This 13-mile walk starts at the village of Millington in the East Riding of Yorkshire, heading north-east to another Yorkshire village, Huggate, before returning south. The route passes through 11 dales and includes locations made famous by the English painter David Hockney.
To reach the village, leave the A166 (heading east) at a right-hand signpost for Millington/Pocklington, The turn is at the top of Garrowby Hill, just beyond Wayrham Farm. Continue down the hill, keeping an eye out for a left turn to Millington. Turn left here and, at the bottom, take a right turn and park opposite the church.
This challenging 13-mile hike through the Yorkshire Wolds includes almost 500m of ascent and passes through 11 dales.
13 miles/21km | 6–7 hours hours | challenging
1. Ramblers’ Rest
Walk down into the village and turn right, with the Ramblers Rest on your left and Gait Inn on your right. At the end as the road sweeps to the right, take the road to the left and follow it downhill, passing Beck Cottage at the bottom. It is a quiet road that climbs for about half a mile, with the grassy side of the wold rising majestically to a tree-lined top to the left. Just after Rose Cottage there is a Wolds Way sign pointing to the left – take the turn. The route will now stick to the popular designated Yorkshire Wolds Way for some time.
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2. Warren Dale
As you begin to climb, the woods of Warren Dale appear on the right. At the end of the woods there is a signpost pointing to the left. Shortly after there is another left turn, followed quickly be a right right, taking you high above the village of Millington. A well-placed seat provides a great vantage point from which to admire the view over Millington and beyond to the Vale of York.
Continue straight on for nearly a mile. Turn left with the track and follow the fence down to a gate at the corner. You will soon see Sylvan Dale on the right; it’s a lovely sight in spring with the gorse in full blossom.
3. Nettle and Pasture dales
Go through the gate and drop down into the dale where a signpost directs right. A steep dog-leg path climbs out the other side. At the top, continue straight on for about half a mile, through a wooden gate, then drop down steeply into Nettle Dale. A short stiff climb, curving to the right, then takes you to a metal gate at the top of Nettle Dale; ignore the left turn and continue with a much gentler gradient along the top of the dale. Again, this is a colourful sight in spring with the gorse in flower.
After 500 yards, go through a gate, then another to the left taking you past Jessops Plantation. At the bottom, turn right on a well-trodden path along the top of Pasture Dale. After just short of a mile, you will reach a gate in the corner. Go through the gate and turn left then, after 150 yards on the road, follow another sign pointing left, remaining on the Yorkshire Wolds Way. Across the road there are two gates – take the single gate on the right. The path strides out across crop fields with a hedge on your left part way. Turn right at the end then make the short walk to York Lane.
4. Hockney view
Cross the road to join a tarmac track. Over to the right you will see the church spire of St Marys at the village of Huggate; a scene painted by Hockney. After 500 yards at the signpost, the route leaves the Wolds Way, turning left on the bridleway. A short walk takes you down through a gate to meet the top of the dramatic Horse Dale, which winds its way for nearly two miles into Harper Dale.
Instead of following Horse Dale, turn left, dropping on a track into the bottom of the dale. Go through a gate then slight left, then right, up through a shallow valley to a gate in the top right-hand corner of the field. Go through the gate and continue uphill with a fence on one side and hedge the other. Ignore a gate on the right and after half a mile you will reach a tarmac farm road. Turn left. A short walk takes you to the road, where you turn right.
5. Millington Dale
After another short walk there is a bridleway sign pointing left. Take this for a lovely woodland walk through Greenwick Dale and Stable Woods.
Soon the track splits – take the right side, signposted down to a gate where the dale opens out. Continue straight on to another gate, heading back into woodland. After 200 yards, turn left into Tun Dale. The woodland to the right is private. Continue along the bottom of the dale into Randall Dale, which winds its way for one and a half miles to the road through Millington Dale.
Turn right here and continue through this lovely dale, tracked by a narrow strip of tarmac. It is a very quiet road with probably more cyclists than cars. Soon, on the left, the track reaches Nettle Dale – it is about here that Hockney painted his watercolour A Wider Valley Millington. The post you see here is one of 14 that you will see as you walk along. Each has a letter and spells out “Gait in the wolds”.
6. Woodland diversion
The walk takes you past the entrance to Scoar Dale on the right. After just short of a mile and a half, the way reaches the entrance to Lily Dale and Millington Woods. This is a popular ancient woodland walk with parking and picnic areas. If you have the energy, head into the woods and climb a series of steps on the right cut into the hillside. The steps climb high up into the tree tops, then continue on to another set of steps that takes you back down.
Once back from the diversion, turn right and continue on for a mile back to Millinton for treats at the Ramblers Rest or a drink at the Gait pub.
Words: Jim Bradley