The video below is pertaining to Ebor Way Oswaldkirk to Hovingham where we take a walk through the Howardian Hills and discover the idyllic village of Hovingham via Cawton.
Watch Ebor Way Oswaldkirk to Hovingham
Ebor Way Oswaldkirk to Hovingham Vlog
Ebor Way Oswaldkirk to Hovingham
If you’re not sure about where we are, this collection of signs will help. We’re just a stones throw from Ampleforth and Helmsley and we are not far away from the Malton to Helmsley road at the top of the hill.
I’ve done this walk many times and it is relatively easy to do. This house at the top I think was the same house that appeared on Escape to the Country one time with Nicki Chapman.
Sadly, there aren’t any places to have refreshment here so that’s why its best to do the walk this way around. The Malt Shovel public house owned by Samuel Smith is presently closed. However, Hovingham has many places to grab something to drink and eat.
Leysthorpe Lane, Oswaldkirk
Ebor Way Oswaldkirk to Hovingham
In any case, this is the route and it took me a couple of times to work this out. Instead of climbing the hill to the B1257 and walk beside the road, you actually walk down Leysthorpe Lane which is far more nicer than walking beside a busy road.
All over Ryedale I’ve seen so many signs for anti-fracking which to me demonstrates a huge aversion by local residents. I used to pass Kirby Misperton a lot using the Coastliner to Thornton le Dale and saw the huge camp of anti-fracking campaigners there. I must admit, I’m not keen on fracking either but I’m not sure if cementing your hands to Ryedale is the best way to resolve it. It just leaves you with a block of cement on your hands and a criminal record.
Did I say that there wasn’t anywhere for refreshments? Don’t think that this lane just contains stone cottages, you actually get a good view from here, especially when we are located in the Howardian Hills.
Leysthorpe Lane is straight and flat so there aren’t any steep hills to climb, yet. There is one hill we have to climb but that is all. Besides, according to experts, getting out of breath is a good thing not a bad thing. I’d like to bring a long the ‘expert’ who said that.
If you’re looking for solitude, this is a great walk to do because other than a Cawton I hardly saw a soul. I’m beginning my walk at 8am on a Wednesday morning and met a gentleman with a Labrador and we joked about how the inclement weather always appears in the school holidays. This is what I like about Yorkshire people, it can be chucking it down and yet we’ll still make a joke out of it. Every dark cloud has a silver lining I suppose.
This walk is very well marked with yellow arrows, (not red arrows they’re much harder to follow), clearly identifying the routes you can take. The lane however takes us out of Oswaldkirk and heads towards Birch Farm although we leave the lane a little further along. You’ll notice that I’m wearing jeans, and this is why you shouldn’t wear tight clothing, styles. At this time of year, wearing jeans isn’t a problem, but if its cold and wet they are not ideal for long walks as they are harder to dry. You’re better off with some proper trousers for walking and hiking. I don’t wear skinny fit jeans for two reasons, firstly they are bad for your health and secondly I can’t get in them.
Anyway, this is the only climb uphill and we head towards another style out on to the main road at the opposite end. However, you get some fantastic views from here across Birch Farm and beyond. You’ll notice that the fields are golden at the moment as it is harvest time. Not all the fields today have been harvested yet, but some have.
I really love it when the sky is a dark grey colour in contrast with the golden fields below them. Occasionally on a breezy day such as today, light comes through the gaps in the clouds and pockets of light traverse over the landscape. This makes great photography, and a great video too.
At the far top corner of the field you’ll see the style to the main road, being the B1257 to Malton. Now when I say main road, don’t worry as we don’t need to cross it. We only walk on the grass verge for a brief time, in fact to the next junction.
In this distance you can see Cawton which is a hamlet we walk through shortly. This walk is roughly about 4 to 5 miles long and for the most part is incredibly easy to do. You can get a Reliance no.31 bus to Oswaldkirk from York, Easingwold or Helmsley, and from Hovingham to Malton you need the Transdev 194. Unless you have a self-driving car, you’ll have to walk back for it doubling the walk!
