Wykeham is a village about six miles south west of Scarborough along the A170 Scarborough to Pickering road. Now here’s a great walk for the new year, with mostly level ground and ever-changing scenery. Walk, cycle or motor along quiet rural lanes, and go slowly to see more wildlife.
Wykeham Abbey occupies part of the site of a priory. It was founded here around 1153 for nuns of the Cistercian order. However, only slight remains of the priory buildings are discerned.
Access to the start is along the busy A170 Scarborough to Pickering road as far as the crossroads and The Downe Arms on the right.
Cross the main road, and descend through the lovely village of Wykeham, with its attractive stone built properties and walling. You’ll see Wykeham Business Centre off left, and almost opposite is the Oak Furniture Workshop. The lane swings right, passing by Davey & Son ‘East Coast Field and Stream’ selling country sports equipment. Cottages overlook fields, as your grass-verged lane proceeds out of the village. Go past the entrance to Wykeham Abbey and a beech hedge leads to a wood. At the far end are four cottages on your right.
Reaching an obvious dairy farm named Carr Farm, go immediately left, as the road makes a bend of 90 degrees. This may be muddy. Follow this road to the right, beneath electricity wires. Fields surround you and considerable numbers of sheep. Then go left again along a hedged track, with electricity pylons closely parallel to your left.
Now leaving agricultural fields, you pass through wooded areas. Here we observed an enormous skein of geese high overhead.
Meeting an obvious T junction, turn left with trees and meadows either side. Silver birch trees are beyond the ditch, and rhododendrons flourish. With woodlands to either side, you’ll see to your right a notice, ‘Natural Retreats, Working in Partnership with the Dawnay Estate’. Continue along the good road surface. We saw a fox crossing here! Eventually you pass the entrance to Wykeham Quarry on your right hand side.
Go left, away from the quarry, and beyond a nursery of trees and a row of poplars follow the hedged lane to a sharp left hand-bend at the entrance to Wykeham Lakes. Please do not enter the lake complex, but follow to the left and continue towards the main A170 road. The narrow lane has passing bays for any vehicles. Beyond metal gates you’ll see some of the point-to-point race course at Charm Park. There’s also a view of a section of the old railway line to the left elevation.
Reaching the main road, cross with care and continue up the hill to Hutton Buscel. A high church wall on your left leads to the main street of this charming village.
Turn left along the main street through the village, noting the rustic buildings and properties blending admirably with the setting. A horse chestnut tree of massive size is to your left, before Chapel Cottage dated 1822 is seen on the right.
Beyond, the road makes a 90 degrees left bend. This takes you back to the main road. Turn right to return to your starting point from The Downe Arms.
Distance: 6 miles of easy walking.
Refreshment: The Down Arms or Wykeham Tea Rooms.
Map ref: Ordnance Survey Outdoor Leisure 27. North York Moors Eastern Area (scale 2.5 inches to one mile) or Ordnance Survey Explorer Map OL 27, North York Moors Eastern Area.
Transport: Private transport or bus number 128 Pickering.