Yorkshire Wolds Way Day 2 (Part 2): Goodmanham to Millington

Published 17 March 2019

Hay bales near Kilnwick Percey on the Wolds Way
Hay bales near Kilnwick Percey

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. Our first day saw us leave the Humber Bridge and Estuary and head to a beacon. The morning of day two would introduce us to some outstanding scenery, religious history, wild flowers and a lovely pub for lunch. The afternoon? Well more great views, adorable villages, another pub, and the Spice Girls.

Under an old, long abandoned railway line, and through some more fields of barley, we went. Well I thought it was barley. But at first I thought it was all wheat.

To be fair, they both look very similar. The main visual difference – or so I read later – is that barley droops when it’s ready for harvest. In contrast, wheat stands tall. Given we’d seen lots of drooping crops, I decided we were in barley country. Although after that, I read that Yorkshire is the top wheat yielding area in England. Or was, at least, in 2015 when a farming website reported on the topic. So, who knows?

We arrived at a large picnic spot that appeared to feature a huge amount of grass, but only one bench to sit on. Oh and it had a busy A-road running right next to it. It was far too noisy, and not particularly relaxing, so we walked until we entered a field. A field that featured several rings of chestnut trees. Each was six or seven trees, closely placed, and growing in a circle. The leaves and branches of each tree tended to grow together. The way they intertwined made the whole thing look like one large tree from when seen from afar. With ample shade, it was a perfect place to stop for lunch. So we did, settling down to munch on our sandwiches and crisps.

Londesborough Lake
Londesborough Lake

We passed by Londsborough Lake, and into Londesborough Park Estate. The map declared there was a deer park here, but all we could see were cows. Oh, and the Market Weighton branch of the trail joining back up with the Goodmanham branch.

“Two become one,” I declared.

“Why did you say that?” asked Tal, with a distinctly nonplussed look on his face.

“Because two paths are joining together,” I replied.

“No. Why are you quoting the Spice Girls? Are you going to do this every day?”

“Maybe,” I said, trying to add an enigmatic twang to my voice, but not particularly succeeding. Although to be fair, my knowledge of the songs of a certain 1990s girl group was rather limited. I couldn’t quite imagine how I could crowbar “People of the world, spice up your life!” into a conversation any time soon.

The main road through the village of Londesborough
Another lovely Wolds village.

And with that, we entered Londesborough village. Londesborough proved to be little more than some houses, a church and a street named “Love Lane”. For a moment I racked my brains for some other dubious pop reference, before deciding better of it.

What followed next was a mile or so of road walking. Although it was road walking down a deserted lane. And someone had installed a National Trail branded bench for walkers to sit on to enjoy the view. And an interpretation board too. I read it and learned that the glorious panoramic view ahead of us was an area known as the Vale of York. You could even find out what individual landmarks in the distance were. So you could sit down, relax and think “now what is that hill over there?” and find out.

The panel told us that we could see York Minster and Ilkley Moor if we looked carefully. Both eluded us. They must have been there somewhere, but where was another question. More visible were not one, not two, but three different power stations. And a lot of wind farms.

The Vale of York, seen from the Yorkshire Wolds Way
The Vale of York. With some power stations in the distance. Viewed near Londesborough.

The only way this road could have been better for walkers was is if the interpretation board was next to the bench. Still, as rural roads go, it was very well equipped. And almost like the road saw more walkers than drivers…

It appeared that the owners of Partridge Hall were keen that walkers didn’t get lost. Well, the path did zigzag through the farmyard quite a lot. (“I wanna really, really, really wanna zigazig ah?” Hmm, best not.)

Several large yellow arrows directed you the right way through the farm. Quite why there were so many wasn’t particularly clear. Although we didn’t get lost, so it’s obvious they did their trick.

The main road through Nunburnholme, and it's red phone box
The village of Nunburnholme, complete with red phone box

And then it was fields of crops as we walked towards another picturesque Wolds village, Nunburnholme. It was here we saw our first red telephone box of the trip. If your response to that is “so what?”, well that’s understandable. They are not exactly special. But in the area around Hull, it is. For here, the traditional phone boxes get a paint job in a pleasant shade of cream. It’s all down to a quirk of history. Like some other councils, Hull set up its own municipal telephone company. But unlike the rest of them, its operations were never merged into the national phone network. Hull’s phones remained outside of British Telecom, so cream phone boxes it was.

It’s not only red phone boxes you’ll find in Nunburnholme. The village church has a fine Anglo-Saxon cross inside. Although to view it, required us to pop down the road to a nearby house to get the door key. And neither of us could be particularly bothered. Maybe if the church had offered Wi-Fi…

A metalled lane led us to more fields, these filled with root vegetables rather than wheat. And then a final climb up a hill brought about a stunning panoramic view, again of the Vale of York. And off in the background, just about visible in the sunny haze, the hills of the Pennines, and the North York Moors. Although there was still no sign of York Minster.

Millington, seen from the hill on the Yorkshire Wolds Way that overlooks the village
Millington, seen from the hill overlooking the village

Closer to us was the village of Millington, and it would be there where we were now heading. For it was there that we would find our B&B. Amongst other things.

“It’s got a lovely pub. Has huge portions of food.”

That walker who had gushingly recommended Goodmanham’s village pub?  Well he had good things to say about Milltington’s public house too.

But in a feat of terrible planning, we were there on a Monday.  Monday. The only day of the week that the Gait Inn in Millington didn’t open its doors.  The pub’s night off.

So instead, we dined in our B&B with plates high with chicken casserole and greens. All followed by crumble, and after dinner mints. Oh and a glass of lime cordial. Because sometimes that’s all you need.

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

With no pub to spend the evening in, we drew up alternative plans. They were very exciting. First we potted around the B&B for a bit. Then we embarked on an extensive walking tour of Millington. This took a whole ten minutes. And that included the time it took to read the parish notices pinned up outside the village hall.

After all that, we returned to our lodgings. And it was there that we had the highlight of the day. Without a doubt, there was no competition.

I took off my walking boots and found a dead cricket lurking inside of one of them.

When all is said and done, some things are just impossible to beat.

Next time: it’s day three with beautiful dales, logs being loaded, an abundance of art, and someone fails to understand the concept of poetry.

Faded and worn sign for St Margaret's Church in Millington
The rather worn sign outside Millington’s church

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