Birch Farm Junction and Bridleway
Ebor Way Oswaldkirk to Hovingham
Heading the same direction beside the B1257 takes you to a turn off for Birch Farm. The first time I did this I walked straight past it. I don’t know I can’t explain it. The next junction is for Leysthorpe Hall, which you can see at the foot of the hill. I’ll point it out. We are now on the Ebor Way.
What goes up must come down, and you can walk, go-cart or sledge down this hill until you land at the bottom. When I lived at Hovingham, I lived there until I was seven and we used to go sledging down Potticar Bank, the hill at the Malton side of the village. It was human carnage but great fun at the time.
The road almost looks like a Roman road as it is completely straight. It kind of looks like someone has started to roll a snowball that has rolled down the bank. Still, on two occasions including today, I’ve seen deer here. If it has a kidney shaped white rump it is a male, otherwise if it is hart shaped then its a female. The last time I saw one here, I’d inadvertently cornered it against a gate. It escaped however into the field.
Again, the yellow arrows give you a strong indication to turn left at the foot of the descent and this part of the walk is an all too familiar bridleway, my favourite. At the bed, you will see Leysthorpe Hall which is a large house at the top of the hill. You might encounter a peacock here as well, and sometimes they come up to the main road.
It was here where I trapped the deer. I’m a poet and didn’t know it. There is a gate here that you walk through, so please be sure to close it afterwards as there are livestock and deer in this area.
As far as bridleways go, this one is in perfect order for the most part. Very easy to walk an and follow. Considering we are in the Howardian Hill’s, it is surprisingly flat from now on until we reach Hovingham. You receive these enormous yellow fields and what they contain is dependent on the time of year. I always enjoy the bright yellow luminance of oil seed rape that is generally ready in the spring.
It’s a little Alice in Wonderland material down here and you sometimes wonder where’s the tea party. And it’s not as if it isn’t teaming with life. There are hares and rabbits often, as well as birdlife. It’s somewhat of a menagerie. Oh yes and cows. Still, great scenery though!
Another slow motion shot. It’s like an advert for Furniture Village.
Of course, now you can see Oswaldkirk in its full form in the distance. In fact, sometimes when it is not so greened up, you can see Ampleforth as well, as its just a further two miles away.
I had hoped for some blue skies today, but in fact, grey skies can make some interesting photography too. I was say that photos in sunny weather make the best shots because you have lots of light to play with, and people like to see bright sunny photos. However, in landscape photography, dramatic grey or stormy skies can generate a really interesting photo too. I like the summer for photography as you receive a great deal of light to play with from sunrise to sunset.
I love this walk. I used to get the early bus from my home village near York and alight at Oswaldkirk. I can’t do this any more as the early bus now starts in Easingwold, bur fortunately my dad can give me a lift as he comes here every week. Picking up a bus from Hovingham to Malton is easy, and I can use the same ticket for the Coastliner back to York.
The bridleway, or namely Ebor Way, comes to a wooded section where you might become unstuck. You might see other bridleways and wonder if you should turn off, but just keep going straight ahead.
I know I always mention this, but it is important, its a good idea to look behind you on any walk not because I’m stalking you, but because you can receive some great views which you might miss.
You might have noticed that it is extremely windy, and if you watched my first vlog at Scarborough, then you’ll know that my lightweight tripod isn’t that great in strong winds. On the other hand, it does prevent you from perspiring during the summer so its swings and roundabouts.
I’m not sure if it is like this on the weekend but there are hardly any other people around.
I took this shot because of the natural spotlight projected on the village of Oswaldkirk. Sometimes the sun through the dark clouds looks like some kind of aerial searchlight, but you get these fantastic pockets of light floating across the landscape.
The bridleway turns into the typical bridleway with a grass stripe in the middle and this leads us to a field. Of course, the crop is abundant and the farmers have had a great year with the warm sunshine and the episodes of rainfall. A complete contrast to last year I believe.
