Places to Visit in North Yorkshire
phill@philljamesbroadcasting.co.uk
phill@todoinyork.com

Skelton to Beningbrough River Ouse Walk

Visit York and North Yorkshire through Video

   

The video below is a vlog of Phill James’ Skelton to Beningbrough River Ouse Walk. Come and join us early morning as we take a fantastic stroll down by the river in a rural setting.

Useful Links for Skelton and Beningbrough

Skelton Parish

Skelton Village Trust

Beningbrough Hall (further upstream of the River Ouse)

Where is Stripe Lane in Skelton?

Watch the Skelton to Beningbrough Ouse Walk Vlog

Stripe Lane, Skelton

Skelton to Beningbrough River Ouse Walk

To get to Stripe Lane, it is a simple turn off opposite Skelton village on the A19 north of York. The lane is narrow with passing places, and car parking is limited but rarely busy. You can view a Google Map on the accompanying webpage in the description.

You walk towards the railway tunnel and go through underneath the East Coast Main Line. Be careful after heavy rainfall in winter because the tunnel can flood and the road is closed.

East Coast Mainline Stripe Lane Skelton
East Coast Mainline Stripe Lane Skelton

This lane takes you through the hamlet of Overton and bends back to the A19 outside Shipton. You can get to the river at the opposite side of Overton by turning down a public footpath on the left at a farm. You can see Overton at the top of the hill on the right hand side. On your left you can sometimes see the Minster when there’s a gap in the hedge.

When you arrive at the top, you see a some metal gates and a small area for parking. Some use this as a place to turn around to head back to Skelton and the A19. You can take the walk further to Beningbrough Hall and Newton on Ouse if you want to.

And the river of course is the River Ouse that is York’s largest river. The point where we are at present is known locally as Ferry’s Corner, so its assumed that there was once a ferry crossing here to Poppleton that you see on the opposite side.

Poppleton is quite a large village and the rear gardens of the properties slope down towards the river. You can oftentimes see some boats berthed on the Poppleton side.

Unfortunately, the sun is just coming up and the grass is very dewy this morning. This poses a problem later on – watch this space! Still, it makes an attractive video seeing the dew drops hanging from the foliage and of course the berries that are now forming.

Red Berries Ferry's Corner
Red Berries Ferry’s Corner

I oftentimes take the dog for a walk here as it is dog friendly up to a point. As Alfie loves swimming in the River Ouse, its a compulsory calling point for Micheal Phelps in a fur coat. We named our Golden Labrador Alfie, but I sometimes wonder if he should have been called John the Baptist because he’s never out of the water.

At the foot of the hill, we turn right towards the rear of Overton and heading towards Beningbrough and Newton on Ouse. The reason that we are finishing at Beningbrough village today is because I’m planning on performing another vlog based on a circular walk around Beningbrough Hall and Newton on Ouse in the future.

River Ouse

Skelton to Beningbrough River Ouse Walk

The word Ouse apparently means slow moving river, from the norse word Ousos. However, the river is far from slow moving after heavy rainfall and it can be precarious for dogs, even a seven times world champion swimmer like Alfie.

Fishing Platforms River Ouse
Fishing Platforms River Ouse

You’ll see a number of fishing platforms that are clearly numbered as it is a private fishing area. You’ll also see some kind of stone monument on the opposite bank in Poppleton and I must admit, I’m not sure if this had something to do with the former ferry crossing.

You might hear the sound of trains passing a lot on this route because of the East Coast Main Line on the right hand side and also you might hear trains on the Harrogate line on the left.

Depending on the time of year, this stretch of the route can hold some attractive looking wildflowers of varying colours which makes the walk pretty scenic. For the fisherman, it must be a scenic place to sit all day catching haddock. I’ve never been fishing so I know very little about it. For me, fish comes pre-packed in a supermarket.

I did witness a couple of hot air balloons, and the Virgin balloon is often seen above York. It once landed in the field on the left of the lane we walked along, and then a man in a pickup stopped and asked me who’s field it was. I said I didn’t know, but what I wanted to say was “who do you think I am? the Land Registry?”. If only I had the nerve.

Field-and-Riverside-Path
Field-and-Riverside-Path Skelton to Beningbrough River Ouse Walk

With the sun getting stronger, it helps to create some fantastic reflections on the river surface and that to me is an opportunity for some creative photography. If you want to take a photo of an historic building, a car or locomotive or whatever else, its good to look for a puddle and get low down to grab the reflection of your subject in the shot.

I enjoy how the field curves around with the river here.

