Fridaythorpe village is on the A166 and about a mile beyond the turning for the village of Thixendale. Turn left at the Farmers Arms and park opposite the village pond. Fridaythorpe is the highest of the Wolds villages.
This walk is especially magical in late January when snowdrops fill the landscape, marking the onset of spring.
7.7 miles/12.4km | 4.5 hours | moderate
1. Huggate Wold
Head back to the main road and turn right, cross the road and after 250 yards look for the left turn on to Yorkshire Wold Way. Follow the wide track for 600 yards to a gate with a large tree to its left, and head through the gate.
Immediately in front of you is Holm Dale. Resist the temptation to go down, this is the way back. Instead turn right and follow the fence to a gate with a hedge on the left; go through the gate and walk straight on for 500 yards to the last hedge. Here, turn left and follow the track briefly, turning right towards Wold House Farm – there is a very large piggery on the left just before the farm. The track takes you through the farm (the farmer is friendly to hikers).
2. Horse Dale
Continue on the tarmac road from the farm and, after some 200 yards at the last hedgerow, turn left. A downhill walk for half a mile leads to a double gate. Go through it and continue downhill, slightly to the right, to a single wooden gate at the bottom. Pass through the gate to enter Horse Dale.
A short climb up to the left takes you to the top of the dale. Soon on the right is a gate. Here we leave the Yorkshire Wolds Way and carry on along the top of the dale. This is a well-used track and a great places to appreciate the dramatic beauty of this dale.
After a mile you will reach the Wolds Poetry Bench, part of an art project to promote the Wolds. On the seat is a plastic sandwich box, inside which there is a notebook asking for comments on the Wolds and Dales. You can leave a poem, or simply a message, and the best are recorded on to a disc.
3. Cow Dale
After a rest and a poem in the book, look behind to the left and for a gate. A short climb leads you to it, and a few yards beyond is the road. Here, turn right – this is a lovely walk in spring when blossom appears on the trees.
600 yards down the hill, look to the left for a metal gate. Go through it to enter Cow Dale, then continue on through another gate into Rabbit Dale. Here keep slightly to the left (to the right is Oxlands and Shortlands Dale). Pass through a metal gate where the dale name changes back to Cow Dale. Just beyond is a wooden sign pointing left.
A short climb is followed by a quick short right, a left and then a drop down into Harper Dale. In spring the fields are full of buttercups. Keep left as the woods to the right are private.
Continue along the bottom for a good three-quarters of a mile, through the metal gate and you are back in the bottom of Horse Dale. Take the gate on the right, followed by a steady climb through Holm Dale. Near the end the dale forks; keep to the right and take a short, stiff climb back to the gate by the tree and back to the car.
Before you go, it is well worth visiting another village, Garton on the Wolds. Turn left on the A166 and 10-minute drive takes you to the small settlement. Turn right and park close to St Michael’s Church for a peek inside.
Words: Jim Bradley