The Centenary Way

About the Centenary Way

The Centenary Way was opened in 1989 and was devised to celebrate the 100th anniversary of North Yorkshire County Council. The walk goes from York to the seaside town of Filey. The route crosses the Howardian Hills via Castle Howard and the Yorkshire Wolds via Wharram Percy. It links the Foss Walk in York with the Yorkshire Wolds Way and joins up with the Cleveland Way at Filey. It follows two rivers, the Derwent and Foss. The Wolds Way shares a lengthy section of the walk between Malton and Filey.

The Centenary Way passes through lots of different places, woodlands, riverside trails, farmland, country villages and market towns. For the most part, the trail is quiet, it’s not as popular as some other long-distance paths like the Cleveland Way.

Places Visited

On its 83 mile journey from York to Filey, the Centenary Way goes through the following towns and villages – York, Huntington, New Earswick, Strensall, Sheriff Hutton, Terrington, Slingsby, Coneysthorpe, Castle Howard, Welburn, Low Hutton, Malton, Norton, Settrington, North Grimston, Birdsall, Thixendale, Wharram Percy, Wintringham, West Heslerton, Sherburn, Potter Brompton, Ganton, Hunmanby and Filey.

Maps

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 OS Explorer map for Howardian Hills & Malton is available in both the standard paper version and weatherproof ‘Active’ version.

The last part of the Centenary Way is covered by the Ordnance Survey Map of Scarborough, Bridlington & Flamborough Head. The OS Explorer Map 301 covers the east coast of Yorkshire around Scarborough, Bridlington and Flamborough Head. Highlights of the area include: Cleveland Way, Yorkshire Wolds Way and North Sea Trail.

Centenary Way Guides

I’m very grateful to the guide “The Centenary Way” written by North Yorkshire County Council which was referenced whilst writing this post. The NYCC guide breaks the walk up into 17 sections which I have described on separate pages, each with route details, map and a photo gallery.

1. York Minster to Earswick 4.3 Miles

2. Earswick to Strensall 4.7 Miles

3. Strensall to Sheriff Hutton 2.8 Miles

4. Sheriff Hutton to Huskitt Hill 6.2 miles

5. Huskitt Hill to Coneysthorpe 5.9 Miles

6. Coneysthorpe to Firby 6.9 Miles

7. Firby to Malton 5.6 Miles

8. Malton to North Grimston 5.9 miles

9. North Grimston to Toisland Wold 4.9 Miles

10. Toisland Wold to Wharram Le Street 6.1 Miles

11. Wharram Le Street to Settrington Beacon 3.7 Miles

12. Settrington Beacon to Abbey Plantation 5.3 Miles

13. Abbey Plantation to Crowsdale Wood 3.5 Miles

14. Crowsdale Wood to Staxton Wold Farm 5.7 Miles

15. Staxton Wold Farm to Sharpe Howe 3.0 Miles

16. Sharpe Howe to Hunmanby 4.3 Miles

17. Hunmanby to Filey Brigg 3.8 Miles

Public Transport

Large sections of the walk are not served by public transport at all. So, if you are walking the route in sections, as I did, you’ll need to be creative about how you divide the walk-up. I walked a lot of the stages there and back (no bad thing!). If you are OK with longer walks, then 1,2 and 3 can be combined and a return to York by bus from Sheriff Hutton is possible. Sections 9, 10 and 11 can be combined into a circular walk (North Grimston Circular). Sections 12, 13 & 14 are close to the A64 which the Coastliner bus serves. Finally, there is a regular bus service between Hunmanby and Filey.

Food and Drink

I took most of my food with me as shops are few and far between, as you would expect on a walk through rural countryside. However, there are shops in New Earswick, Strensall, Sheriff Hutton, Terrington, Malton, Norton, Thixendale, Winteringham, Sherburn, Hunmanby and Filey.

Highs

I started walking the Centenary Way by accident. During the coronavirus lockdown, I was looking for somewhere local where I could walk my dog as I was getting a bit fed up with the same walks every day. I had a look at the map and discovered that the Centenary Way goes through Malton where I live. Great I thought, here are a couple of walks I can do without breaking the lockdown rules. I didn’t realise there was such great walking right on my doorstep. As restrictions eased I went further and further afield until I had completed the walk.

I walked most of the route in late spring / early summer and there had been little rain so there was very little mud to contend with. I imagine some of the sections can be quite muddy when it’s been raining.

None of the sections of the walk is particularly hard. There is only a moderate amount of uphill walking involved, the early sections to Sheriff Hutton are completely flat.

There are some amazing views on the following sections: Huskitt Hill to Coneysthorpe (Vale of Pickering / Castle Howard), North Grimston to Toisland (Wolds), Settrington Beacon to Abbey Plantation (North Yorkshire Moors / Vale of Pickering) and Staxton Wold Farm to Sharpe Howe (Wolds).

A lot of the walk is across farmland, mostly arable. There is some very pleasant woodland walking around Coneysthorpe, Settrington Beacon and Abbey Plantation.

The route passes close to a number of historic sites and buildings: The 12th Century castle ruins at Sheriff Hutton (Strensall to Sheriff Hutton), the 18th Century stately home at Castle Howard (Coneysthorpe to Firby), the Augustinian ruins at Kirkham Abbey (Coneysthorpe to Firby) and the Medieval village at Wharram Percy parts of which date from the 10th century (Toisland Wold to Wharram Le Street).

Lows

It is a pity that the route has to cross the very busy A64 at Cranbeck – this is a very dangerous crossing for pedestrians. There are also some sections where there is a bit of road walking which is never pleasant (Haxby, Firby and Hunmanby). Some people have commented that parts of the walk are overgrown, I have to say I didn’t find this to be the case.

Summary

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the walk. The whole route is fine with a dog, my spaniel accompanied me throughout (maybe I should get him a badge). There were only a few parts where a lead was necessary – road walking and fields with livestock, although there aren’t that many of them. Finally, the end of the walk into Filey is ample reward for all your efforts. The final couple of miles along the coast are particularly stunning, especially if you arrive on a sunny day and the tide is out.

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The Centenary Way