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Path beside Pennels Drain between the York by-pass and Skelton
Path beside Pennels Drain between the York by-pass and Skelton

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Route No. 327 - Wednesday 10 March 2010
Skelton, River Ouse, Rawcliffe circuit - 8km
York . . .

Ordnance Survey route map from Bing maps.

Map: OS Explorer 290 York at 1:25000


Unoffical path through the trees from the lay-by
Unofficial path through the trees from the lay-by

Cycleway and footpath down to the River Ouse
Cycleway and footpath down to the River Ouse

We turned to walk along this access road for about 100m to a footpath and cycle track on our left. We followed this path down to the river bank and continued along the flood bank next to the River Ouse. After about 600m we passed under the bridge carrying the York outer ring road over the river. We continued along the flood bank for another 600m to map ref. SE577539. Here we turned off the path to head north east off the flood bank and along a line of trees.

Today I needed a short flat walk so my mate. Jim, and I drove to a lay-by off the A19 just outside the York outer ring road near Skelton at map ref. SE571554. We set off along an unofficial path through the trees that saves walking directly along the edge of the busy A19. We walked about 150m on this path towards York until we came to an access road to some houses on our right.

Sign at our turn onto the cycle path
Sign at our turn onto the cycle path

York by-pass over the Ouse seen from the flood bank
York by-pass over the Ouse seen from the flood bank

Lake in the recreation area in Rawcliffe
Lake in the recreation area in Rawcliffe

Walkway through the recreation area in the Rawcliffe estate
Walkway through the recreation area in the Rawcliffe estate

Alley way from Conway Close to the A19
Alley way from Conway Close to the A19

There's a pleasant path round the lake which we followed in an anticlockwise direction to the western corner of the lake. From here there is a green recreation area running north west through the estate. We followed the footpath through this area for about 1km from the lake to Manor Lane, map ref. SE582551. Here we crossed Manor Lane and continued through a green area for another 100m to Hollyrood Road. Here we turned left and walked along the road for about 80m and took the cul-de-sac on our right called Conway Close. At the end of the cul-de-sac there is a public footpath down an alley way between the houses out to the York By-pass (A1237).

We crossed the cycle track and followed a track across the allotments and out to the A19 at map ref. SE581542. We crossed the A19, Shipton Road and the Shipton Road service road to Loweswater Road and into Patterdale Drive where we turned right along Patterdale Drive for a few metres. Then we turned left to walk along Westholme Drive to its junction with Eastholme Drive. Here we turned right and walked along Eastholme Drive for about 150m to Greystoke Road where we turned left. At the end of Greystoke Road there is a passage way between the houses out to an open recreation area with a large lake. The lake is a flood prevention device to store rain water from the housing estate.

The footpath crosses the York by-pass
The footpath crosses the York by-pass

Path across the field from the York by-pass
Path across the field from the York by-pass

We followed the path across a wide field to a few trees by a stream called Burtree Dam. We crossed a footbridge over the stream and followed the path along side Burtree Dam heading north towards Skelton. It was a pretty tree-lined path in the spring sunshine.

The path continues across the by-pass and the fields opposite but it's a very busy road with fast traffic. We had to wait on the roadside for several minutes before there was an opportunity to cross safely. We crossed the stile on the other side of the road and entered the field.

Footbridge over a stream called Burtree Dam
Footbridge over a stream called Burtree Dam

Footpath beside Burtree Dam
Footpath beside Burtree Dam

Footpath beside Burtree Dam
Footpath beside Burtree Dam

The green by the church in Skelton
The green by the church in Skelton

We walked along a street called Brecksfield out to Moorlands Lane where we turned left to walk into The Village with a green area on our right in front of the church. We continued to St Giles Road which we followed to the A 19 by a pub called the Blacksmiths Arms. We crossed the A19 and turned down Stripe Lane opposite.

We followed it for about 1.5km to the east side of Skelton where there was a footbridge over the stream at map ref. SE574564. We crossed the footbridge and walked down a short track by the primary school into a housing estate in Skelton.

