This is a fairly moderate circular walk of about 9 miles, with a shorter alternative. The walk starts and finishes in the historic village of Kirby Grindalythe. The route has a couple of short climbs and has some excellent views of the Wolds along the way. Part of the route is along bridleways which are mostly good underfoot, the rest follows little-used paths.
This walk is covered by the Ordnance Survey Map of Howardian Hills & Malton (Yorkshire Wolds North) The OS Explorer Map 300 is centred around Malton and contains parts of the Howardian Hills and The Yorkshire Wolds. With this map you also get a code for use on your iOS or Android smartphone or tablet. Explorer maps are available in both the standard paper version and weatherproof ‘Active’ version.
Kirby Grindalythe where the walk starts and finishes is a historic village in Ryedale about 8 miles southeast of Malton. The village sits in the Great Wold Valley and the mysterious Gypsey Race stream runs through the village.
The village was mentioned in the Doomsday Book, commissioned in 1085 by William 1, when it was called Churchebi. The name Kirby Grindalythe is derived from Old Norse (Kirby – “village with a church”. Grindal – “valley with cranes” and lythe – “slope”). This area was settled earlier than that though, there are a number of Bronze Age Barrows on the higher ground in the parish. Also nearby is Duggleby Howe which is one of the largest round barrows in Britain
St Andrew’s Church in the village is an attractive building with a tall spire on top of its west tower. This is visible from most places on the walk and provides a useful reference point. If the church is open it is well worth visiting, it has a stunning mosaic that fills the entire west wall from floor to ceiling.
There is usually car parking available on the main street in Kirby Grindalythe (postcode: YO17 8DB). The village has no shops or pubs and there are no shops anywhere on the route so bring plenty of water and food for the walk. There are a few styles and kissing gates to negotiate on the way. The whole route is fine with a dog. Most of the fields are arable but there are a couple with livestock, so you may need to put your dog on a lead in parts.
Walk from Kirby Grindalythe to Toby’s Bench
Kirby Grindalythe to Low Mowthorpe Farm
Follow the stream along the village street away from St Andrew’s Church. Turn left and walk past the Cranedale Centre towards Low Road. Turn left and walk along the verge for a short while. Take care as this road is quite busy and the traffic moves fast. Turn right onto the signed footpath which leads up the edges of the fields. This is the first climb of the day up Mowthorpe Wold.
The views of Kirby Grindalythe and the surrounding countryside open out behind you. Just past an area of uncultivated wildflowers, there is a track on the left leading to High Mowthorpe Plantations. Follow this track past the access road to High Mowthorpe Farm and stay on the track as it bends sharply to the left. The track now descends back down the wold towards the main road. Look to the right for some excellent views of Bug Dale and the village of Duggleby. Near the bottom, you pass a large pond area with lots of wildflowers and a wooded area, this isn’t named on the map.
At the main road, turn left and walk along the verge. Keep an eye on the traffic as it’s moving quite fast here. Fortunately, it’s only a short walk. Turn off when you reach a road on the right-hand side. Follow this downhill for a short while until it crosses a stream, the Gypsey Race. Immediately after the bridge, there is a path on the left that follows the stream. Follow the stream almost to Low Mowthorpe Farm. The stream along here seems to attract lots of birdlife, I’ve seen plenty of ducks, ducklings and a heron.
Low Mowthorpe Farm to Toby’s Bench
As you get close to the farm buildings look for a track on the right that climbs the wold, away from the farm. Now you are on the second climb of the day. As you climb look over to the left for more views of Kirby Grindalythe and the surrounding countryside. Follow the track all the way to a line of trees next to a road (Stonepit Hill).
Just before the road look on the left for an unplanted track through the crops, follow this to reach a footpath on the left. If the track through the crops isn’t there you can walk along the verge on the road to get to the footpath. Again, be careful of the traffic.
Follow the path past the top of Crowtree Slack, an old pit and a dew pond. Walk past the wood at top barn and turn left and then right to continue to the track junction at Toby’s Bench.
If you want a shorter walk you can take the left-hand track straight down the wold back to Kirby Grindalythe. Otherwise, continue straight on the track towards Crook Plantation.
Walk from Toby’s Bench to Kirby Gindalythe
Continue along the track alongside Crook Plantation until you reach a road. Turn right onto the road. Almost immediately turn left onto the access road to Squirrel Hall Farm. Walk along the side of Kirby Plantation. On the right are extensive views towards Sledmere. Continue past the farm and follow the track as it cuts through Fox Covert.
Turn right so the woodland is now on your right-hand side. Walk past the wood into open countryside. The track reaches a crossroads. Turn left here to follow the green lane down the side of the wold towards Thirkleby Manor. Before descending you might want to turn right and walk a short way up to the Trig Point measured at 515 ft above sea level. From here there are extensive views north across the Vale of Pickering to the North Yorkshire Moors.
As you walk down the green lane, the village over to the right is West Lutton. At the bottom of the hill, follow the path left towards Thirkleby Manor. Walk past this across fields, at which point the path follows the stream (Gypsey Race) all the way back to Kirby Grindalythe.
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