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Dales Trails

Autumn at Kirby Underdale/photo by Arnold Underwood, Nov 2005

Climbing out of Kirby Underdale/from a photo by Arnold Underwood, Nov 2005

EAST YORKSHIRE WOLDS - Thixendale - (13.5km, 8½ miles)

As featured in Country Walking magazine - February 2008

'Up ‘n’ Under Dale'

An ideal walk for the winter months, up over the Wolds into Kirkby Underdale - an unspoilt estate village owned by Lord Halifax of nearby Garrowby Hall. The Norman church is situated in a picturesque setting overlooking Kirby Beck - in early spring the churchyard is a delight firstly with snowdrops, and then daffodils.

Fact File

Distance 13.5km (8½ miles)
Terrain Field paths, bridleways & minor roads – a couple of steady climbs plus one or two muddy areas.
Time 4 hours
Stiles 5
Grading *** moderate
Suitable for all
Start/Parking Park on roadside near the Church in Thixendale (Grid Ref: SE 843 612)
nearest Town Malton
Refreshments The Cross Keys Inn, but check opening times (Tel: 01377 288272). The Old Post Office (01377 288238). Also teas in village hall on most Sundays.
Toilets Thixendale village hall (for patrons only)
Public Transport None
Map OS Explorer 300 and 294

Route created using TrackLogs Digital Mapping

Image reproduced with kind permission of Ordnance Survey and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland.

  1. (Start) Set off due west through the village, passing the former school/youth hostel now refurbished as the village hall. Pause to study the display boards depicting the history of the village and its surroundings. The village shop, on the right, has a tearoom at the rear. Continue along the road passing the Manor House. As the road swings right bear left through a gate to follow a bridleway into a steep sided dale. Walk up this dale for about 1km and then take the right fork at a gate to climb steadily up to Thixendale Grange. Walk along the farm track to the road.

  2. (3.2km, 2 miles) Turn left along the road then, in about ½km, look out for a signpost indicating a path, right, alongside a hedge. Walk down the field side - there are extensive views ahead towards York. Swing left in the next field to keep by the hedge and continue more steeply down hill passing the rear of Woodley Farm. At the bottom turn left through a gate and cross the field to join a track from the farm. Follow this track to a minor road.

  3. (6km, 3¾ miles) Turn left up the road for about 100m, and there, cross a stile into the field on the right. Head straight over the field, through a gate into the next and bear right down to a footbridge over a stream. Continue over the next field, heading for Kirby Underdale church and passing an interesting seat carved into a tree-stump. Drop down to a stile and footbridge into the bottom of the church graveyard. In winter the banks of the stream are brightened by snowdrops, and later, by daffodils.

  4. (7km, 4½ miles) Continue along the road from the church and as the road bears left, a footpath crosses a stile on the right and strikes off up hill, passing a pond and the rear of Painsthorpe Hall. At a gate at the top another path is met and you continue up past Beech Farm to rejoin Painsthorpe Lane. A long km now follows as you plod steadily uphill to a T-junction at the top. There are wide-ranging views north and west as you head uphill, providing an excuse to pause for breath.

  5. (9.5km, 6 miles) At the road junction, turn left then, in about 200m, right onto a bridleway along a farm track. This track heads straight across Painsthorpe Wold. Leave this track where it turns right, and follow the bridleway into Worm Dale. Pick your way down to the floor of the dale and continue to its junction with Thixen Dale to meet the Yorkshire Wolds Way (YWW) at the spiral 'Waves & Time' Artwork. Here several dales and footpaths, converge.

  6. (12km, 7½ miles) Turn left to follow the Wolds Way down the dale, passing a tree-top 'hide' for observing wild-life, to the road coming down Fotherdale. The Robert Fuller Gallery is about ½ mile up the road. Otherwise turn right and walk down the road to a junction, there turning left back into Thixendale village.(14km, 8½miles)

Snow on the Wolds at the head of Thixen Dale/from a photo by Arnold Underwood/Feb 2004

Along the Way

Thixendale is one the most charming of the Wolds villages, tucked away in a chalk valley away from all the hubbub of the 21st century. The valley slopes, hedges and woodland attract a wide variety of flora and fauna – keep an eye up for red kites which are making a comeback on the Wolds.

Robert E Fuller, wildlife artist, photographer and conservationist, now well-known from his appearances on BBC Springwatch etc, has his studio and gallery at Fotherdale Farm, just off this route.

For details of Gallery & Exhibition opening times click this link ...Robert Fuller

Barn Owls in Thixendale © Robert E. Fuller

Arnold Underwood (Nov 2007), minor revisions June 2017

This page was created by
Arnold Underwood

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