Path past the Primary School into Skelton
Path past the Primary School into Skelton

Following Stripe Lane from the A19
Following Stripe Lane from the A19

The ford across Hurns Gutter with the walkway on the right
The ford across Hurns Gutter with the walkway on the right

Sign at our turn onto the cycleway & path
Sign at our turn onto the cycleway & path

Path alongside Hurns Gutter
Path alongside Hurns Gutter

Seats from recycled steel work by the path
Seats from recycled steel work by the path

Away to the right is the East Coast main line railway so you're likely to see express trains heading for London or Edinburgh as well as long goods trains passing by. At the river bank we followed the path downstream towards York for about 500m where the path bends to the left and we followed it out to the A 19 again and retraced our steps through the trees back to the lay-by where we had started. The whole walk had been 8km and it had taken us almost 3 hours to walk including a short lunch break.

We crossed the A19 and turned down Stripe Lane opposite. We walked along the lane down the side of Skelton Golf Course to a ford across a stream called Hurns Gutter. The normal flow of water is piped under the road but there is a dilapidated wooded walkway to one side to cross when the stream is in flood. Just beyond the ford we turned left off the road to follow a footpath and cycleway alongside Hurns Gutter. It's a pretty wooded path that lead to the River Ouse.

Footbridge over Hurns Gutter
Footbridge over Hurns Gutter

Seats from recycled steel work by the path
Seats from recycled steel work by the path

Heading back to the lay-by through the trees
Heading back to the lay-by through the trees

Looking back along the River Ouse and the cycleway
Looking back along the River Ouse and the cycleway

Background Notes:
This walk is on the edge of York at Skelton. It's an 8km, about 5 miles, circuit starting at the large layby off the A19 on the southern edge of Skelton. It's one you could do over the Christmas holiday period for some fresh air away from the TV. We follow a path through the trees next to the A19 and turn down an access road to join a Sustrans cycleway and footpath. This particular route is part of the Sustrans route No 65 from Hull to Midlesbrough also known as the "White Rose Cycle route". We follow it to the inlet to Clifton Ings and from there we walk along the top of the flood bank next to the river. The ings have always been part of the river's natural flood plain but the way it operates has been modified so that the ings do not start to flood until just before the peak of a flood passing down the river and in that way the peak is stored on the ings and the peak flood level down stream is reduced. These ings can hold over 3 million cubic metres of flood water and have a significan effect on flood levels through York. These wetland meadows are a rare and important habitat and have probably never been ploughed. It's certainly been a wetland hay meadow since Roman times. We continue along the flood bank passing under the York Northern bypass viaduct, quite an impressive structure when seen from underneath. A little way beyond the bypass we turn away from the river on a path across the ings to a large area of allotment gardens, run by the Clifton (Without) and Rawcliffe Allotment Association. I do like to see well kept allotments and often there's the scent of cellery in the air at this time of year, but then I'm just a daft old bloke! Fom here we cross the road into the housing estate oposite and make our way to a large lake in the middle of the estate. The lake was built in the early 1980's before there were any houses. It's purpose is to store rainwater runoff from the large housing estate to prevent flooding and it's also an attractive feature in a green space that runs through the estate. We walk round the lake (with ducks to feed if you like) and follow a path through the green space to the northern edge of the estate. This brings us through a passageway between the houses to the side of the York bypass, the A1237. This is a very busy road often with fast moving traffic. I have to say that it is a hazardous crossing. Our route crosses the road to a stile into the fields on the opposite side and there are footpath signs on both sides of the road. You will need to be patient. We had to wait several minutes for a safe gap in the traffic. Once across the road we follow a path across the field to a footbridge over a stream called Burtree Dam. There is a pleasant wooded path beside the stream back to Skelton village along Brecks Lane and into the village by the side of the village primary school. On our way through the village we pass the village church of St. Giles. The church building is well worth a visit. The church was first built in 1247 and it's said that the work was done by masons who had worked on the building of York Minster.The quality of the workmanship on the decorated columns was certainly done by some very skilled craftsmen. We leave Skelton and cross the A19 to walk along Stripe Lane for a few hundred metres to a ford across a stream called Hurns Gutter. The water normally flows under the road but there's a rather delapidated wooded walkway for pedestrians when the stream is in flood. Just beyond the ford we turn off the road to follow the Sustrans path by Hurns Gutter to the bank of the River Ouse. Along the way there are a couple of seats made from recycled industrial machinery and they are both very comfortable, I've tested them. At the river we follow the path downstream along the river bank and then out to the A19 near the layby where we started and the end of our walk.

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