Odyssey Stage 6 – Londesborough to Kilnwick Percy

We are now well into this challenge and stage 6 will see us reach our nearest-to-home location.   We will then arc back over in a north-easterly direction and back towards to coast.

For now though we begin at the small civil parish of Londesborough (population 182, 2011 census), and the YWW is about the most famous thing about this village according to Wikipedia.   Parking at exactly the stop we turned around at on stage 5, we headed down Howlgate Lane passing All Saints church on our left, before taking a sharp right and heading up hill and out of the village.   At the top of the village we were directed straight over at the cross-roads in a westerly direction, following the asphalt for about 1 mile of undulating countryside.

You could gauge the landscape well from here.  To our left we looked onto flat land and could see the cooling towers of Drax and Ferrybirdge in the far distance, to our right were the steep hills of the wolds, and we were half way up coasting along its banks.   After 1 mile or so we arrived at a T-juction and turned right uphill, then after 40 yards turned left into Partridge Hill Farm.    The owners of this farm studiously (with big yellow arrows) directed YWW trailers efficiently through the farm buildings and out onto the back field on a farm track.   Down the farm track to a gate, we are then directed over a grass field on a narrow track straight across to another gate.    Due to the wet weather this last week, the track was maybe a little less obvious due to the grass springing up quickly in response to the rain, that, and a combination of poor signing in this area means that the YWW became confusing here.

We appeared to be directed left through a gate, down by the side of a wood, through other gates, and tracking the edge of fields.  The track was hard to follow though and we were getting very wet.    Over a small wooded bridge (over Burnby Beck), down through another field we arrived at a plain “Public Bridle Way” sign, and because it never said YWW on it, we knew we had taken a wrong turn somewhere.     We had now arrived at Church Lane, and because we could see the entrance sign to Nunburnholme (a village that is on the YWW), we knew we were close to the trail so decided to continue.


Almost immediately after entering the village we picked up the YWW trail again, turning left and across a field, right at the end of the field and then merging with Lowfield Lane.   Up Lowfield Lane and then turning right up the steep gravel track of Braft Lane, though a wood.  At the top of this wood (Garforth Wood), we went through a gate, and up a muddy track that went on and on through a large field containing sheep and through a couple more fields to the summit of Welton Wold Farm.

We were directed through the farm onto the farm entrance road, and then directed right up a hill, and then left at the top back onto what seemed to be the same track and trajectory as before.    Across a few more fields we arrived at the B1246 (Kilnwick Percy Hill).

Kilnwick Hall
The Hall at Kilnwick, now the Madhyamaka Buddhist Centre

The YWW sign was directly opposite pointing us straight into a deep grassy delve, at the other side we went through a very muddy gate (filthy it was) and back onto the track.   Across more fields we could see the rooftops of Kilnwick Percy to our left, and at this point the YWW trail shared its course with the “Pilgrimage of Grace Trail” which charts the track of the great East Yorkshire rebellion of 1536.

stage 6b

The Pilgrimage of Grace was a popular rising in Yorkshire in October 1536 against Henry VIII’s (he was a shit) break with the Roman Catholic Church, the Dissolution of the Monasteries and the policies of the King’s chief minister, Thomas Cromwell, as well as other specific political, social and economic grievances. It has been termed “the most serious of all Tudor rebellions”.


We were actually stumbling in the footsteps of history!

We rounded a field, and passing the YWW Acorn Marker (Filey 49 miles, Hessle 30 Miles – progress!), we arrived at yet another farm.   At this point we had traveled 5 miles so hoped to find a candidate for a parking place soon.    After travelling through this farm, greeted by a sheep dog, we followed the farm road down a valley and then back up a hill until the track merged with another road that ran down to Kilnwick Percy.   We had hit 5.2 miles and could see a couple of places to park for next time.   In the distance we could see Millington, and the YWW was pointing right up an uphill track and onto on the Wolds.   At the top of here we would meet some familiar territory as we would arrive upon the stages we’d trained on in practice a couple of months earlier.

stage 6d
The turn around point and start of Stage 7

Time to turn back.   But if you think the fun ends here as we track the route back, then you are mistaken!   We had to run the Nunburnholme gauntlet!!

Back we went, without issue until we arrived back at Nunburnholme.     We lost the track here on the way out so we were determined to get the correct track back through.  At the village we turned left as directed, and then we were pointed right through a gate and across a farm field.   At the end of this field we arrived at a gate.   The track at the other side was under about 4 feet of water!   Burnby Beck forded the track here it seemed.    We had 2 choices; turn back the way we came, or climb the gate and wade through it!   John (with a keen sense of adventure) opted to climb the gate and begin wading.  I held back, prudently awaiting John to gauge the depth before committing.  Remember as well that we would have about 2 miles of squelchy running in reward for this adventurous decision.

stage 6f
The Ford – John was 2 seconds off wading into this – that would have been pure comedy!  If only..

I heard a noise.  A shout.  The farmer was calling from the house.   Something that sounded like “BRIDGE!”, and then “DICKHEADS!”, and then “BRIDGE!” again!   He/She (couldn’t tell from here) seemed to be gesticulating towards the left with some urgency.    Seconds before John had committed to wading then, we were saved.   Turns out a few yards to the left, hidden in some bushes, was a nice wooden bridge!  Hooray!

After that challenge, we crossed over, then up a hill to the top of a field, turned right, and was confronted by a field of cows!    More importantly, there was a bull staring us down.   Shit!   Here’s were John can be useful with his farmer training.   Like some kind of Tarzan (but with farmyard, not jungle, animals), John managed to communicate with them.  Clapping a signal and grunting he moved them back.  And back.  And back.    It seemed he was just cornering them though, as they reached the corner of the field we were trying to exit.   There was a grove of trees in the corner.   He pushed them back into these trees.   They split down two narrow tracks into what looked to be a dead end. We were bound to confront them!   We had to, there was nowhere else they could possibly be!

They went.  Vanished!

About 5 cows  (and a bull) had literally disappeared!   It’s as if they had climbed the trees, I honestly could not fathom out where they could have gone!   A complete mystery.  We were both thoroughly baffled!

disappearing cows

Anyway following that drama, a field or two further and we got back to the point we went wrong on the way out.   We then arrived back at Partridge Hill Farm, and then trotted along the lane back to Londesborough and eventually to my car.   10.6 miles done. Ice Finger buns the reward this time.

Join us next time as we attempt a challenging 12 miler (very hilly terrain) to Hugate and back!    It’s all change again, as we get into the deepest darkest wolds and the infamous chalk valleys..




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