Planning your Yorkshire Wolds Way walk

Last updated 10 April 2019

A wooden acorn sign roughly marking the half way point on the Yorkshire Wolds Way
A wooden acorn marks the half way point on the Yorkshire Wolds Way

Go up to someone and ask them what the Yorkshire Wolds are, and chances are you’ll get an answer not much more detailed than “something in Yorkshire.” But there are many things, and the four counties with “Yorkshire” in their name cover a huge area. North Yorkshire alone is the biggest county by area, and there’s three others to consider too.

Whilst it may not be well known, the Yorkshire Wolds deserve to be. It’s an area of attractive chalkland hills, straddling North Yorkshire and the East Riding of Yorkshire. There are delightful dales, wonderful woodlands, and an array of agriculture. And it’s this that the Yorkshire Wolds Way takes you though. It is one of the lesser known National Trails, but it’s well worth walking.

Planning your own walk? If you find this guide helpful in planning your walk, please consider giving us £4 for a pint of beer to say thank you!

In this guide

  1. What is the walk like?
  2. The route
  3. Planning an itinerary
  4. Finding and booking accommodation
  5. Getting to/from the Yorkshire Wolds Way
  6. Guide Books and Maps
  7. And finally

What is the walk like?

A gate in front of a view of the Vale of Pickering
One of the finest views on the whole of the Yorkshire Wolds Way

Although it starts at the Humber Estuary, and ends at the seaside resort of Filey, the Yorkshire Wolds Way spends most of its time inland. The walk will take you through woods, dales, tranquil villages and tree lined valleys. Although without a doubt, it’s farmland that will dominate your walk. This is an area where wheat and barley is grown on a large scale, and if you walk in summer, you’ll become very familiar with spotting crops at different stages of their growth. And, of identifying the dizzying array of wild flowers growing on the field boundaries.

The Yorkshire Wolds is a relatively flat area. There’s no steep climbs, and no mountains to get up to. That’s not to say there aren’t hills, but they’re gentle ones. And when you get up one, you’ll get some great views for miles around. The paths are good, and there’s plenty of signposts pointing you in the right direction.

The paths and conditions of the trail mean it can be walked all year around. However due to the amount of farmland on the trail, it’s undoubtedly going to look its best during spring and summer when the crops are growing.

The route

You can see the route of the Yorkshire Wolds Way using the map above. Using the controls you can scroll around, zoom in and explore the route. Note that this map is a guide only, and should not be used for navigation.

Planning an itinerary

The ruined church of St Martin's Church, Wharram Percy
The ruined church of St Martin’s Church, Wharram Percy

The Wolds Way is easy to do in between five and seven days, although a five or six day walk would involve some longer distances.  However as the walk is not particularly difficult, longer distances are still possible for most people to do during a day.

The other challenge is that there’s limited accommodation on the trail.  This can make planning a walk more difficult. There are, however, many places on the route you can stop.  Because of that, we haven’t provided a definitive five or six day itinerary, but have listed the main possible stopping off points so you can build your own.

Note, if you are not staying in Market Weighton, there is the option to bypass the town and walk from North Newbald to Millington, through Goodmanham instead. This is 1.5 miles shorter

Unless otherwise noted, each place listed has a pub and accommodation. Locations with a National Rail station are marked with a 🚂 symbol.

Stage From To Distance Notes
Miles Km
1 Hessle 🚂 South Cave 12
2 South Cave High Hunsley Beacon 3 [1]
3 High Hunsley Beacon North Newbald [2]
4 North Newbald Market Weighton [3]
5 Market Weighton Millington [3]
6 Millington Thixendale 13
7 Thixendale Wharram-le-Street [4]
8 Wharram-le-Street Sherburn 13½
9 Sherburn Ganton 2
10 Ganton Filey 🚂 12½

Notes

  1. there are no facilities near the beacon (besides a beacon) but it is a handy pick-up or drop off point if staying elsewhere.
  2. North Newbald village is an additional miles walk off the route.
  3. Note, if you are not staying in Market Weighton, there is the option to bypass the town and walk fron North Newbald to Millington, through Goodmanham instead. This is 1.5 miles shorter.
  4. Note that there are no facilities here, but it is a handy pick-up or drop off point if staying elsewhere.

Finding and booking accommodation

The Gait Inn pub, Millington
A good pub. When open.

