Part of Cold Kirby village
Part of Cold Kirby village

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Route No. 273 - Wednesday 29 October 2008
Scawton, Cold Kirby, Old Byland circuit - 11 km
Howardian Hills AONB
North Yorkshire . . .

Ordnance Survey route map on the Landranger series map base.
View the route in Google Earth

Map: Ordnance Survey Explorer 300 Howardian Hills & Malton


The road at Ashberry Farm
The road at Ashberry Farm

There was a group of people at the car park with a number of spaniels. As we followed the track up the valley there were around twenty cars parked end to end, about half of them were the same model of large black 4x4, so we speculated that the shooting party were on a corporate day out. We could hear the crackle of gunfire and as we passed the several large fishing ponds on our right.

It was a classic winter's day today with clear blue sky, bright sunshine and a hard frost. So this morning my neighbour. Jim, and I drove to a road junction by Ashberry Farm about 4 km west of Helmsley at map ref. SE571844. There is room to park two or three cars off the road at the junction. We set off along the road to the west for a few hundred meters to map ref. SE563845 where there is a small car park and a track on the right.

Old English long horn cow
Old English long horn cow

One of the fish ponds by our path
One of the fish ponds by our path

Looking back down to valley towards the fish ponds
Looking back down to valley towards the fish ponds

In particular there were some ducks that could not fly that had taken refuge on the ponds. Each time the spaniels closed in on a duck to retieve it, the duck dived under the water and reappeared about 10m away and the chase began again. We did not see any of these injured ducks caught. About 150 m beyond the ponds there are some stepping stones across the stream and a side valley goes off to the left heading south west.

There were pairs of sportsmen (one fireing and the other loading), who kept up continual fusillades of fire as flocks of duck, pheasant, partridge and wood pidgeon were all driven down the valley. There were many more spaniels here with their handlers and they were kept busy retieving the fallen birds, some from the ponds. As we watched it was clear that a good proportion of the birds were injured, not dead.

The village of Scawton
The village of Scawton

Sheep assembled in a farm yard near Scawton
Sheep assembled in a farm yard near Scawton

I don't know what breed this very small cow is.
I don't know what breed this very small cow is

We followed the road for about 1 km into Scawton. In Scawton we turned off the road opposite the church.

From here, map ref. SE556846 we followed a path up the hillside to the road at map ref. SE553841.

Crossing the fields from Scawton
Crossing the fields from Scawton

Dropping down into Flassen Dale
Dropping down into Flassen Dale

Once across the Flassen Dale, the path took us over several fields to Cold Kirby, where we found a seat under the trees on the green.

We took a path across the fields for about 1km to the edge of Flassen Dale. We continued on this path across the wooded, steep sided little valley.

Climbing out of Flassen Dale
Climbing out of Flassen Dale

The track approaching Cold Kirby
The track approaching Cold Kirby

The mobile library bus arrived and parked by the green and some children brought their books to exchange (it's half term week this week).

We sat for our lunch and we were surprised how busy the village was particularly as there is no through road. There were cars and tractors travelling up and down the street all the time.

The church in Cold Kirby
The church in Cold Kirby

A very inquisitive horse in the next field
A very inquisitive horse in the next field

From there we followed the road to the village of Old Byland. On the edge of the village at map ref. SE549857 we turned right off the road.

After our break we took a path heading northwards out of the end of the village, across the fields to a road at map ref. SE535852.

Cattle on the path from Cold Kirby
Cattle on the path from Cold Kirby

Old lime kilns near Old Byland
The remains of lime kilns near Old Byland
Rose hips brightening the hedgerow
Rose hips brightening the hedgerow

The edge of Old Byland
The edge of Old Byland

The village of Old Byland
The village of Old Byland

Heading down into the valley from Old Byland
Heading down into the valley from Old Byland

We continued along the road back to our starting point.

We followed a bridleway down a muddy little valley to the road at map ref. SE568848.

Heading down into the valley from Old Byland
Heading down into the valley from Old Byland

An old ash tree growing out of the rocks
An old ash tree growing out of the rocks

Heading down the muddy valley from Old Byland
Heading down the muddy valley from Old Byland

He offered us a pheasant each but both our wives are vegetarian so we would not have been welcome at home bearing a pheasant to dress. Our walk had been 11 km and had taken us four hours including our lunch break and other stops.

The very large shooting party we had seen at the start of our walk was assembeled here with vehicles lining the road sides. There was a trailer with two large plastic baker's trays with the day's bag. A rather jovial man who we had spoken to this morning was by the trailer.

Part of the day's bag
Part of the day's bag