Howardian Hills Walks
Date: 28th Jan 2012
Distance: 6.7 miles
Ascent: 552 feet
Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: SE721742
A gentle ramble up on to Coneysthorpe Banks provided a pleasant introduction to walking in the Howardian Hills.
Route Summary: Barton-le-Street - Appleton-le-Street - Easthope Cottages - Holy Well - Park House - Coneysthorpe Banks - Kirk Road - Barton-le-Street
1. The fieldside path on the way to Appleton-le-Street
2. One of two ponies I passed in a small paddock
3. A short lovely wooded section led to Appleton-le-Street
4. Stainglass of St Hubert and the Hart
5. All Saints Church with its Anglo-Saxon tower
6. The inaccessible trig point on Hildenley Heights
7. The small Holy Well hidden amongst the brambles
8. The pleasant path skirting Spring Wood
9. Head Hag, a typical wooded hill in the Howardians
10. Coneysthorpe Banks Wood
11. Scarrish Wood
12. Spot the trig point in the hedge
13. At the top of Kirk Road
14. I enjoyed sweeping long distance views from Kirk Road
15. Looking down to Barton-le-Street
Walk Detail: For the second walk in a row I headed east, away from the Pennines. This time instead of heading for the North York Moors I made my way to the Howardian Hills for the first time. I’d been aware of them for a while but my attentions have always been fixed elsewhere, and besides that the term ‘hills’ is decidedly ambitious for an area that reaches a maximum height of only 174m.
So it was that I suppressed my natural inclination to go bag some of the outstanding summits on the numerous hill lists I’m attempting to complete and instead went out for what proved to be this surprisingly enjoyable little ramble. Enjoyable that is after I’d negotiated the icy road between the A64 and my starting point at Barton-le-Street including some rather nasty black ice in the village itself.
Apart from the odd muddy stretch this was a supremely easy and pleasant walk. From Barton-le-Street I walked through a few fields to reach Appleton-le-Street where I went and had a look inside and outside the church with its impressive Anglo-Saxon era tower. From Appleton-le-Moor it was a gentle climb up arable pastures to Easthorpe where I made a brief diversion east along the road to the trig point on Hildenley Heights. To my disappointment, and probably to the dismay of most trig point enthusiasts, the OS column (which sits on top of a covered reservoir), was surrounded by a 10ft high wire fence and was quite inaccessible.
Back at Easthorpe a pleasant descent through the woods brought me to Holy Well, a small feature that would have passed me by, half hidden as it is amongst the brambles, if it had not been specifically mentioned by Hannon in his ‘Howardian Hills’ walking guide.
After a walk along the bottom edge of Spring Wood I tackled the only real ‘climb’ of the walk up to Park House before following the woodland edge along Coneysthorpe Banks. All along this stretch of the walk there were fine views to my right out across the Vale of Pickering to the North York Moors. To my left the much steeper flanks of the hill were covered in woodland. Just a few feet adjacent to the path were the remains of an ancient bank and ditch earthwork which runs for a few miles along this stretch of the Howardian Hills.
After passing my second trig point of the day, somewhat amusingly situated in the middle of a hedgerow, I turned north along an historic track called Kirk Road which took me gently back to Barton-le-Street all the while enjoying excellent views north, particularly of the southern Hambleton Hills.
Variety is the spice of life and while I always do like to try and mix up where I go walking it is always especially nice to go somewhere for the first time and this was no different. Based on this evidence, and despite the lack of summits to bag, I’ll undoubtedly be returning to the Howardian Hills again in the not too distant future. Perhaps I should also check out the Yorkshire Wolds soon as well.