Unfortunately the Yorkshire Wolds Way is not exactly overloaded with accommodation on or close to the trail.  This means you may, at times, need to travel to or from the trail by motor transport in order to get to your accommodation.  This will generally be by car as there are few buses en-route. Some B&Bs offer a pick-up service, or you could book a taxi.

As with all National Trails, an extensive accommodation guide is available on the official Yorkshire Wolds Way website.

Due to the limited amount of accommodation in some areas it’s advisable to book in advance.

Accommodation Booking Services and Baggage Transfer

A number of companies will arrange your walk for you.  Generally this includes baggage transfer as well. You can find a list of companies who will book accommodation for you, on the official Yorkshire Wolds Way website.

The official website also has a list of companies who provide baggage transfer if you only want that service.

Hostels and bunkbarns

There are no hostels, nor bunkbarns on the Yorkshire Wolds Way itself. The only one close by is YHA Beverley Friary, Beverley.  This is a mile or so from High Hunsley Beacon.

Camping

There are a number of campsites on the trail, however almost all north of Market Weighton.  This means you will have difficulties camping before starting the trail, and after the end of your first day.

As the Yorkshire Wolds Way goes through many fields, there are limited sites suitable for wild camping, and even fewer water sources.  Under English law you are not legally allowed to wild camp without permission of the landowner.

Getting to/from the Yorkshire Wolds Way

Filey's impressive railway station
The impressive railway shed at Filey station

The Yorkshire Wolds Way has good rail links at each end of the the walk.  Both Hessle and Filey have train stations. Whilst neither has a brilliant service – Filey has nine trains a day, although Hessle gets an hourly service – both are close by to stations with good services that offer excellent links from across the country.

Hessle, is on the railway line to Hull.  Stopping services run between Sheffield and Hull, and Hull is well served by routes from London, Manchester, and York.  Travelling to Hull, then travelling the one stop back to Hessle, will be the easiest thing to do for most people.

Filey’s small, but impressive looking railway station, is also served by trains to Hull.  Travel one stop north, on the way to Scarborough, and you’ll arrive at Seamer. Seamer has rail links to Manchester, York, Leeds and Liverpool.

All this means that most rail travellers in the UK will find getting to and from the Yorkshire Wolds Way, relatively straightforward.

Hessle, Hull and Filey are also served by intercity coach services.

On the other hand, once you’re walking, there are only a handful of public transport services.  The only railway station en-route is at Ferriby, a couple of miles into the walk. Local bus services are extremely limited.

Guide Books and Maps

Directional sign on the Yorkshire Wolds Way
Over the stile and follow the waymarks!

Published by Aurum Press, the official Yorkshire Wolds Way National Trail Guide was written by Tony Gowers and Roger Ratcliffe.  It was last updated in 2016

It includes high scale Ordnance Survey mapping of the trail, at their 1:25,000 scale.  The quality of the maps in the book mean you don’t really need to take maps with you. There’s also a host of historical and background information as well.  Definitely worth taking with you.

Just after a map?  Well there’s two useful options.  First is the A-Z Adventure Atlas for the Yorkshire Wolds Way.  We’re big fans of the A-Z Adventure Atlas series here at Rambling Man towers.  Why? Because they contain Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 scale mapping in a handy book format that you can easily carry about with you.  And they have a comprehensive index of places in there too. They’re so much easier to carry than separate maps, and much easier too

Another option is the Harvey’s Yorkshire Wolds Way strip map.  This is at Harvey’s own 1:40,000 scale. Given the Yorkshire Wolds Way goes along lots of fields and things, it has to be said that our preference would be a map at a higher scale, but the Harveys map is still a good choice.

If, in the other hand, you prefer taking individual maps with you, you will need the following:

Finally, if you fancy filling your rucksacks with paper maps containing the fine work of the Ordnance Survey, then these are the ones you need:

And finally

A photograph of a thistle with Pasture Dale in the background
Pasture Dale

Hopefully you’ve read all this and are now rearing to go off on an exciting Wolds Way walk.  Especially if you like fields. But don’t let the huge amount of barley and wheat that is growing on the trail put you off.  It’s a lovely little route in a part of Yorkshire that’s not massively well known. I hope you enjoy it.

Planning your own walk? If you find this guide helpful in planning your walk, please consider giving us £4 for a pint of beer to say thank you!

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