Walk No. 13 Wet Walk with Dragon
Nunnington, Cawton, Stonegrave circuit - 7 miles (11km)
Ryedale . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

This walk (and all the alleged folk lore) was contributed by Phil Dance - thanks Phil!

Yesterday (17 January 2008) was grey and damp so we took a new walk, in a region we know well, but never walked in that particular sequence before. It kept to minor roads, tracks and clean field headlands.

It went past Loschy Wood where the local Dragon lived. It was actually a large venom spitting Worm which self-healed on injury. Such beasts were common in the North East (e.g. Lambton, Durham) and they took a liking to milk maids' pails of milk for their particular brand of binge drinking, thereafter exuding drafts of stale noxious air which made the crops wilt. The Knight Sir Peter Loschy was refused the hand of the fair lady of his intent (potential WAG lined up by the Wymple speed dating Agency) and was bid to do a deed of valour before further consideration. He rode to Scotland, finding nothing brave to do, but on his return he heard that the local NFU was up in arms about damaged crops, and in trouble with DEFRA and the RPA over their messed up subsidy forms. Wearing his armour studded with razor blades, he hacked and cut the entwining worm, whereupon it self-healed and wafted more noxious air (nearly as bad as CFC's for causing Greenhouse Gas Emissions). His faithful hound was instructed to carry the lopped off parts and deposit them on the hill by Nunnington Church. With many trips and the job done, the faithful hound licked his surviving master's face with joy. He carried the Worm's poisoned blood on his jowls and tongue and at their moment of triumph, both died.

So here's the route: About 7 miles. O.S. Explorer 300 Howardian Hills & Malton at 1:25000

From Nunnington Church take the minor road west, over the old railway bridge and cutting to Jubilee Cottages. Just to the north of here, on Loschy Hill, lived the Worm. It helped itself to milk from Loschy Farm and East Newton Hall a little further along the road, down Lack Lane. There are four deer grazing on the hill today. Continue with the minor road, west and south, to the Stonegrave-Helmsley highway: Leysthorpe Lane. Turn Right. At Leysthorpe take the Ebor Way south on a limestone farm track, again across the old railway line, to join the Cawton-Gilling East minor road. Turn left. Pass the Cawton village farms and houses and follow the minor road as it turns left at the duck pond. A few minutes later the road turns right by the old station. Carry on for a couple of minutes; there is a gate and fingerpost on the left. The path follows a large rectangular field along its longest edge and then right, across a bridge over a large dike. Forwards to a gate, and diagonal right to a wooden wicket gate. Climb over old wooden steps into Stonegrave Church yard. This was a Celtic Minster and there are ancient stone Cross remnants inside; sadly, the Church is locked today. Heading to the left from the Church gate, carefully cross the busy highway. There was a road rage ox driver met his end here when he walloped his ox and it butted him. The ox had refused to travel faster than 240 furlongs, by the hour. But on the other side of the road, climbing upwards and eastwards on turf and limestone hollow-way is the old race track along Caulkleys Bank. In a short while, after two fields, take the descending cart track on the left, back to the minor road and Nunnington Church. There may well be a café open in the village. Food and drink is available at "The Royal Oak" 01439 748271. Oh, the ox was found outside the Spa Cafe and bakery in Hovingham, by the ford.