Autumn is the perfect season for exploring some of our lovely local villages. Following a chilly morning, when the sun breaks through to highlight the ever-changing leaf colouration, it’s a time of rejoicing. Gone are the holiday-makers of summertime. Now one can really see the scenery and special features devoid of any distractions.
Many folk will be familiar with Muston, not only for its splendid floral attributes, and gardening volunteers to make the village a blooming success in Scarborough’s Muck and Magic competition, but for its community spirit.
Muston is famous for its annual Scarecrow Festival which began in 1999. We usually attend, along with thousands of others, to view 100 or so ingenious exhibits. What a fine community project. The money raised helps support its village, cricket team and Muston in Bloom.
Muston is situated in a hollow at the foot of the Wolds. The ‘infant’ River Hertford flows through the village on its way to join the River Derwent, and then the Humber. Poor drainage was a serious problem for the residents until 1801. As the village was built on a marshy plain, the Malton and Yedingham Drainage Board began to work on the problems, and conditions improved. Maybe the name ‘Muston’ means ‘Marsh Town’.
It’s believed that a Roman road passed through Muston on its way to the signal station at Filey. A later signal or beacon was built on Beacon Hill, east of the village. Just to the east of Beacon Hill stands the stump of a brick windmill tower. It can be seen near Filey School. According to old records, the windmill was in the centre of Muston, at a time when Muston Parish stretched right to the coast! The first miller recorded was in 1341, and the last in 1913. We shall look forward to viewing its restoration.
I suggest you begin your walk along the A1039 into Muston, passing Pond Farm on the right and descending to Mount Pleasant, and the peaceful green at Mount View.
Take a seat amongst floral tubs and shady trees, before continuing past the end of Carr Lane and down King Street. Seek about six 18th century houses in Muston which have date stones. One reads: RBF 1755. Passing Bridge Farm off right, you’ll see almost opposite, what used to be the old village school alongside the village green. From the maypole, wander by the little River Hertford to the ford and tiny bridge, admiring majestic trees of cherry, horse-chestnut and beech. Nearby is the neat little All Saints’ Church.
The church dates from 1115, but was severely storm damaged and rebuilt before re-opening in 1864. Walk through the peaceful churchyard, and see the clock and bellcot. We couldn’t view the interior, as the porch entrance was padlocked.
Until Muston got its own graveyard in 1828, burials took place in Hunmanby. It’s believed that the steep hill between the two villages, known as Heather Stay, is really Hithersta – a point of rest for the pall bearers.
The old vicarage is beyond the church, but in the 1950s it was converted into flats. My husband Michael used to occasionally see Adam Faith in the vicinity. Whenever he performed at a Scarborough venue, he used to stay here. The flats have now been converted into St Mary’s Priory, as you’ll notice.
Muston Hall, graced by mature trees, stands in grounds to your left as you enter West Street.
There used to be two inns in Muston, but the Cross Keys closed, and now only The Ship Inn thrives. It’s a quaint inn, with curved gables and dormers and a swinging sign showing a ship.
Facing The Ship Inn, at the road junction is the base of an ancient, medieval cross with its three steps adorned with flowers.
Turning left here along Hunmanby Street, seek more properties with date stones. A white house to the left reads: HRH 1735. On the road bend, you’ll see to the right the one remaining old chapel of the three original ones. Now, as you approach the village pond, make your acquaintance with any ducks crossing!
Well, it’s time to return to The Ship Inn for refreshment, unless you’d like to walk to Muston’s neighbouring village of Hunmanby. It’s only one and a half miles each way, or you may choose to take a bus in one direction. This would really complete your grand day out.
Distance around Muston to Hunmanby return: 4 miles.
Refreshment: The Ship Inn, Muston, or a choice in Hunmanby.
Transport: East Yorkshire bus service number 121.