Start / End: Thixendale Village
Distance: 4.13 miles
Time: 2 hours
Map: OS 300
Starting in the lovely village of Thixendale this walk is in my top three for its beautiful views across the dales - Vessey Pasture, Cow Wold & Court Dale - including great stretches on the Centenary, Chalkland and Yorkshire Wolds Ways.
1. When parking in Thixendale make sure that you don't block access or the road - I parked near the Cross Keys Inn on Town Street and then continued walking past the pub (on the right) where I joined the footpath by going through the gate. On this first stretch in Water Dale, the signs ask you to keep dogs on leads.
2. Follow the footpath along the fence line on the right and then across the top of the field. If you do this you will reach our nemesis! - a stile - at the other end of the field. Small dogs can be carried over this but Bill and I headed right and down to the road to bypass it. Turn left at the quiet road and follow it for a short while until you reach the first gateway and farm road on the left after the hedge.
3. Turn left onto the farm road and after a short while you will see a Public Bridleway / Centenary Way signpost pointing you straight ahead. If you managed to get over the stile just walk straight ahead and you will meet the route at this point. Follow the road along the bridleway and you will come to a gate which takes the path up a small grassy climb towards some trees.
4. Once you have climbed to the top of this part of the path you can just follow it along the Centenary and Chalkland Way path enjoying fabulous views down into Court Dale.
The Centenary Way celebrates the 100th anniversary of Yorkshire County Council and crosses the Howardian Hills and Yorkshire Wolds via Castle Howard and Wharram Percy, linking York and the Foss Walk with the Yorkshire Wolds Way and Cleveland Way National Trails.
5. At the end of this part of the path go through the gate where there are signs again about keeping dogs on leads in the Raisthorpe Estate (because of wildlife) and where the path forks, almost straight after this, take the right-hand fork, keeping the hedge on your left.
6. Follow the path along the edge of the field until you come to the next Public Bridleway and Centenary Way sign and turn left.
7. Walk along the stony path, following the various signposts for the Centenary Way, until the next fork in the road and sign post and bear left.
8. After a short distance the road bends right and you'll follow the edge of the field all the way along, with the hedge-line on your left, until you get to the next gate at which there is a leaning footpath signpost pointing back along the Centenary Way (the way you've come) and the Wolds Way left and right. Turn left.
9. Follow the Wolds Way overlooking Deep Dale on your right and areas of North Plantation on your left. Part way along here you will come across one of the acorn Yorkshire Wolds Way markers. Here there is also a wooden plaque which reads:
There is absolutely no reason for being rushed
Along with the rush, everybody
should be free to go slow
If you are in need of a lesson
There is wisdom in the trees
Not all those who wander are lost
I have been told that the plaque is now unfortunately missing - which is a great shame as it really was quite lovely but I’ve left in on here so you can still enjoy it
10. After about a mile you will come to a stony part of the path with a signpost that points straight ahead along the Centenary Way and left through a clump of trees on the Yorkshire Wolds Way. Take the left which follows a small path through the trees with an ancient earthwork on your right. When you come out of the trees, continue following the path down the edge of the field with the hedge line on your left.
Far from being a waterless and remote area in the past, the Yorkshire Wolds was an area of high-levels of human settlement, with many archaeological monuments and sites. Remains of this Wolds-wide settlement include barrows, chariot burials, deserted medieval villages and Anglian cemeteries. The earthworks here are thought to have been built in the Late Bronze Age and were then used for land division and boundary markers for farming, during the later Iron Age and Roman periods.
11.Go through the gate at the end and you are in glorious Vessey Pasture Dale.
12. Follow the path down into the Dale bottom. This really is a lovely tranquil part of the walk - Bill had a fab time running and bouncing here. The path bends slightly right and at the fence line and sign post go through the gate and keep following the Wolds Way.
13. Head up the other side of the Dale on Vessey Hill, go through another gate and keep going up to the top. There are some great views back down into Vessey Pasture Dale here so don't forget to look back!
14. Go through the gate at the top and keep following the path along the field edge with the hedge-line on your right.
15. At the top of this side of the field, at the sign post, turn left and head along this next side of the field. It is quite easy to follow the Wolds Way path here as there are intermittent sign posts all the way along as you walk through Cow Wold.
16. You will eventually come onto a farm track swinging slightly left and away in front of you (look for the yellow way marker sign on a post). Follow the track straight ahead with fields either side and you will come to a fork in the road at some trees. Look for the sign post and it will take you on the right-hand path.
17. Go through the next gate with great views down into Cow Wold and then Thixen Dale on your right. There are some really good viewing points along this path as you head down the stony slope back towards the village of Thixendale in front of you.
18. Go through the gate at the bottom of this slope and you will find yourself back on the main road through the village. Turn left to follow the road back through the village, passing the church and the village hall where there is some interesting signage about the village and its history. On reaching Town Street turn left if this is where you parked and if you are lucky the Cross Keys Inn might be open (weekends during the day only and night-time otherwise) although dogs can only be outside.
Enjoy one-minute of Thixendale Round