We now find ourselves at the rear of Overton which is just a hamlet, very similar to Cawton in my last vlog on the Ebor Way. At the end of the village, you’ll see a path back up to the lane beside the farm. By this time however, I’m receiving some fantastic lighting as the sun ascends further. This also makes good photography too as well as video.

Being in the Vale of York, and by a river, the walk is as flat as a pancake making it incredibly easy to walk. Plus, you’re walking on grass too. However, I am not saying that this walk doesn’t have issues especially at this time of year.

Clearing a Style on the Riverside Path
Clearing a Style on the Riverside Path

Being very dewy this morning, there seems to be more water on the grass than in the river. At this time of morning, it can oftentimes be misty too but today we are lucky. You can just make out Overton as everything is grown up around it, and at the end of August, it won’t be too long this will die back.

It’s nice to go down to one of the platforms to see the River Ouse more closely, but be careful if you do because it can be muddy and slippery especially in winter. I once ended up flat on my back when dunking the dog last year. On another occasion, Alfie got his hind legs stuck in the silt and I had to roll my trousers up and go in to free him. I should have grabbed a haddock while I was there.

At the end of this section, I typically u-turn to take the dog back home again. Granted, there may be a further swimming opportunity before we do mind. I sometimes worry he’s going to swim to Boroughbridge or Selby and I dread to think what he’s do on the English Channel.

Overton Onwards

Skelton to Beningbrough River Ouse Walk

At the end of the section, this is when it became a little more challenging. As we’ve had the right mixture of water and sunshine for growth, it was a struggle getting through to the style at the other side.

It didn’t end there. The grass was quite tall and wet at this point but only to the next gate at the farm. And to be honest with you, I should have taken my own advice. When enjoying a walk like this, jeans are the worst thing to wear because when they get wet they stay wet for some time. Having a pair of trousers designed for walking is a good idea and they don’t have to be expensive. They tend to be light and hard wearing and they dry out quicker.

River Ouse near York
River Ouse near York

Still when I got to the gate, there was two cracking horses to greet me. If only I had an apple or two but it looks as if they have enough to eat anyway. Actually this field is generally full of livestock and mainly sheep speaking from experience.

This is my favourite part of the walk because you’ve got this lush pasture ground for grazing animals as well as an extremely tranquil river on your left hand side. So if you’re stressed out and want to rip what’s left of your hair out, this is the place to come and relaaaaaaaxxxxx. However, when relaxing be sure to shut the gate behind you when you do it. It’s also nice to stop and take a look at the river.

However, the sheep may not be so relaxed when they see you so treat them with a soft hand and give them a wink as you pass. And try not to think of a particular episode of Wallace and Gromit.

You’ll see a series of farm buildings on the right as you keep tight to the river on the left. It reminds me of that Windows XP Bliss wallpaper you used to get when Microsoft had a version of windows that everyone liked. These days I wear a Mac and very happy to do so.

It’s a great idea on any walk to take a look behind you. I can’t recommend that enough because the things you’ll miss if you have your back to it.

At the end of August we are also at the end of harvest season and we see plenty of bales of straw around this morning, especially further on. I think the majority of fields if not all have been worked in the local area. So it’s the time of year where all the golden fields have had a buzz cut.

I have a Canon camera bag and these style of bags always make my shirt come up at the back so I’m sorry about the semi-nudity in this clip. All of a sudden I’m glad I didn’t go for the “I live for fish n chips” tattoo I was going to have.

The river is so smooth it looks like an ice-rink, and there has been rare occasions when the Ouse has been frozen over. However, I wouldn’t walk on it let alone skate on it. Still, it makes a great shaving mirror for those with a rechargeable shaver. Last year, they were installing the platforms over the river for fisherman, but sadly some of the more severe floods burst the banks of the Ouse and damaged some of them. So I kind of feel sorry for the two man construction company who built them.

The kind of eye-sore that spoils the view is the large power lines above you that actually appear from where we started on Stripe Lane. Still if you ignore them, its a great view and the grass is very green which is enhanced by a blue sky this morning.

This walk is roughly 4 to 5 miles to Beningbrough, and I actually walked back home the same way too except for walking through the hamlet of Overton from the farm. I also walked further with the dog later on so I ended up walking 12 miles in all according to my iPhone and watch.

As for wildlife, I did see some deer on the opposite bank and too quick for me to set up the camera. On the return trip, I saw some sparrow hawk that are common in the area. One thing I did see was a flying heron but we’ll come to that later. Certainly many wild flowers though. In any case, the scenery is superb and would make a great picnic area although there was some sheep-muck about.

A mistake I made was walking to the right of this dip beside the river when really I should have stayed left. This is because at the other end you have to walk down the dip to enter the next gate. No doubt, I’ll forget this for next time.

