Wander around the beautiful Yorkshire Wolds
Starting and ending in the beautiful Wolds village of Thixendale, follow the trail below to see the Wolds landscape in all its glory, and discover history and heritage along the way. The grid references refer to picturesque views and glimpses of the ponds along the way, rather than the dew ponds themselves.
1. The start of this wonderful walk is in the picturesque Yorkshire Wolds village of Thixendale, nestled deep in a chalk valley, between the market town of Driffield in the east and York off to the west. Parking is informal on one of the village roads – please be mindful of local residents and landowners needs when parking and don’t block gates or driveways. Grid reference: SE84443 61018, postcode: YO17 9TG
2. Walk south out of the village out onto Huggate Hill Road. Follow the road sign up the steep hill towards Huggate.
3. As you reach the top of the climb up the hill. Look to your right and take in the majestic sweeping dry chalk valleys that converge on this sleepy village. Down in the valley bottom you will be able to see one of the restored dew ponds, with its white chalk shining out amongst the greens of the surrounding farm fields. Grid reference: SE 84381 60180
4. As the road levels out continue for a short distance until you arrive at Gills Cottage. Just past the cottage is a right turn onto the Wolds Way National Trail route. Take this turn and you will find yourself on a stoned track.
5. Walk down the track to the field gate and stile where you will find a stunning carved wooden panel interpreting the dew ponds and their wildlife. Go through the gate and you will find yourself looking out across the valley of Thixendale below you. Just off to the right is a historic dew pond that was restored in 2019 and is now a magnet for wildlife and a drinking source for the sheep. Grid reference: SE 84524 59339.
6. Follow the Wolds Way trail downhill & the stunning art installation ‘Waves & Time’ created back in 2010 as part of the WANDER Wolds Art trail. The spiral earthwork is a representation of the impact and link between the chalk valleys and their formation through ice and water thousands of years ago. Turn right and walk through the valley bottom, and take in the serenity and tranquillity of the landscape.
7. After a short walk you will arrive at a kissing gate (grid reference: SE84373 59815). Pass through the gate and continue straight on through the valley to arrive at a chalk track. At this point look up the grassy slope on your right and you will see hundreds of rounded mounds. These are ant hills and many will possibly have been present for hundreds of years. A natural art installation.
8. Pass through a 5 bar metal gate and you will arrive back onto a minor road. At this junction of track and road sits another restored dew pond, this one in the valley bottom, but again important for both wildlife and farm livestock. Grid reference SE84112 60325. Turn right onto the tarmacked road and walk back into Thixendale village to end this stroll through time and place where man and nature come together.
Thank you to Andrew Locking for use of his photos of the Yorkshire Wolds. You can find more walks in the area on his website.