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Route 257 Wednesday 9 July 2008
Hovingham, Slingsby, Barton-le-Street,
Centenary Way circuit - 15km
Howardian Hills, North Yorkshire

Route Description:
Today my neighbour. Jim, and I drove for about 20 minutes from Easingwold to Hovingham. We made an early start and parked in the little public car park next to the village hall just before 9.00am. We set off from Hovingham along a path down the side of the Malt Shovel pub heading east towards Slingsby. It turned out to be a very pleasant broad green path between large fields of very healthy looking crops. There were broad beans, potatoes, barley, wheat, oats and oil seed rape with fat pods ripening ready to harvest. As usual at this time of year there were wild flowers everywhere, too many to photograph them all but I have a few samples. At map ref. SE695755 we turned right to follow a path past some smallholdings. We continued along this path to come into Slingsby by the church. We left Slingsby along Green Dike Lane heading for Barton-le-Street. The lane became a path between arable fields with wild flowers amongst the grass and numerous butterflies. As we left the village we passed a monkey puzzle tree with huge cones developing. I don't remember seeing such cones before. The path into Barton-le-Street led us through a very tidy and prosperous set of farm buildings to the village green. We headed south through the village to cross the main road (B1257 - quite busy). We crossed the road at map ref. SE720741 and took the path opposite that led us up the edge of the fields to the Centenary way at map ref. SE714729. We headed south through the village to cross the main road (B1257 - quite busy). At this point the Centenary Way has climbed up from Coneysthorpe and turned left to go along a wooded ridge. This ridge is at the edge of the Howardian Hills over looking the Vale of Pickering to the North York Moors. We followed the path along the ridge to cross the road (map ref. SE704732) forming the long straight avenue through the Castle Howard estate. We continued following the Centenary Way along the wooded ridge for over 3km to map ref. SE670738. Here the Centenary Way meets the Ebor Way and turns Southeast (following the same route as the Ebor Way). We turned north west to follow the Ebor Way for the last 1.5km back to our starting point in Hovingham. As we walked along the road into Hovingham I noticed a dead butterfly in the dust at the roadside. We were able to examine the eye spots both under the wing and on top. This is often the only way to be sure what species it is. (My sister gives me expert tips on butterflies). I photographed a lovely chocolate brown butterfly with a white edge to its wings when we were on the Yorkshire Wolds two weeks ago and I could not identify it. The dead butterfly I had found was the same kind but a lighter shade of brown so that the eye spots were much clearer. The mystery was solved they are both ringlet butterflies. The underwing spots are decisive. The whole route had been 15km and had taken us almost 5 hours to walk including our lunch stop and lots of photos. Jim is very tolerant of my continual stops for yet another picture. We called at the bakers and tea shop near the ford in Hovingham for a coffee and a toasted teacake before returning home in good time to collect my grand daughter from her nursery.

Background Notes:
This walk is a circular route of 15km, about 9 miles from Hovingham in the Howardian Hills. In the centre of the village is Hovingham Hall the family seat of the Worsley's. The Hovingham Hall web site records that the Worsleys bought the estate at the end of the 1500's. The present hall was built in the Palladian style between 1750 and 1770 by Thomas Worsley who was passionate about riding and he made the entrance to the hall through the hall's own Riding School. The hall is the childhood home of Katherine Worsley, who married the Duke of Kent in 1961 in York Minster. (On a personal note I remember the occasion well because in the early 1950's my uncle lived in Water End at Clifton in York. It was a street that was a dead end at the River Ouse so had very little traffic and my cousin and I used to cross the road to go play in the Homestead Park. Some years later, for the wedding the army built a pontoon bridge over the river to help the traffic circulation and Water End suddenly became a very busy road indeed! Afterwards the bridge was so useful it was replaced with a permanent one and Water End never did return to its former calm.) In front of Hovingham Hall in the village centre is the old village school which has a lovely Gothic style Oriel window. Quite a striking feature to come across here. There used to be a railway station at Hovingham on the Thirsk to Driffield line but it was closed in 1964. The station was called Hovingham Spa in a failed attempt to draw people to visit the three springs, each with different properties, at Hovingham Spa about a mile west of the village. These springs were used for their healing properties in Roman times. We leave the village on a path across the fields from the Malt Shovel pub. We head out to Slingsby through rich fertile arable farmland. At Slingsby there is a large ruin called Slingsby Castle that is just visible through the trees from the road. The original structure was a fortified hunting lodge built in the 1300's. There were various modifications over the years and in the 1600's the construction of a Jacobean manor house was started on the foundation provided by the earlier structures. However the owner, Sir Charles Cavendish, who was a Royalist, had to flee to the continent when the civil war was lost and the building was never completed or occupied and it's ruins remain to this day. We continue out of Slingsby and follow a track between the fields to the next village called Barton-le-Street. There's a wide pleasant village green here and we walk through the village past the church to climb up to a wooded ridge south of the village. There's a path running west along the edge of the wood with views across the Vale of Pickering to the North York Moors. It's a pretty walk along the ridge with the woods on the left and the views on the right with the path meandering into the wood from time to time. Just after we reach the path along the ridge, the Centenary Way comes up throught the wood to join our path. The Centenary Way was created to celebrate 100 years since the formation of a County Council for North Yorkshire and it was opened in 1989 by Chris Brasher, who founded the London marathon. The Centenary Way goes from Filey Brig to York Minster, a route of 134 Km, about 83 miles. We follow the Centenary way along the wooded ridge and then drop down the hillside back into Hovingham where there is a good choice of places for refreshments in the village to round off the walk.