Dandelion River Ouse Walk
Dandelion River Ouse Walk

Speaking of water, unfortunately there aren’t any toilets on this route other than a tree. I’m not trying to encourage using one of nature’s natural screens, but rather warning you about the lack of facilities. Cold winds and watercourses tend to make me feel the need. How technical do you want me to get?

The Right Clothing

Skelton to Beningbrough River Ouse Walk

This is a valid point. Wearing the right shoes is important, not only when it is wet with rain or dew, but in dry weather as well. Rural walks like this aren’t subject to tarmac paths, but more likely uneven surfaces that can be slippy. Therefore, having something robust that support your ankles is necessary and of course waterproof.

Just up ahead I spotted some cows on top of a hill looking right at me. As a rule, cows can be incredibly inquisitive, but today these cows decided to form a stampede into the field I’d just come out of. Cows are not dangerous unless they have young calves when they become protective. They tend to be nervous of humans and this was no exception today.

Grazing Cows River Ouse Walk
Grazing Cows River Ouse Walk

You’ll see some buildings up ahead and you may think that they belong to Beningbrough but actually they are belonging to the Red House Estate at Moor Monkton.

You then enter another grassy field adorned with wild flowers to the left side. The path here wasn’t particularly discernible, but you do keep to the left hand side as much as you possibly can.

Following this row of wild flowers will take you to a style at the other side of the field, and with everything being overgrown at the moment, it was a narrow gap but not a challenge. The clouds were now forming above creating some more temperamental skies. Fortunately, it didn’t rain.

Did I mention bales of straw? I remember the days when they were more rectangular than cylinder shaped. To be honest, I think the rectangular bales are best because they stack better and also they can be rolled down hill in a blaze of fire by arsonist youths. It happens sadly.

Anyway, I alter size and shape and disappear into the foliage. If only I could alter my dimensions more permanently. I suppose I do, with a bottled beer and a packet of Digestives.

I found myself in this enormous yellow field, with a buzz cut as I say, and I’m relieved to say no thunder bugs. If you watched the Scarborough’s Forgotten Shores vlog you’ll know where I’m coming from.

Just prior to witnessing a heron, I saw flocks of geese going by as I was filming this colourful wild flower here.

As the sky was greying over, as usual, it created a more dramatic feel to the walk as I crossed my fingers that it wasn’t about to rain. Not that I’m allergic to water, but rather it is not good for cameras.

I also discovered some more fishing platforms along this section for haddock catchers, or fisherman whatever you want to call them. I must admit, I have no fishing experience except for fishing a tin of salmon off the shelf at the supermarket. Speaking of fishermen!

This heron flew across the sky right before me, again I think it was nervous of humans including me. And it wasn’t just the heron that was flying.

At this point I was slightly confused because there was this bench in the middle of a field so I wondered if the path head that way to Beningbrough. I decided to ignore it and keep to the river.

Moor Monkton

Skelton to Beningbrough River Ouse Walk

I then got closer to Moor Monkton on the opposite bank which is an indication that the walk is nearly through. Like Overton and Poppleton, they stare each other in the face with the river in between.

Boats Berthed on the River Ouse
Boats Berthed on the River Ouse

I saw a couple of boats berthed at Moor Monkton too which I assume belong to the Red House Estate. Nearby this narrow boat chugged up behind me and I was expecting to wave at Rosie and Jim, but no cigar.

You tend to think of narrow boats being on canals which indeed they are, but the Ouse tends to receive them often too.

Again I disappeared into foliage once again but this time the style was just slightly more tricky especially getting a camera and tripod over it. However, it was worth it because there were yet more sheep grazing by an attractive riverside area.

It’s not unusual to see willow trees by the river as the drink like a fish. Their roots tend to spread out all over the place too. I love it when the branches dip into the water below.

Grazing Sheep by the River Ouse
Grazing Sheep by the River Ouse

Beningbrough Village

Skelton to Beningbrough River Ouse Walk

At this point to get to the village of Beningbrough you walk uphill following the path. I went to the top first to see if I was going the correct direction and I still wasn’t completely sure.

I entered onto a lane similar to Stripe Lane and turned left. There was a farm opposite and some other properties but I wasn’t totally sure it was Beniningbrough but I had a strong hunch. So was it Beningbrough or not?

River Ouse at Beninbrough
River Ouse at Beninbrough

Further Series Pertaining to North Yorkshire

The North Yorkshire Reporter

My North Yorkshire Walks Video Diaries

North Yorkshire Photography Workshop (Phovlography)