Howardian Hills Walks
Caulkleys Bank and the River Rye
Date: 18th Feb 2012
Distance: 6.8 miles
Ascent: 557 feet
Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
Start Grid Ref: SE668790
A gentle climb on to the mini ridge of Caulkleys Bank was sandwiched by two lovely stretches alongside the River Rye.
Route Summary: Nunnington - Mill Farm - West Ness - Joan's Wood - Caulkleys Lane - Caulkleys Bank - Stonegrave - High Moor Lane - Nunnington
1. Nunnington Hall
2. The path we followed east along the banks of the Rye
3. Snowdrops near West Ness
4. The River Rye near West Ness
5. Joan's Wood
6. A hare on Caulkleys Bank
7. The wide path along the crest of Caulkleys Bank
8. The stone trig on Caulkleys Bank
9. Stonegrave Minster
10. Lisa striding away with sweeping views to the north
11. The River Rye
12. Fields just outside Nunnington
Walk Detail: Only three weeks after my first walk in the Howardian Hills I was back again, this time with Lisa on what was the first walk we'd been able to do, just the two of us, since November.
It rained all the way as we drove to Nunnington and actually seemed to get heavier when I parked the car. The forecast was for the rain to clear mid-morning so we decided to sit in the car for a while and see if the weather improved. Sure enough a large patch of blue sky began to approach across the Moors to the north and within twenty minutes we'd donned our boots and were setting off in sunshine.
After some early glimpses of Nunnington Hall our route initially followed the River Rye downstream from Nunnington to the hamlet of West Ness. A brief interlude in the tiny Joan's Wood was followed by a grand stride along the hedgerowed path of Caulkleys Lane which led easily on to Caulkleys Bank.
Caulkleys Bank is a hill of very modest stature but has a reasonably steep southern face with views across to the hills above the villages of Cawton, Hovingham and Slingsby whilst to the east a great area of flat ground eventually gives way to the Yorkshire Wolds. The best view though was north to a wide sweep of the North York Moors beyond Helmsley and Kirkbymoorside.
Along the 'crest' of the bank was a two metre wide path that was a joy to march along. Along the way we saw first one hare and then a second before catching a brief glimpse of the two boxing with one another before they ran out of sight. Not quite at the highest point of Caulkleys Bank was a stone bench next to the trig point which made a fine place to stop for our picnic.
Carrying along the ridge we eventually dropped down to Stonegrave where we visited the impressive church known as Stonegrave Minster. Parts of the church originate from the 8th century and inside the entranceway were the remains of an old Celtic cross.
Leaving the church there was a very short climb back up on to Caulkleys Bank before a gentle descent with sweeping views to the north eventually brought us back to the Rye which we followed for an absolutely delightful ¾ miles back into Nunnington and further clusters of snowdrops, a memorable feature of the walk.
Both this and my previous walk in the Howardian Hills were very different walks to what I'm used and to be honest I've been surprised at how much I've enjoyed them. I certainly intend on doing some more walks out that way later in the year.