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Welcome to Walkshire

Welcome to Walkshire, the year long campaign from Welcome to Yorkshire to make the county the home of walking in the UK. You might ask yourself what is Walkshire? What does it mean for me and hopefully, how can I get involved?

We are blessed with some of the most iconic locations in the country to stretch those legs and get outdoors, however, Walkshire isn’t just about celebrating the countryside and our many beautiful sites across the region. Just as walking is accessible to all, Walkshire is accessible to all. We will be focussing across the year on urban walks, walks on your doorstep, walks with friends and walks that discover the history and heritage of our fine county.

Whilst we will be covering walks all over the region it is really important to make sure that you follow the countryside code at the latest Covid restrictions at all times. We’d want you enjoy Yorkshire but respect the people and places of our unique part of the world

There will be a walk a day published across all our website and social media channels. This will help you build up a library of walks to choose from when you have time to get out and about. These will be themed seasonally ranging from a mental health focus in January, child focussed walks in the school holidays and spooky ghost walks at Halloween. We’re also collating many of our walks on our handy Walkshire map so that you can find them easily and check out different types to try out when you’re ready.

Walking is also a fabulous way to support some of our communities and local businesses. That cup of coffee, the ice cream for the kids or the quick snack to refuel will make a big difference to some of the businesses that have had a hard time in the last year. They want to see you, and Walkshire provides that great excuse to see them.

We’re also working with some famous faces from the region who will share their experiences and favourite places for a stroll, as well as some of the region’s finest bloggers who will talk about the thing that they are passionate about, walking. We know that you will be engaged and inspired by their stories as they talk with passion about the places that they love. They are all different people with different approaches but united by a love for the region and benefits of walking. You’ll get to meet people (and the odd dog) that you’ll want to learn more about, and from, in the coming weeks and months.

We will also be working with Yorkshire Cancer Research and helping them raise much needed funds to continue their good work in the battle against cancer and it’s impact on people and families. The benefits of walking and being healthier reduce your chances of developing cancer and you’ll have opportunities to get involved with fundraising during the month of May when we hold our ‘Tour de Walkshire‘. We’re proud to be supporting such a great local cause.

You also hear from great organisations such as Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, Sustrans and the Canal & River Trust, and with three National Parks in the county you truly are spoilt for choice on where to roam. All of these maintain great and unique walking routes across Yorkshire and we hope you’ll enjoy their stories and routes over the year.

So what is Walkshire and how can you get involved?

Simply, Walkshire is for everyone. We’ll show you over the course of the year that Yorkshire has every type of walk that you could possibly imagine in every location the region has to offer. You can get involved by getting out and about, sharing your experiences of Walkshire on social media and this website.

A final request from us here at Welcome to Yorkshire as you enjoy Walkshire, please make sure you respect local Covid guidelines, always follow the countryside code and be sure to check the weather before setting out on a walk. Yorkshire is the most beautiful place and let’s make sure we keep it that way.

Enjoy 2021, the year of Walkshire.

A Yorkshire Pilgrimage from Ripon Cathedral to Fountains Abbey

A pilgrimage, tracing the steps of the monks who walked the route in 1132 AD, has been an annual event in Ripon on Boxing Day for the past 45 years.

Fountains Abbey is one of the largest and best preserved ruined Cistercian monasteries in England. It is located approximately 3 miles southwest of Ripon in North Yorkshire

In December 2020, Covid restrictions sadly prevented the annual event from taking place. After the easing of lockdown restrictions in July 2021, Ripon Together decided to arrange a Yorkshire Summer pilgrimage as part of its ‘Healthy Journeying’ campaign, with the aim of getting people out walking in Yorkshire.

While you can enjoy the route all year round, we are encouraging residents and visitors to Ripon to do it on this year’s delayed annual pilgrimage. Taking place on 4th September 2021, we will be tracing the steps of the original founders of the Abbey to celebrate the ongoing Walkshire campaign.

Led by Canon Barry of Ripon Cathedral, the walk will set off at 12.30pm on Saturday 4th September and should take about an hour at a leisurely pace.  There are three food outlets at Fountains Abbey, while two additional concessions will offer cakes and liquid refreshments on the Abbey Green where you can also watch the Ripon City Band. Now in the national premiership of brass bands, they will play two sessions featuring some Yorkshire pieces, finishing at about 3.30pm. 

The Cathedral Church of St Peter and St Wilfrid, commonly known as Ripon Cathedral, and until 1836 known as Ripon Minster, is a cathedral in the North Yorkshire city of Ripon. Founded as a monastery by Scottish monks in the 660s, it was refounded as a Benedictine monastery by St Wilfrid in 672.

