Yorkshire Wolds Way Day 1 (Part 2): North Ferriby to High Hunsley Beacon

Published 3 March 2019

Crossing the A63 at North Ferriby
Crossing the A63 at North Ferriby

For 79 miles/127km, the Yorkshire Wolds Way runs from Hessle, near Hull, to Filey. One summer I walked it with a man called Tal, over five days. After starting near a large bridge near Hull, we continued our journey from Hessle to a beacon.

At North Ferriby, the A63 slices across the Yorkshire Wold Way like a sharp blade. The walker must traverse several road junctions via myriad of traffic light controlled crossings. Then they need to walk round a bit of a roundabout. And finally they need to head down a slither of path alongside a slip road. Oh and you need to do all that whilst avoiding the cars that zooming along at 70mph.

There’s a hint of relief when you make it in one piece. And another one when you learn that the path doesn’t continue along the dual carriageway. And, when all is said and done, you end up in a nice place. Terrace Plantation is also where the tone of the walk changes. With the estuary behind us, we’d be spending much of the rest of the day in a variety of woods, forests and plantations.

The roar of the road noise began to give way to the chirping of birds in the trees. The Wolds Way entered a tranquil state that it would remain in pretty much all the way to Filey.

Tree lined path in Terrace Plantation
Can’t see the wood for the trees at Terrace Plantation

A deserted Scout campsite followed, and then we arrived in the picture-postcard village of Welton. On a sunny Sunday, could there be a nicer place to relax in? When we spied a bench next to a stream, well we had to stop for a while. The weather was glorious. Britain was in the middle of a heat wave. It was warm all right. Something the people in formal dress heading to the village church may not have appreciated.

As we sat, we chatted about high-brow subjects. You know. Quality conversations. Like how naff the carrot batons in my hummus snack pot looked. Oh and how, in this sun and all, should we be sitting out in the open like this?

The Millpond next to the church in Welton
The idyllic looking village of Welton

After slapping on some more sun cream, we moved on, past old Welton Mill and into the delightful Welton Dale.

Trees lined the western slopes of the dale, whilst a grassy path ran through the middle. It was tranquil and peaceful, and achingly beautiful in a subtle and understated way. There was also some shade. We didn’t need to, but we sat down again, making the most of the view.

It was a wrench to leave Welton Dale. I could have stayed there all week, but leave we had to do. The Wolds Way now took us alongside fields of barley and rapeseed, swayed in the breeze. Can there be anything more enchanting than huge swathes of crops waving in a field? It was difficult to imagine.

Welton Dale
Welton Dale. A glorious spot to sit and have lunch, without a doubt.

“Tomorrow I’m going to find a carrier bag, and pick up litter,” declared Tal.

There was a reason for his declaration. And it was the sheer amount of rubbish scattered around the side of the road we were now walking along.

“What about that carrier bag?” I asked, spotting a Morrisons bag that was rather handily stuck on a nearby hedge. Tal nodded, retrieved it, and so the Great Yorkshire Wolds Way litter pick was underway.

In a thrice, the relocation of an empty Java Cake box from the roadside and into the bag, was complete. A paper bag full of rubbish from Burger King too. Several caps from bottles of Brewdog Punk IPA for some reason were lying on the floor. Of course there were sweet wrappers. And then, most stunning of all, a new and very full bottle of car de-icer.

Tal walking up the side of a road
A brief section of road walking near Brantingham

Why there was a bottle of de-icer liquid on the roadside in July is a question in itself. But this particular bottle was something very special. The liquid was not the normal blue associated with car de-icer. No. It was bright pink.

The label declared it to be for girls. Because, obviously, some women are unable to cope with the idea of using a blue liquid to remove ice from their cars. Especially in July.

You can imagine the thought processes that led to its invention in the first place.

“Well I would have de-iced my car windscreen, but it’s so un-ladylike to use a normal de-icer liquid. I had to drive off with the windscreen completely frozen. It’s not my fault I couldn’t see what was going on in the road ahead. It’s the fault of the manufacturers. Why don’t they realise that a woman can’t use a product that has not been thoroughly gendered! I’m sorry it resulted in me crashing my car into yours officer, but the blame does lie elsewhere.”

