THIXENDALE

After North Newbald you may get the impression that the Yorkshire Wolds Way is determined to avoid Market Weighton as it seems to keep defiantly to the Wold tops above the small market town. The high ground is, however, of great archaeological significance as you will pass the site of a Roman amphitheatre in a field to the east, Hesselskew Farm, once a granary belonging to Watton Abbey in the Middle Ages, and a great many tumuli around Arras Farm dating from the late Iron Age.

In Spring Dale the Yorkshire Wolds Way divides, one branch follows the Hudson Way into Market Weighton, the other going north to Goodmanham. The Hudson Way named after the “Railway King” George Hudson, who for a while lived nearby at Londesborough, follows the track of one of his former railway lines from Market Weighton to Beverley. In Market Weighton you will find several references to William Bradley, the Yorkshire Giant who was born here in 1787 and reached a height of 7ft 9ins (2.36m). The town also has links with John Wesley who preached in the town in 1788, one of six sermons he preached over only two days at villages between Hull and York. Not bad for a man of 85!

The route to Goodmanham passes close to Rifle Butts Quarry, a Yorkshire Wildlife Trust reserve and a site of international importance which demonstrates a huge gap in the geological sequence of rocks in this area. Goodmanham is an attractive village with a great pub and microbrewery – The Goodmanham Arms.  Goodmanham also has a significant place in Christian history, it was here in AD 626 that the Saxon King of Northumbria was converted to Christianity.

Market Weighton or Goodmanham to Millington 8 ½ miles (13.5Km)

Setting out from either Goodmanham or Market Weighton you will soon enter the impressive and most attractive landscaped surroundings of Londesborough Park (The Goodmanham route makes the most of the Park). Approaching the village you will see signs of the original Hall long since demolished. Previous owners included the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire.  Over Londesborough Wold, to the east of the Yorkshire Wolds Way, is the course of the oldest horse race in England, the Kiplingcotes Derby, first recorded over 450 years ago.

This is a great section of the trail to see Red Kite circling near their roosts.  From Londesborough the Yorkshire Wolds Way heads north, towards  Nunburnholme. The rector of the church here between 1854 and 1893 was Frances Orpen Morris. A pioneer of nature conservation in Victorian times, he published the six volume “A History of British Birds”. Continuing north the Yorkshire Wolds Way passes near Pocklington and Kilnwick Percy Hall. The Hall, now the Madhyamaka Buddhist Centre, offers retreats and has a café and accommodation open to all.

Now the route climbs above Warren Dale to the higher ground above Millington. The views from here are wide and expansive across Millington, on a clear day you might see York Minster and the White Horse of Kilburn.

Millington to Thixendale 12 miles (19Km)

Climbing out of Millington and looking across to the far side of the valley is the site of Millington Pasture. There are a couple of short, steep climbs up the sides of dry valleys beyond Millington and then a gradual rise to a high point from which, if the weather is clear, you may be able to spot the towers of the Humber Bridge, York Minster, Lincoln Cathedral and the lighthouse on Flamborough Head!

The Yorkshire Wolds Way continues on beyond Huggate, where the Wolds Inn provides refreshment, before dropping into the appealing dry valleys of Horse Dale and Holm Dale. The path then climbs gradually to reach Fridaythorpe, where there is a pub, accommodation, a shop and a cafe.  Take a rest at the walkers’ shelter/ bus shelter set alongside the village pond, this smart modern building is part of the WANDER – art along the Yorkshire Wolds Way series of artworks.

The walk heads west out of Fridaythorpe to reach the dale of Thixendale.  Here in this beautiful setting lies another WANDER artwork – “Time and Flow” a dramatic spiral earthwork best viewed from the top of the valley sides.  Head   north along Thixendale to the village that bears its name. The snug location of Thixendale village makes it one of the most charming along the Yorkshire Wolds Way and there is accommodation, a shop and a walkers favourite pub – The Cross Keys . Also near here is the gallery of the acclaimed wildlife artist Robert Fuller.  It is well worth the detour to Fotherdale Farm to admire his work.

HISTORY

The most remote village in the Yorkshire Wolds, Thixendale stands at the meeting place of six valleys, surrounded by stretches of chalk grasslands. It is most known for its location near the midway point of the Yorkshire Wolds Way National Trail and is a popular centre for walkers. 

During the medieval period, Thixendale was one of 5 townships under control of nearby Wharram Percy, the most heavily studied deserted medieval village in England.

The area around Thixendale is a treasure trove for archaeologists, with ancient dykes, Neolithic, Bronze Age, and Iron Age burial sites, and deserted medieval villages such as  Wharram Percy.

During the 18th century Thixendale became part of the extensive Sledmere estates, under the ownership of the Sykes family. A succession of Sykes owners improved the cottages and civic buildings to give us the ‘model estate’ look that much of the village retains today (though most of Thixendale is no longer part of the Sledmere estates).

The civic buildings in Thixendale (school, vicarage, church, and school master’s house) were built by GE Street for Sir Tatton Sykes II of Sledmere, beginning in 1868. Before the new church was finished in 1870 villagers had to walk 4 miles to Wharram Percy to attend the church there.

Street’s buildings were designed in a very Gothic vernacular style, with pointed archways and medieval ornamentation. The school, with its distinctive ventilator tower, closed in 1964 and was later used as a popular youth hostel. Part of the building is now a village hall.