Your Day Out: Three-village discovery

Small bridge over the beck in the village of Ruston.
Small bridge over the beck in the village of Ruston.

Combine the attractions of three lovely villages when you enjoy this delightful walk devised for all to appreciate. Following mainly country lanes, or the options of public footpaths, it’s ideal for walking in all weathers.

Travelling by private or public transport along the A170 Pickering road, about seven miles from Scarborough is the pretty, secluded village of Ruston, from where this route begins. Just turn off right as signed, and immediately north of the A170, start from the centre of Ruston. Here, three roads radiate like the spokes of a wheel. Just absorb the rural scenes. A bridge over the beck and a water splash are side by side.

There’s very little farming here now, but at one time cows were led through the village into Ruston’s cottage cow pasture after milking, and then home again in the evening. (See map – north of Ruston).

Leaving the village, rejoin the A170 towards Scarborough, and almost immediately enter the village of Wykeham. It’s dominated at this point by the Downe Arms and the church. The Downe Arms has grown in size, but the residential area is said to date back to the 17th century, when it was used as a coaching stage. The church however was completed in 1853. It was designed by William Butterfield – architect of Bradford Cathedral.

All Saints’ Church is 
remarkable for its bell tower. It is completely separate, and was constructed from the ruins of an old tower on the site, ornamented by a spire designed by William Butterfield. The adjoining vicarage, and the school on the opposite side of the road are also Butterfield’s design. Discover the Ice House behind the church and opposite the Downe Arms, restored for the millennium as a community project.

Return to the main road, turn left towards Scarborough, and just beyond the aforementioned school features Wykeham Tea Rooms and Gifts. Well worth visiting. Otherwise, continue by the roadside for about 200 yards to turn left at a sign, ‘St Helen’s in the Park Caravans and Camping’.

Following the public footpath sign briefly along the access drive to the park.

On the left hand bend, turn right to the end of wooden fencing. Here, observe a public footpath sign. Follow its direction diagonally left up the field between fences. The park’s alpacas can be seen in the left hand field. At the end of the fence, keep following the track across the next field (Revenge Wood) where young trees were planted by Dawnay Estates in 2005 to commemorate the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Go over the wall stile onto a lane leading into a village. Here is the lovely hilltop village of Hutton Buscel, with far-reaching views to the wolds. Keep straight ahead past Chapel Cottage and attractive stone-built properties to the The Holt at the corner of Great Moor Road. Almost opposite is St Matthew’s Church, tucked away amongst trees. A long, paved path leads to the door, graced by a wooden seat celebrating Queen Elizabeth II’s diamond jubilee in 2012.

This village was the home of the Buscels as far back as the 12th century. The earliest of them would see the building of this church. The massive tower of that time still stands, but has been restored since damage by lighting. The lower walls are Norman; the belfry stage was added later, and the parapet is 15th century. Do view the Jacobean pulpit, and the Bishop Osbaldeston Font. The font was used for baptising children, for 150 years!

Admire the window to the right of the hymns and psalm boards. This window is in memory of Elizabeth Monkman whom the villagers blessed for her kindness to all sick folk.

Leaving the church, a sundial tells us not to waste time. [Should time permit, you may choose to deviate slightly up Great Moor Road to see the walls of a two-acre garden; the site of an ice house, and the restored village pound for stray animals.]

Continue along Hutton Buscel’s main street with both old and new stone houses and floral decor blending harmoniously. Beauty and peace go hand in hand in this village on a green hill only six miles from Scarborough.

Pass the end of Middle Lane, with its public telephone.

Descending a steep hill, continue to Kirkdale Cottage, and beyond swing right with the road, heading for the A170. At the bottom, halt and seek a public footpath off right. Take the stile and cut across this field, planted with root vegetables. It is a public right of way! Leave by a stile, and crossing pasture land, return to the heart of the village. Turn left to return to the west junction of lanes.

Now ignore the footpath route via St Helen’s Park. Instead, go left down the pleasant lane to rejoin the road. Turn right to return to Ruston by road, or go only as far as the Downe Arms. From the bridge go left as you may choose to return via Fish Ponds Wood to the discontinued railtrack, across a pony paddock into Ruston. By going left down this lane returns you to your departure point.

Distance: Approximately 4.5 miles.

Refreshment: The Downe Arms or Wykeham Tea Rooms.

Transport: Bus service 128 Pickering/Helmsley.

Map: Ordnance Survey OL27 Explorer. North York Moors Eastern area. Scale 2.5 inches to one mile.