In the distance to the left of you, you will notice another road. This road comes from the direction of East Gilling which I think is a stunning village, again set in the Howardian Hills. You can walk down a lane from Gilling to Cawton and Hovingham there, the lane we meet shortly.
You eventually meet a field at the opposite side of a kind of hump backed bridge. I’m not sure if this bridge has always been wall-less or if it at one time had them. Still it carries you over this trickling beck underneath. The beck is quite narrow but was flowing quite fast.
Here we cross the bridge and we enter through a gate with a view to turning left around the field edge.
We walk around the edge of the field to meet another gate and another field, heading more closer to Cawton.
I know I’m always giving safety advice in my videos, but as way of reminder, always bring water and something to eat with you, even if its just a bar of chocolate, and wear clothing for the season and keep dogs on leads where farm animals reside. Remember to close the gates too!
So we now go through another gate after negotiating some stones dragged from the field. I did wonder if I could emulate Mario and Luigi, and run up the stones and jump over the gate, collecting a few gold coins.
The Hamlet of Cawton
Ebor Way Oswaldkirk to Hovingham
In this field, we can just walk straight through in a diagonal, indicated by this ready made route through the crop. It kind of feels like you’re doing something naughty and illegal but in fact its not. I hope.
As we are early August, we can see that some of the crop has been harvested and there are some cylinder shaped bales about. I love them because they make good photos and they also make good seats, at least the rectangular ones do. Not see many of those recently.
It’s interesting to see these fluffy golden fields against the green fields against them.
On your left, you’ll see a large farm which is the beginning of the small village of Cawton. Actually, I’m not that certain if Cawton is a village or a hamlet, but in any case it isn’t huge and its very tranquil.
I kind of find this section the hardest because of the long wet grass, especially if its a heavy dew. But we access the gate and head up to the road that leads in and out of Cawton.
Here we turn left through the village indicated by the millstone with a caution sign adorning it. At least, it looks like a millstone to me. In any case, this is kind of a half way point to Hovingham.
The village, or hamlet, doesn’t have any side streets, it’s just situated down one lane. There’s no public house or post office, or even a Starbucks, but it does have charisma and on a scenic walk, this is essential.
On the right hand side, there is this stone structure which I must admit, I have absolutely no idea what this is. I tried looking for information on Cawton but there is very little. So if you know what it is, let me know through my website.
You will also notice Cawton Hall on your right hand side too, as well as several wheelie bins suggesting it is bin day, so don’t come on a Wednesday!
In any case, its a lovely village, hamlet, whatever it is, very tranquil and idyllic. All constructed with this creamy local stone. Many homes are constructed with red brick these days, but I must admit I favour a stone house. Cool in the summer, freezing in winter, but attractive to look at.
I also encountered the guardian of the post box too. This giant cockerel will ensure that your mail is well protected prior to collection. Unless its a hen then it will be an eggspress delivery.
I can’t remember if these plants were for sale or free, but in any case, this is Cawton Garden Centre.
At the opposite side you will find the millstone for want of a better term as well as Spring Farm. I love this old milk churn with ‘Spring Farm’ on it, nice touch.
It’s at this point the road splits and we find another bridleway which we take, again well indicated with a sign on a wooden post. On Google Maps, it is marked as ‘Hovingham St’ but I am uncertain of its accuracy. In any case, its part of the Ebor Way.
On your left is a wood or forest if you like. There is quite a lot of woodland in this area and around Hovingham. More than likely attracting a great deal of birdlife.
There are typically other forms of life too including some horse enjoying the summer breeze. As am I.
The bridleway on this section of the walk is similar to Birch Farm, it is in very good condition and looks well maintained. It’s these plain and simple bridleways and paths that makes the walk very easy to accomplish. Possibly the only person I saw down here was a cyclist, although a farmer and his spouse came down with a mode of transport.
As Cawton disappears behind you, you can find your self down this idyllic path with trees on one side and crops on the other. In the distance you see the outstanding Howardian Hills too that adds to the flavour of the walk.
