Sunday, 12 September 2010

Stand (or Walk) and Deliver!

The famous Green Dragon pub at Welton, East Yorkshire

Keeping a close eye on the weather helped me to pick a great day, the best for a few days to go for a walk with a friend. This is not the first walk I’ve put on the blog; many of those I follow put their day’s outing on for the benefit of others and I think that’s great just in case we fancy a day out. I would heartily recommend this one!

This circular four mile, two hour walk began and finished in the village of Welton in East Yorkshire, population 1,560 souls. This is a picturesque village set in glorious easily accessible English countryside and its history goes way back. It has a nice small church of St Helen, a mill pond, beautiful old buildings and the Green Dragon pub at the centre of the village. I used an old easy to follow walking map, produced by the now extinct Humberside County Council, but it’s still valid and up to date. If you want a copy of this map, let me know and I’ll send you a scanned copy.

Welton village green and St Helens church

Before we start the walk it might just be worth mentioning in passing that the Green Dragon pub is famous for housing one of England’s most notorious criminals, Dick Turpin. Highwayman Turpin came to Yorkshire from Essex to start a new life as a butcher, but he soon fell into the wrong way of life again. Under an alias of John Palmer, he was arrested for threatening an agricultural labourer in the nearby village of Brough and Turpin was held in the Green Dragon pub. He escaped but was soon recaptured and having failed to give a good account of his character at the court in Beverley, he was sent to York Assizes (Crown Court today). Turpin was recognised for who he was when his handwriting in a letter he sent to his brother in Essex was recognised. He was hanged in York on the Knavesmire in 1739. ‘Turpin’s Room’ can still be seen at the Green Dragon and Turpin’s cell in York is now a permanent display at the York Museum.

Welton Mill Pond

The walk began at 10.15am with bright sun and fair weather cloud and the path took us past the church, the tall mill building and the gorgeously tree framed pond. Up the grassy path in a gentle climb, easy for any walker, experienced or not surrounded by dense woodland on one side and sheep in a field on the other. The pathway is intersected at intervals with gates to prevent animals escaping. Some of the public paths go through private land but the land is well kept, solid underfoot and attractive to the eye with many species of tree. (I’ve since learned that the area was planed up in the Victorian ‘age of improvement’ and included conifers, beech and ash).

The first grass path and a gentle climb

A right turn led us along a concreted private farm path, a short walk along one of the single track roads and up into woodland with another gentle climb through mixed deciduous and pine trees. We came across a second single track road where there was a riding stable and as we passed the entrance, a couple of horses came out. We were to see a few other horses in this four mile walk.

Looking back along the private farm road which is a public footpath

Having left the roadway, this is where there was a little bit of a steep climb. This was, perhaps, only 50 or 60 yards, but it was steep and I had to stop at the top to catch my breath. Why should I have to worry, a bloke older than me passed us and he was running up the dale! Indeed we met a few dog walkers and ramblers, cyclists and runners on the walk and all greeted us with a friendly ‘good morning.’

With the short steep climb out of the way, it was onto a woodland path through which we could see the most magnificent view of the Humber basin. We paused to take this in and although the picture doesn’t do it justice, you could see the Vale of York and to the west many, many dozens of miles away were familiar cooling towers from the numerous power stations in West Yorkshire. The Humber seemed a long way away within this lovely vista with North Lincolnshire clearly visible.

Looking south across the Humber from a ridge to the west of Elloughton Dale to North Lincolnshire

A walk along a metalled narrow roadway led up for a short distance and then a gentle long descent back into the village and a welcome Lemonade at the Green Dragon pub. This is a two hour gentle walk which can be shortened with shortcuts making it two or three miles if you want it and you can cut out the very steep climb as well. There are just a handful of cars using the single track roads, but something to be aware of. Dogs can be let free, but only if you can keep them under control; there are lots of opportunities for them to disappear in woodland and into fenced off areas which would make it difficult to follow them.

Mushrooms, but not really recommended for eating, Shaggy Ink Cap - coprinus comatus

This is a circular stroll and no special equipment is needed other than sensible clothing, walking shoes and because it’s so isolated, a mobile phone would be useful. We sometimes have no idea that such land is on the doorstep and the former Humberside County Council worked hard on its footpath programme to make them accessible to the public. Some of the footpaths form part of the famous Yorkshire Wolds Way nature trail.

A small beck at the end of the walk associated with the village pond

After a quick pub lunch, I headed off on country roads to Beverley to a mind, body and spirit fair and spent an hour or so there – it was well attended with stalls and the public. I collected a plant from my parent’s house before heading home and ready for cooking the tea (chicken breast stuffed with mushrooms coated in sage and onion stuffing accompanied by fresh vegetables - YUM).

I hope you’ve enjoyed your weekend as much as I’ve enjoyed mine.

Have a great week ahead.

Chat soon



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