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Muck Spreading in progress at Blue Coat Farm
Muck Spreading in progress in the rain at Blue Coat Farm

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Route No. 613 - Thursday 24 March 2016
Flaxton, Oak Busk Lane, Thornton-le-Clay,
Blue Coat Farm, Cuddy House circuit - 8km
Flaxton . . . . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer 300 Howardian Hills & Malton


Rice Lane heading into Flaxton with Oak Busk Lane on the left
Rice Lane heading into Flaxton with Oak Busk Lane on the left

Setting off along Oak Busk Lane past Oakbush Farm
Setting off along Oak Busk Lane past Oakbush Farm

There was room to park off the road on the grass verge opposite the end of Oak Busk Lane, at map ref. SE 676 628. We set off along Oak Busk Lane and after about 700m we came to the end of the public road. There is a gate across the road here and the access track straight ahead goes to Cuddy House farm whilst the access track to the right goes to 'The Grange'.

After a spell of fine settled weather today was very overcast with the threat of rain. My friend, Jim, and I decided to drive the short distance to Flaxton just off the A64 east of York. We approached Flaxton along the road from the north west called Rice Lane and parked at the north western end of the village.

The end of Oak Busk Lane where we turned left
The end of Oak Busk Lane where we turned left

Path heading north west from the end of Oak Busk Lane
Path heading north west from the end of Oak Busk Lane

Path along a grass strip between the cerial crops
Path along a grass strip between the cereal crops

We followed the path along this strip for about 250m to a stile in the hedge at the far end of the field. Over the stile the path turns to the left to head northwards across the next field to the York to Scarborough railway line at map ref. SE 681 637.

We turned left here to follow a public footpath along the edge of the field heading north west for about 250m. There is a faded waymark sign on a post next to the hedge here and we turned right to continue along the footpath across the field where the farmer has left an uncultivated strip about 1.5m wide.

Over the stile the path turns left towards the railway
Over the stile the path turns left towards the railway

From the stile the path heads across the field to the railway
From the stile the path heads across the field to the railway

Path down the railway cutting to the crossing
Path down the railway cutting to the crossing

A few of the pheasants in the large pen the path crosses
A few of the pheasants in the large pen the path crosses

Once through the stile the reason for this arrangement was obvious. The field was full of pheasants to rear this seasons stock for the shooting season at the end of the year. There were a couple of hundred birds along the base of the fence to our right. We crossed the field to a similar stile at the far side and through the stile we crossed a narrow footbridge across a small stream.

The railway is in a cutting here and we crossed the stile at the field edge to descend some steps down to the track. The track is on a bend and there is limited visibility along the track in both directions. We listened carefully and crossed the track as quickly as possible to the steps up the other side of the cutting. At the top of the bank there was an unusual stile with high netting and a folding mechanism to pass through.

Climbing out of the cutting after crossing the railway
Climbing out of the cutting after crossing the railway


Fighting our way through the pheasant-proof stile

Footbridge from the pheasant pen across a small stream
Footbridge from the pheasant pen across a small stream

The field paths were all well marked
The field paths were all well marked

Crossing the small pasture to a stream
Crossing the small pasture to a stream . . .


Approaching Thornton-le-Clay along the field path

We crossed the pasture to the stream where there was a footbridge across the stream to another arable field. The footpath was again clearly marked and we crossed the field northwards to a ditch along the field edge at the back gardens of the houses that front onto the village street in Thornton-le-Clay.

The path ahead was clearly marked. I think a strip had been sprayed with weed killer to define the route of the path. We followed the path across the field and then across the access track to Rectory Farm. We continued along the footpath clearly marked across the field to a stile into a narrow pasture next to a small stream.

Path continuing across the farm access track to Rectory Farm
Path continuing across the farm access track to Rectory Farm

leaving the small pasture on a footbridge over the stream
. . . leaving the small pasture on a footbridge over the stream

Last ditch to cross into a garden in Thornton-le-Clay
Last ditch to cross into a garden in Thornton-le-Clay

Path through a garden to the road in Thornton-le-Clay
Path through a garden to the road in Thornton-le-Clay

Path across the front garden to the road
Path across the front garden to the road

Then beside the fence across the front garden to a gap in the beech hedge and out to the road in Thornton-le-Clay at map ref. SE 682 650. There is no footpath sign to be seen at the road here.