A Walk of the Wild Flower Side
Ebor Way Oswaldkirk to Hovingham
Along this section are plenty of wild flowers such as these wild carrot flowers. However, they were sometimes being ganged upon by some hornets such as these dandelions. The poppies had no escape too.
In the summer, poppies are a favourite of mine with their bright red bold flowers against a contrasting green background. I call them Yorkshire’s natural distress flares.
The woodland kind of moves away and you can see more forestry in the distance. However, we do more than just see a forest, because you kind of walk through a little of it. It is a small portion of it too, and Hansel and Grettle have no problems getting lost in here. Mind you, I’m a little worried about the canibalistic witch found in these woods. But hey, I’m brave so I’ll be ok.
Don’t worry, this isn’t the witches abode, and I haven’t been abandoned in the forest to fend for myself. This is a private dwelling and a really nice house, I could see myself living here as its very private. I’m just waiting for someone to mention Little Red Riding Hood to send me well over the edge.
And you know, everything was going so well, nice scenery, nice day, nice breeze, nice walk and….nice big tree over the middle of the road. Ah deer.
No worries, I just did Mario and Luigi after all and jumped over it. Obviously, this has happened recently, but a fallen branch is nothing in comparison to Leyburn in North Yorkshire recently with the flooding.
I absolutely love these idyllic outbuildings that you find. You tend to see them alot around North Yorkshire, and often times on the moors but not exclusively so. I always think they make interesting features to a landscape photo.
We’re not too far from Hovingham now and you find yourself within some stunning scenery with green hills surrounding and fields bristling with uneaten food. My intention was to head straight for the village, but I was distracted by another wooden sign post. Watch this space.
If I had another chance of living in Hovingham again, I think I would definitely take it. Nice scenery, nice village, nice bakery, nice pub, nice place. Actually, the public house has just had a refurb and a name change from The Malt Shovel to The Hovingham Inn. Regardless of its name, I called in after the walk and you know it was fantastic. It has been decorated in keeping with the village, traditional but with a contemporary twist. I had a pint of Theakstones there before my bus was due to Malton. To be fair, the village also has a Bakery and cafe as well as the Worsley Arms Cricketer Bar and also The Park that serves food and drink too. If you want to learn more about Hovingham, I recently produced a video on this channel. You will find it at the beginning of the Britain’s Most Scenic Bus Route Malton episode.
I adore harvest season, combined harvesters, tractors and trailers as well as balers that are used to gather up what’s left for the livestock in the winter. A bare field adorned with circular bales makes some interesting photography especially if different lighting such as early morning or before sundown. In landscape photography, I’ve mentioned before how we should look out for patterns and geometric shapes that return some stunning results.
Hovingham and the Ornamental Bridge
Ebor Way Oswaldkirk to Hovingham
On noticing Home Farm to the right, there was another wooden sign as I mentioned earlier. So I decided to deviate form the Ebor Way and go and explore hoping that it would take me to the ornamental bridge part of Hovingham Hall.
I found a well maintained grassy path that took you around the edge of a field and among stunning views.
When I arrived to the bridge, so had the rain and a heard of cows. Still, I received a great view of the front Hovingham Hall. The main entrance to the hall however is actually at the rear.
I love this bridge, and I used to come here when I was as young, probably with my mum at the time. Imagine having this in your front garden as a view form the bedroom window.
These cows are looking right at me. I wonder what they eat? I think they are just curios of me. Better be on the moove just in case!
Well this is certainly a fantastic end to a fantastic walk. I also had a fantastic sandwich in Hovingham for lunch as well as a fantastic pint of Theakston’s from the Hovingham Inn but sssssshhh don’t tell anyone.
Well, that seems to end our walk from Oswaldkirk to Hovingham along the Ebor Way. I’m going to leave you now with some scenes from Hovingham. Until next time!
Phovlography! (Appears on www.philljamesbroadcasting.co.uk)