Toisland Wold to Wharram Le Street
The previous section of the walk came from North Grimston to Toisland Wold. This section passes through typical Wolds countryside, a mixture of arable and livestock farmland. The route goes through the picture-postcard village of Thixendale (where there is a pub and shop). It also passes through the abandoned village of Wharram Percy, now owned by English Heritage. A short detour explores the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s nature reserve at Wharram Quarry. After 6.1 miles it arrives in Wharram Le Street.
Much of the Centenary Way 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. The map is available in both the standard paper version and the weatherproof ‘Active’ version.
Toisland Wold to Thixendale
The first part of the walk to Thixendale shares the Wolds Way down to the village.
From Toisland Wold head out through the small copse and then along the field boundary on a good path arriving at a gate. Go through the gate and then downhill keeping the fence to your left until you reach a fence at the bottom. Walk through the gate and head slightly left towards a kissing gate. At this point, the path now rises steeply up the hill, have a rest halfway up and admire the views behind you.
Another kissing gate awaits near the top. Once through this, head towards a fingerpost in the corner of the field. Turn left and follow the field edge until you reach a stile on the right. Cross the stile onto a farm track between the fields. The views across the Wolds here are quite extensive in all directions. Once you’ve had your fill of scenery follow the farm track left towards the wood and continue down into the village of Thixendale.
Once you’ve arrived in the village turn left along the main street passing the small shop on your left and the church on the right.
Thixendale to Wharram Percy
Towards the end of the village on the left is a lane that goes past the Cross Keys pub and leads to the entrance of the field containing Thixendale Cricket Club. Walk past the clubhouse and follow the path rising up on the left. At a fingerpost in the fence line cross onto a farm track. You can see a gate ahead leading to a path that climbs steeply up the side of Court Dale.
The path then runs along the top edge of Court Dale with some great views, if you are tall enough to see over the bushes which cover the hillside. The path then turns right into the corner of the field to another gate. Head through this gate and keep in an uphill direction with the field boundary on your left. The path then joins a track.
Turn left onto the track and follow the Chalkland Way signs towards North Plantation. At the next T-junction, the Centenary Way rejoins the Wolds Way. Turn right here to walk through two gates, eventually reaching a path junction close to a metal gate. Turn left here and continue to walk along the top edge of Deep Dale. When the tower of the church at Wharram Percy comes into view, the path descends down to the deserted medieval settlement.
Wharram Le Street
Enter the site, walk past the duck pond and the ruins of the church and follow the track out. This is a disused railway line which leads eventually to a road. Turn right onto the road and up a wooded hill, passing the entrance to Wharram Quarry Nature Reserve on the right-hand side. Continue to follow the road to the crossroads in the village of Wharram Le Street. The next section of the walk continues to Settrington Beacon.
Britain has about 3,000 deserted medieval villages, Wharram Percy is one of the largest and best-preserved. It is also the most famous. Archaeologists have studied the site for over 60 years to try and find out what life was like in the village and why it was eventually deserted.
The village was occupied for six hundred years before it was abandoned shortly after 1500. The outlines of many lost houses can be seen on the grassy plateau above the millpond and the remains of the church. The site is managed by English Heritage.
Wharram Quarry is owned by Yorkshire Wildlife. This 7-acre site is a rich chalk grassland and designated an SSSI. It is home to many of the characteristic flowering plants that once thrived on the thin chalky Wolds soil.
The wide variety of wildflowers on the quarry floor attract a lot of butterflies, especially on sunny days. The best time to visit is June or July. See the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust for more information.
Note: Dogs are not allowed in the reserve.
I’m very grateful to the guide “The Centenary Way” written by North Yorkshire County Council which was referenced whilst writing this post.
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