The side of the ditch were a bit slippy but we stepped across to follow the public footpath up the back garden and along the side of a bungalow.

The path goes through the gap in the beech hedge to the road
The path goes through the gap in the beech hedge to the road

Looking back along the road to The White Swan pub in Thornton-le-Clay
Looking back along the road to The White Swan pub in Thornton-le-Clay

Road junction in Thornton-le-Clay
Road junction in Thornton-le-Clay

Passing the primary school in Thornton-le-Clay
Passing the primary school in Thornton-le-Clay

We continued along the road (there's a footpath along the left hand side of the road so there's no problem with the little traffic that passes by) About 500m beyond the school we turned right off the road at map ref. SE 691 651, to walk along the farm access track towards Blue Coat Farm.

We turned right and walked along the road eastwards through the village past the White Swan pub on the right and then past the village primary school on the right where there were a few children and their teacher playing football in the drizzle that had now set in. Just beyond the school there is a public footpath off to the right that goes around Foston Rectory.

Village name plate in Thornton-le-Clay
Village name plate in Thornton-le-Clay

Turning onto the access road to Blue Coat Farm
Turning onto the access road to Blue Coat Farm

Approaching Blue Coat Farm along the access road
Approaching Blue Coat Farm along the access road

Leaving the access road following a bridleway across the field
Leaving the access road following a bridleway across the field

Muck spreading at Blue Coat Farm
Muck spreading at Blue Coat Farm

On the other side of the hedge a large red tractor was a work with a loading shovel filling a large muck spreader from a midden in the field and a blue tractor was hauling the muck spreader around the field. Agricultural machinery is so big and powerful nowadays we stopped for a few moments just to watch these machines at work.

About 100m before we reached Blue Coat Farm we turned right to follow a bridleway across the corner of a field and then along the edge of a field to the field corner at map ref. SE 688 641. We turned left here and walked down the western side of the hedge along a grass strip about 1.5m wide that had been left uncultivated and provided easy walking along the edge of the field for about 250m to the railway.

Following a bridleway across the fields
Following a bridleway across the fields

Muck spreading at Blue Coat Farm
Muck spreading at Blue Coat Farm

 Bridleway crossing the railway between Blue Coat Farm and Cuddy House farm
Bridleway crossing the railway between Blue Coat Farm and Cuddy House farm

Bridleway crossing the railway
Bridleway crossing the railway

Primrose in the stream bank
Primrose in the stream bank

The bridleway turns towards Cuddy House farm
The bridleway turns towards Cuddy House farm

After about 150 the bridleway turns left away from the stream and heads across the field where a hedge has recently been planted beside the bridleway route. After another 150 the bridleway turns right again and passes Cuddy House farm to the right of the bridleway.

The railway crossing here had much better visibility than our first railway crossing. We followed the bridleway across the railway and then turned right following the bridleway around the edge of the field beside a small stream on our right.

Path along the filed edge from the railway crossing
Path along the filed edge from the railway crossing

New hedge by the bridleway next to Cuddy House farm
New hedge by the bridleway next to Cuddy House farm

Bridleway joins the access track at Cuddy House farm
Bridleway joins the access track at Cuddy House farm

Looking across the fields from Cuddy House farm to Blue Coat Farm
Looking across the fields from Cuddy House farm to Blue Coat Farm

Leaving Cuddy House farm along the access track
Leaving Cuddy House farm along the access track

Track from Cuddy House farm to Oak Busk Lane
Track from Cuddy House farm to Oak Busk Lane

It had been a pleasant enough walk but this kind of flattish walk across farmland is not my favourite walking country particularly on such an overcast and drizzly day. The walk had been about 8km and it had taken us around 2 hours 30 minutes to walk with my wonky knees.

The house here seems to have just been rebuilt and the bridleway joins the farm access road following the edge of the fields for about 500m back to the public road at Oak Busk Lane. We retraced our outward route along Oak Busk Lane to Rice Lane and the end of our walk.

Looking back to Cuddy House farm
Looking back to Cuddy House farm

Near the end of the walk along Oak Busk Lane
Near the end of the walk along Oak Busk Lane

The end of our walk where Oak Busk Lane joins Rice Lane on the edge of Flaxton
The end of our walk where Oak Busk Lane joins Rice Lane on the edge of Flaxton

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