The village of Brantingham
The Yorkshire Wolds Way skips the village itself but you get a good view of it.

Within a mile – the time it took us to walk to the edge of the village of Brantingham – the bag was full to bursting. The bag itself? Well that found a new home in a litter bin, tucked to the side of the path at the edge of the village. If we could put rubbish there, you have to wonder why others couldn’t. A sad reflection on some people’s attitudes to be sure.

The Yorkshire Wolds Way skirted Brantingham village, although did pass its attractive church. Built in the 12th century and restored in the Victorian era, it was having an open day. Posters declared it had everything the modern visitor needed. Toilets, refreshments, and the all time essential, Wi-Fi. Come to enjoy the historic interior. Then sit outside with your coffee and tell everyone on Twitter all about it.

Although in no way religious, I do like popping inside a good church. Although, ideally, not whilst watched by someone manning a tea urn. I’m sure the person behind the tea urn is lovely, but I always feel like they’re watching me. Noting how long I spend staring at each bit of the building. Popping over to tell me I’ve missed something that’s fascinating.

All Saints Church, Brantingham
All Saints Church, Brantingham

Much more preferable to visit an empty, unlocked rural church. One trusting visitors to pop in and enjoy, before closing the door afterwards. One where no one will feel compelled to tell you all about the ornate carving in the rear vestibule. So no, we didn’t pop our heads round the door. Besides, Tal would end up logging onto the Wi-Fi, and we’d be there half an hour whilst he updated Facebook.

Instead we carried on down the road, and into the woodland of Ellerker North Wold. This was then followed by the hauntingly named Woodale Farm. Woo. You know. Spooky. Yeah, okay, I’ll get my coat.

Another farm followed and then were stood on the road to the village of South Cave. Yes there’s a North Cave. And no, it’s not on the south bank of the Humber Estuary.

If you were looking for a great place to finish your first day on the Yorkshire Wolds Way, South Cave is tough to beat. At 13 miles from Hessle, it’s a perfect distance to walk. It has accommodation, pubs and all the other facilities a walker needs. South Cave for the win! Although not for us. When we’d come to book our trip, there was no accommodation going in the village. Every bed was taken.

Artistic benches on the Yorkshire Wolds Way
Glorious looking benches at Little Wold

That meant we had another two miles to walk. Two miles that would take us to High Hunsley Beacon. Two miles that would taken us through Little Wold Plantation. A lovely woodland and no mistake. Although better were the views from nearby Comber Dale, which provided a cracking view back to the Humber Estuary.

We crossed over a dismantled railway, and there it was. High Hunsley Beacon. There seemed to be a bit of a thing about beacons in the Wolds. This was the third one of the day. There’d been one at Hessle, and another at Ferriby. It wasn’t particularly clear why. They’re not exactly something that most modern places need, nor use a lot.

In fact the only time I’ve ever seen a beacon lit myself was in the third film of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. You know. The bit where Orcs are attacking the walled city of Gondor. Gandalf lights a beacon to show the city needs help. Other beacons are lit to spread the message onwards to the residents of Rohan.

High Hunsley Beacon
Gondor calls for aid!

In the book the whole process seems to take chapters, full of hand wringing, pacing and so on. The film handles it more succinctly with two lines:

“Gondor calls for aid!”

“And Rohan will answer them!”

As that thought swam through my head, a car pulled up beside us. The driver wasn’t calling for aid. She’d come to take us to our hotel. This was more preferable, we were sure, than looking out for an army of Orcs on the horizon. Plus there would be beer, food and an outdoor terrace on which to relax. Yes, that was definitely preferable to a savage attack from goblin-esque beings. Of that there was no doubt.

Next time: wild flowers everywhere, a red kite and thistles, the generation of electricity, a quarry, monumental moments in the history of religion, and a trip to the pub.

Tal relaxing on the terrace with a beer
Tal relaxing on the terrace at the end of our first day


Andy Oslear

31 July 2020 at 11:30 am

Really enjoyed the way Rambling man wrote this. I have done this walk myself some years ago. He was very descriptive with great humour and i look forward to reading more. I particularly like the pictures.

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