Walk: Deep Dale and Bishop Wilton, Yorkshire
Ramble through deep dales, a quaint village and enchanting woods on this six-mile walk through the Yorkshire Wolds
This walk at the western edge of the Yorkshire Wolds is probably one of the area’s more demanding routes. To get to the start of the walk, turn off the A166 at the top of Garrowby Hill, signed ‘Millington/Pocklington’. Head south along the Roman Road – they did seem to like it here. About half way down the road you can pull onto the grass verge opposite Callis Wold farm, leaving room for tractors to turn.
This is farming and rambling country. There are no campgrounds, hotels or trinket shops, but instead homely pubs and the Ramblers Rest restaurant and tearooms at Millington – this is a good option for anyone interested in staying in the area.
Deep Dale and Bishop Wilton walk
6 miles/9.8km | 4 hours | moderate-challenging
1. Deep Dale
Walk back along the road for about 100 yards, turning left onto a public footpath. There is no sign here but a telegraph pole opposite will tell you you’re on the right track. Further along you will see the little yellow arrow on a post. Continue on with a crop field on your right and a hedge on your left.
After passing a woodland on your right, you will reach a metal gate. Go through the gate and the magnificence of Deep Dale will appear. This beautiful, winding dry dale, part woodland, part grassy slopes, is about two miles long, although some of it is private. Look ahead and you will see a footpath in front of a line of woodland. Walk along the top of the dale then, before reaching the fence, another arrow directs you down to your right. It is a steep drop to a gate at the bottom, so you’ll have to make sure your legs don't run away with you.
2. Up the steps
Go through the gate, ignoring the path up to your right. Ahead you will see a small post with a yellow arrow directing you up a short climb and then on to some very rough uneven steps, cut into the hillside, taking you up to a path. Turn right at the top and follow the track with the woodland on your left. At the top of the steps there is a gate on your left that reads 'Private No Entry'. Continue the climb with the woods now on your left and right. This is a lovely dale in summer and autumn. Keep your eyes wide and you might see roe deer, red kites, hares and even tiny lizards. You are almost guaranteed to see pheasants, which spring out, totally hidden until the last second.
3. Across fields
Near the top of the track, ignore a path to the left that bends back above the trees. A few more yards on there is a gate into a field, usually full of sheep. Ignore this and turn left – the double gate here is usually open. Walk with the hedge on your right and a crop field on your left and you will soon reach a road. Cross the road, there you will immediately see the magnificent view of the Vale of York stretching out far below. Continue straight through a gate, then drop to another gate with a signpost, about 600 yards after leaving the road. Ignoring this gate, turn left and follow the tree line of Crow Wood, now on your right.
4. Unnamed dale
After approximately 300 yards you will reach a fence. A few yards up from here there is a gate on your left; take it and circle round to your left, keeping to high ground. Look over to your right and you will see Bishop Wilton in the distance. At the top of the slope there is a seat looking across the sparse woodland far below. Rest a while and admire the view into the nameless dale (only the sparse Old Wood and Hagworm Wood are named).
Over to your left is the ‘Wishing Tree’. It is said that if you insert a coin into the cracks in the bark of the tree and make a wish, it will come true. There are many that have.
5. To the village
After a rest, continue to circle the dale as the path drops. Ignore a gate to a field on your left then, after about half a mile, the path turns to the left where you will reach a gate. Go through the gate. Almost immediately there is another gate with a stile. Follow the little yellow arrow pointing you down to your right. Walk down alongside the fence, then angle down to your left through open fields to a gate at the bottom. Turn right and a take the short walk to the village of Bishop Wilton.
6. Village pitstop
Bishop Wilton is a charming and unusual village, divided in two by a bustling stream. There is a seat as you enter the village where you can sit and enjoy the view, as well as the Fleece Inn – open most lunchtimes – and a village history board.
Take some time to explore the village, then walk down to the main road and turn right. You are now on Garrowby Road, not far from where David Hockney painted Garrowby Hill. After approximately 250 yards, turn off to the right on the road to Worsen Dale. After a a stiff climb you will reach a wooded area. You are now in Worsen Dale. Just over a mile from the village you will see a sign to your right; take it and climb briefly, turning right on a track, fenced both sides, along the top of Worsen Dale.
7. Return leg
Just over half a mile on, drop to another track and turn left, climbing briefly to another gate (the one you ignored earlier). Go through the gate to re-join the track you came on. The return journey is not a waste of time as it is good chance to see Deep Dale from a different angle.
Deep Dale and Bishop Wilton map
Words: Jim Bradley
James Bradley spends his days walking through the quiet corners of the Yorkshire Wolds.