The Yorkshire Pilgrimage is free to join, though we will need to know the numbers attending for safety reasons. To facilitate this, free tickets for the event are available through Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/pilgrimage-from-ripon-cathedral-to-fountains-abbey-tickets-158397195275   

Paper tickets are also available from Ripon Cathedral and Fountains Abbey Visitor Centre. 

Yorkshire Wolds Dew Pond Wander: a journey through time

Credit: Dew pond- F Grace EM

Dew ponds – sometimes called cloud ponds or mist ponds – are man-made ponds which were created in the 18th and 19th centuries to provide water for farm animals. In the dry, chalk landscape of the Yorkshire Wolds, a natural supply of surface water was not always available, so the ponds were an essential source of water for the animals.

Despite their magical name, it’s thought that the water in the ponds came mainly from rainfall, rather than dew, clouds or mist. For almost 200 years, farmers relied on these ponds to provide water for livestock, so the ponds were regularly maintained as an essential part of the farm.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust has worked with the local farming community on a two-year project to restore a network of these ponds right across the Wolds. They’re once again an important feature in the landscape and an oasis for an array of wildlife such as emperor dragonflies, great diving beetles, frogs, toads and newts. They are also an important source of water for farmland birds, which have declined rapidly in recent years, as well as mammals such as deer and hare.

You can discover several of these dew ponds along a beautiful circular trail in the Wolds, starting from the picturesque village of Thixendale. So why not pull on your boots, explore the stunning landscape for yourself and take advantage of the wildlife highlights along the route?

Take a look here – https://www.ywt.org.uk/wolds-dew-ponds/walk

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is the only charity entirely dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring Yorkshire’s wildlife and wild places.

To help protect our wildlife and wild places please:

• Observe the latest government guidance on social distancing
• Follow any signage on our nature reserves
• Stick to the paths and trails, and check if dogs are welcome or need to be on a lead
• Take your litter home with you

Wheelchair users on a rough path at Langsett Reservoir

Inclusive Walking with Experience Community – Langsett Reservoir

Before his diagnosis with MS in 1995, Bill worked for the Army School of Mechanical Transport as a HGV driving instructor. After retiring in April 1996, he kept active by sailing with the MS Society. He took part in offshore sailing for three years, sailing round the south coast of England and the Western Isles of Scotland. He also competed in both the North Sea Trophy Race and the Fastnet competition as part of a mixed ability team. 

As well as sailing, Bill and his wife Fiona continued to enjoy hill walking, enjoying a big holiday to Andorra in 2005. However, bit by bit, walking holidays became more difficult due to Bill’s deteriorating mobility.

Bill said, “we first saw Experience Community (EC) and the Mountain Trikes on BBC Countryfile and then I tried out a Mountain Trike on an MS Military weekend for ex-military personnel where it was being demonstrated. We contacted EC and arranged to have a go on one of their trikes at a taster day at Oakwell Hall, Birstall, and several months later I managed to buy my own.”

Bill and Experience Community MD, Craig Grimes, at Oakwell Hall in 2015

Bill and Fiona live in Driffield and like to visit local sites such as Bempton Cliffs, Tophill Low, managed by Yorkshire Water, and Sledmere House and Gardens. They walk regularly with Driffield Striders and enjoy visiting local villages in better weather. Bill enjoys Hull Art Gallery which he visits independently or with friends – he can navigate the wide spaces in the gallery on his Mountain Trike. 

One of their favourite places they have discovered whilst rambling with Experience Community is Langsett Reservoir, managed by Yorkshire Water. Bill told us, “we like this site because there is a variety of scenery and terrain. There are lots of ups and downs, trees, open ground and water, the feeling of being at one with nature and lots of muddy bits!”

Bill on an Experience Community Ramble at Langsett Reservoir

While it’s a bit of a drive to get to Langsett Reservoir from Driffield, they both think it’s worth it. They told us, “Yorkshire Water have done some work on the footpaths so we can now do a longer route. The quality of the footpaths is great and most of it is accessible. It can get very boggy in places when it rains but that makes it interesting!”

The Mountain Trike that Bill uses, has, he says, given him some independence. However, more importantly, “it has given both of us back some of the life we’d lost. If I was still walking, we’d be out all the time and the Mountain Trike has given us some outdoor life back.”

Langsett Reservoir is just off the A616, near Penistone, with several disabled blue badge spaces in Langsett Barn car park. Please be aware that the car park tends to fill up quickly most days. There are disabled toilets available at this car park but there are no on-site café facilities. There is, however, the Bank View Café just across the A616, which also has a disabled toilet and great cake!

The main path at Langsett Reservoir is a good quality compacted surface.

For more information on Langsett Reservoir and other Yorkshire Water countryside sites, go to www.yorkshirewater.com/things-to-do/reservoirs and click on Langsett Reservoir.  

