-lead walking, but you can keep to the pavement all the way along this stretch. Walk down The Mile, crossing over the various side roads until you come to the roundabout after 1 mile. Something to ponder while you walk - The origin of the name of Pocklington derives from an Anglian settlement called ‘Pocela’s farm’.
2. Cross Maxwell Road and take the next exit which continues along the Mile signposted Bridlington & Driffield / Town Centre (B1246). Walk up to the T junction and follow the pavement left along London Street and then St Helen's Gate still following the B1246 - this is where you pick up the Chalkland Way.
3. At Clockhill Lane cross over the road to Target Street (leading to Payton Close) and walk up here, taking the left-hand road at Payton Close on the right. Cross Denison Road and continue up as the road turns into a footpath.
4. At the top of this stretch the path opens out as you reach Chapel Hill and you get some great views over the Vale of York. Go straight on at the waterworks keeping to the left of the fenced off compound with a wooden fence running to your left. Walk until you come to a metal gate and go through.
In the last century Chapel Hill was where many of the local residents went on a weekend to picnic, and Easter was celebrated there by rolling eggs down the hillside. There is also a well on Chapel Hill, which was dedicated to the Christian Saint Helen, after Helena the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine. The well may have firstly been dedicated to Elen, a pagan Celtic goddess, a nature spirit or fertility symbol, whose origins are linked with the mysterious King Arthur. Water in such wells was believed to have magical and healing properties.
5. Again, this stretch affords great views and you will shortly come to a second gate leading into the woods. As you enter the woods keep to the top right-hand path and just follow it around as it bends left. This was a particularly muddy part of the walk so watch your footing - Bill loved it!
6. The path turns right at a gap in the fence and a yellow way marker and heads up onto Kilnwick Percy Golf Course. Keep to the path at the edge of the course and I put Bill back on his lead just in case he was tempted to chase after any stray golf balls.
7. The path dips through some trees again (and more mud) before coming back out on the edge of the golf course. Walk along with the woods on your left until coming to an obvious gap in the trees where the path re-enters the wood.
8. You will quickly come to a public footpath sign pointing your way left along a roadway. Follow the road down through the woods and you will be relieved that there is a lot less mud here. (note - I was here in the autumn). The roadway zig-zags through the trees and eventually comes out on a driveway with fields either side, which heads back down to The Mile. Part way along here there is a wind turbine which Bill found fascinating.
In 2018, archaeological investigations on The Mile unearthed an iron-age chariot burial that featured on the BBC4's programme 'Digging for Britain'. The Mile burial consisted of a unique chariot, buried intact and upright alongside its horses, with some of its harness fittings. Inside its passenger compartment was the charioteer, who was lying on top of the remnants of an outstanding circular bronze shield. The charioteer was wearing an impressive brooch used to fasten his cloak. Evidence of a spit meat hook and the remains of at least six young pigs suggested that the burial was accompanied by a huge funerary feast.
9. At The Mile road turn left and head back along the pavement to The Mile cafe for that hot drink and well-earned slice of cake! At The Mile Gift Emporium, you can also buy some lovely dog grooming products made in Yorkshire by Free to Live, to wash away all that mud and have your canine friend smelling all fresh again.