Start / End: Wharram Percy car park
Distance: 4.24 miles
Time: 2 hrs
Map: OS 300
This is a lovely walk combines a visit to the deserted medieval village site, a fascinating stroll on a disused railway track and a fabulous hike in Deep Dale although curious cows made us veer off course a bit. (cows can be avoided)
1. This walk starts from the English Heritage Wharram Percy car park just off Bella Farm Road, so it's a really good place to meet up with walking companions if you are not travelling together.
Walk back up to the road and turn left along the Yorkshire Wolds Way. This is a nice quiet road but I kept Bill on a lead just in case. Walk up the road until it bends right but then follow the Yorkshire Wolds Way footpath straight ahead up the stony track.
2. Follow the track along to where it joins the road again. I had to avoid a rather large puddle here whereas Bill jumped right in! The track re-joins Station Road just at the Wharram le Street village sign. Turn left along the road to follow the Centenary Way. (the Yorkshire Wolds Way goes right)
3. Follow the road, which is fairly quiet, as it bends left through some trees. At the corner bending right and at Station House you will see the Centenary Way signpost pointing left onto a wide path. Turn left along the path.
4. Keep following the path for some distance where you will spot various abandoned buildings on the left-hand side of the track, which runs along an old track bed.
This was the site of Wharram Station (which still remains as a private house) on the Malton & Driffield Railway adjacent to a large chalk quarry for making concrete, which operated from 1916 to 1966. The passenger service on the line was known as the 'Malton Dodger' and ran 3 trains a day to Malton and Driffield. Wharram was near the summit of the line and the second busiest for freight including barley, wheat, oats and livestock. Occasionally the engine pulled horse boxes and flat-bed trucks for carrying carriages belonging to the local gentry. The line closed in 1958 and the remains of the derelict buildings you see today along the footpath include sidings, two loading docks, coal drops, a weighbridge, a weigh office, railway cottages and a water column. The remains of the quarry include a large concrete silo for storing the crushed chalk with the original motor house and crushing house, made of brick, adjacent to the silo.
5. Eventually you will come to the site of Wharram Percy deserted medieval village, identified by the English Heritage sign at the gate. If you want to head back to your car now you can (after visiting the site) by turning left into the field and then straight ahead through the gate and back along the path to avoid the cows. I have illustrated the alternate route on the Route Instructions Map.
If you want to do the full walk just head up onto the deserted village site.
6. Whilst on the site take your time to wander around the lumps and bumps and read the interpretation (or, if you are Bill, run around like a loon and then eat some cheese!), then head down towards the main building, through the gate and onto the remains of the church to explore further. Around the other side of the church is the graveyard. Walk through this and down to the medieval fish pond.
Archaeological evidence from the site includes the vertebrae of a single pike and 7 eel bones. The rest of the fish evidence is of fresh water species including conger eel, halibut, ray and shark, which the inhabitants of the village probably imported and ate fresh or cured.
7. At the fishpond (and yes, Bill did have a paddle) go left as the path passes through an arched gap in the hedge. Walk past the interpretation sign for the medieval mills and fishpond and up to the gate and signpost pointing heavenward towards the Yorkshire Wolds Way and Thixendale.
8. Follow the path up and out into Deep Dale. Here is where we met the cows!! The path travels along the top edge of the Dale, which unfortunately was where the cows were grazing and as they were very curious we decided to turn back and head slightly down the valley bank. We also did not go all the way to the valley bottom as there were rather large cows there too.
9. If you are happy to pick out a path to avoid the cows along the Dale you will be rewarded with spectacular views and a very bracing walk, as you look forward and back. Carry on for 3/4 of a mile towards North Plantation in the distance.
10. Just before the tree line, head back up to the top of the Dale (on the left) as it widens out and you will see a metal gate in the far-left hand corner.
11. Go through the gate to Wharram Wold and follow the Centenary Way path along the hedge line on your right at the top of the field. This walk affords more great views across arable farm land and when we were there the stacked hay bales made great sculptures looking like standing stones set against the far horizon.
12. At the end of the field, and at the trees, keep following the Centenary Way with the woods on your left. Do not venture into the woods as these are private lands owned by the Birdsall Estates.
13. Carry on along the Centenary Way path with the woods on your left. The path eventually, after a short distance, meets the B1248 at the top and you just turn left to walk back to the car park.
If you wanted to stay longer in this part of the Wolds we would recommend getting in touch with Church Farm Cottages at Garton on the Wolds (see our Bill Loves page), who have dog-friendly accommodation. From there you can also do our Cottam Round walk and several others.
Explore Wharram Percy in one-minute