Please visit our website at www.experiencecommunity.co.uk for other walk ideas. If you have a disability and would like to share your favourite walk with us, please do get in touch through our social media networks or email us at info@experiencecommunity.co.uk

wold rangers way

Horse Hair Jack Trod of The Wold Rangers Way

This is a glorious 9-mile circular walk through the stunning Yorkshire Wolds countryside. This is a smaller walk encompassing much of the new, longer challenge walk, The Wold Rangers Way.

The walk begins and ends at Market Place, in the centre of Driffield in the East Riding of Yorkshire. You will be walking primarily along well-trodden lanes steeped in history.

horse hair jack trod

The introduction of machinery to agriculture in the 19th century, along with the enclosure of land, created a lot of landless folk with no work. Most headed to the towns and cities but many remained, leading a nomadic existence and living off the land. They were known as The Wold Rangers.

They walked and lived along the lanes all around the Wolds, going from farm to farm in search of work. Known as extremely trustworthy, they were never turned away when they turned up at a farm. If there was no work, they at least received some food or shelter.

gate wolds

In fact, the last of the Wold Rangers, a man known as Dog Geordie, only died in 1987.

The full Wold Rangers Way itself is 43 miles in length and takes in the whole area. However, some smaller day walks have been created using the names of Wold Rangers from the past, like this one, Horse Hair Jack Trod.

driffield

From the centre of Driffield, head east and you’ll soon reach calm and green space. Even before leaving the town, you pass through The Keld, then along and over the A166 before hitting long straight lanes proper.

The walk is effectively 3 long tracks, well trodden and clear. You don’t have to worry about any turns so you can concentrate on the views and enjoying the great outdoors.

Continuing outwards and gradually upwards on Garton Balk (track), you won’t find anything strenuous at all. You soon get to see the lay of the land here, with fields of crops as far as the eye can see.

crops wolds

I was here in mid summer, when the contrasts of crop colours and blue skies made it invigorating with plenty of that feeling of escapism.

From there, you turn right to pass along some beautiful undulating tracks with secluded farms and farmhouses. You then complete the walk by heading back along a track called ‘Long Lane’ back to Driffield. I have put a GPX file on our routes map at Walkshire.com to help you.

tracks

This is a 9-mile walk, but due to the lay of the land, the well-trodden lanes and lack of steep inclines, it doesn’t feel like such a long walk at all. It is definitely a walk to enjoy at a sedate pace, rather than in a rush. You’ll be out with nature in the fresh air of The East Riding of Yorkshire.

This is also a very dog-friendly route too. The lanes are wide and not busy at all, though I would just advise you to be careful of the crops.

Step out and take strides for Yorkshire’s wildlife, one piece of litter at a time

Credit: Jon Hawkins, two volunteers litter picking.

Taking a walk in the countryside, by the sea or down the road to the local park is something we might have taken for granted until last year. We all admire the beautiful scenery, landscapes and local wildlife on a much-loved walk, but how much do we consider the hard work that might be taking place in the background to keep it safe for wildlife and people? It’s been wonderful to see so many people enjoying Yorkshire’s wild places over the eighteen months but it’s been sad to witness so much litter quickly building up in these spots too. Wherever litter is dropped, it can find its way into our watercourses and then into our already suffering seas.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is working hard to tackle the problem of marine pollution. In our latest blog, Marine Pollution Officer, Ana Cowie, tasks us with a litter picking challenge in our local patch, wherever that may be. Our small actions can make a big difference. So if you’re walking round the block or heading to the coast, picking up litter as you wander can lead to a step change for public behaviour and Yorkshire’s wildlife.

Visit our latest blog here: https://www.ywt.org.uk/blog/ana/step-out-and-take-strides-yorkshires-wildlife-one-piece-litter-time

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is the only charity entirely dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring Yorkshire’s wildlife and wild places.

To help protect our wildlife and wild places please:

• Observe the latest government guidance on social distancing.
• Follow any signage on our nature reserves.
• Stick to the paths and trails, and check if dogs are welcome or need to be on a lead.
• Take your litter home with you.

Give Seas a Chance

Yorkshire’s seas were once full of wildlife but due to decades of human neglect and harm, they are falling silent and empty. Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s expert marine team are working against the clock to save, restore and enhance our beautiful, essential seas and incredible wildlife. We’ve got the solutions. We just need you. Help us turn the tide and give Yorkshire’s seas a chance.

Donate and take action today: Give Seas a Chance | Yorkshire Wildlife Trust (ywt.org.uk)

Riverside beauty at Barmby on the Marsh

The picturesque village of Barmby on the Marsh is the starting point for a beautiful six-mile circular route around the village, along the banks of the River Derwent and River Ouse and cutting across the edges of fields between the two. It’s a great choice for families with reluctant walkers, with various opportunities to cut the walk short and return to the village if necessary.

There are loads of interesting things to see, from the Tidal Barrage at the starting point of the walk to the huge towers of Drax Power Station. The walk is almost completely flat (as can be expected from this area) and very peaceful. On a beautiful sunny Saturday we only passed one other walker on the Trans Pennine Trail. It was our first time trying one of the suggested routes from the Walking the Riding website and we absolutely loved it!

Read more about this fabulous East Yorkshire walk (where you can also find other great walks for families around Yorkshire).

It was 40 years ago today – Cricket’s Walking Legend

By Stuart Raynor

It was July 20th 1981 when Ian Botham went from outstanding cricketer to sporting immortal at Headingley in Leeds. 

The out-of-form, recently-deposed England cricket captain was fighting a losing cause in the third Test of the Ashes series, the biggest contest an English cricketer can be involved in. 

Halfway through their second innings, England were still 116 runs behind the score Australia had managed in one attempt when Botham swaggered to the crease bubbling with bravado. Losing causes, Australian opposition, doubters to silence, these were the kind of things Botham fed off. 

No cricket fan needs telling what happened next. Botham smashed 145 runs that day, came back the following morning to add four more then watched his good friend the late Bob Willis take eight wickets as England won one of the most improbable and certainly the most famous victory in their history. 

It cemented Botham’s reputation as a cricketing inspiration, the all-action batting, bowling and fielding hero every youngster in a back garden or on a playing field wanted to be, the player every England selector wanted to find a copy of. 

It is at moments like that when sport has the ability to lift the mood of a country and very few people are born with the ability to create them, but fewer still have the ability to inspire off the field as well. 

Botham would never claim to have been a model professional but he has contributed so much more than just cricket, personally raising more than £15m for Leukaemia Research, the Yorkshire Brain Tumour Charity, Batten Disease Family Association, Cardiac Risk in the Young, YUVA Unstoppable, Switchback and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. He was knighted for his work in 2007. 

Botham, who has lived in Ravensworth near Richmond since 1990, once told The Yorkshire Post that July day 40 years go turned him “from a cricketer to that awful word, a ‘celebrity’, which I hate”, but he used his fame for good. Some professional sportsmen like to keep their charity work quiet but others, like Botham and modern England footballer Marcus Rashford, recognise they have a profile that can change lives.  

In 1977 the then 21-year-old Botham broke his foot in only his second Test match – again at Headingley – and was being treated at Taunton’s Musgrove Park Hospital when he stumbled across the children’s ward and spoke to four leukaemia patients. When he came back for a check-up a fortnight later, all four had died. 

This time it was Botham who was inspired, walking for John O’Groats to Land’s End in 1985 to raise £100,000 for leukaemia research.  By the time he finished, with the help of painkillers and with an England tour weeks away, he had raised over £1m. There were another 17 walks until a spine operation and two replacement hips forced him to hang up his boots. 

As in 1981, the odds were stacked against, with the survival rate for leukaemia 20%. Now it is up to 92%. 

This year, to celebrate Botham’s 1981 heroics, Beefy’s Charity Foundation is hosting a 40th anniversary virtual walk, where walkers can raise money for his good causes walking any time and at their own pace. 

For more information visit www.beefysfoundation.org/ashes-1981-test-series.php 

Visiting the scarecrow trail in Boston Spa

Merlin’s favourite outside the vets on the high street – he’s looking for a lady…..

This annual event is part of Boston Spa’s village festival. Although it was one of the only elements to go ahead this year due to Covid, the trail is still amazing, featuring superheroes and Disney characters executed very well.

There are around 100 scarecrows across Boston Spa, Clifford and Thorp Arch, so it might be best to choose one area per day! Track them down with a map from Doug Yeadon’s or Costcutter in the village.

boston spa scarecrow
Merlin loved Nemo and even managed to topple the jewels with his excitement!

Walking through the village, you can stop for an ice cream sundae at the lovely Hart’s, enjoy a beer outside the Stew or even have a wander down by the river. There was some great live music on the square, as well as a few street food stands for tapas and Indian treats.

scarecrow dog walk
‘I loved a sniff of Olaf although he tickled my nose…!’

You get to discover many hidden corners of the villages and admire all the handiwork, though watch out for a fright or two!

I barked at this scary lady….frightening!

It was all a bit hot and sticky after a while, so I took shelter in a bush to hide from the sun and the scary scarecrows!

All in all, this is definitely a great day out! The Boston Spa Festival usually takes place in mid-July.

Cliffe Castle Park

Situated on the outskirts of Keighley in West Yorkshire is Cliffe Castle, a beautiful little park with the added bonus of a children’s play area, cafe and museum.

If you fancy a gentle walk on wide open paths, this is a perfect spot to take in the beautiful gardens and surrounding scenery. It’s great for prams and wheelchairs, offering something for everyone.

Blogger Rosie Preston-Cook visited the park and you can find her description of the full route here.