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Looking northeast from the bridleway on the hill top above Gower Hall Farm
Looking northeast from the bridleway on the hill top above Gower Hall Farm

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Route No. 812 - Thursday 23 July 2020
Thornton-le-Clay, bridleway across
fields to top of Stittenham Hill,
road towards Sheriff Hutton, left to
Skegmer Lane, left to Thornton-le-Clay
5km circuit - Howardian Hills AONB . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: Map: OS Explorer 300 Howardian Hills & Malton


Our parking spot on the north western edge of Thornton-le-Clay
Our parking spot on the north western edge of Thornton-le-Clay

The weather forecast for today expected some sunny intervals to start with , clouding over with light rain by lunchtime and heavier rain in the afternoon. My friend, Jim, and I drove out to the village of Thornton-le-Clay in the Howardian Hills and parked on the wide grass verge at map ref. SE 682 653 at the north western edge of the village.

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These horses came to meet us at the gate
These horses came to meet us at the gate

The OS Explorer map shows a field boundary after about 150m but there is no boundary on the ground and we continued along the edge of the field for about 300m from the road to the top edge of the field. Here there is an old gate in the fence now wired up, where the bridleway used to go and this route is still shown on my OS Explorer map. On our right there is another newer gate through the hedge on the present route of the bridleway. The top rail of the gate has been well chewed by the horses.

At our parking spot the route of a public bridleway crosses the road and from the road we took the Bridleway heading northwards. There was a small group of riding horses by the gate into the field. They were quite calm and friendly but were unwilling to move to allow us to open the gate. After some gentle patting and coaxing they shifted enough to let us into the field and we followed the bridleway up the right hand edge of the field. The horses stayed at the bottom of the slope by the gate.

Bridleway climbing up the hillside from the road
Bridleway climbing up the hillside from the road

Gate on our right on the present route of the bridleway
Gate on our right on the present route of the bridleway

Bridleway along the field edge
Bridleway along the field edge

Following the bridleway up the hillside from the field corner
Following the bridleway up the hillside from the field corner

At the corner we turned left and continued along the bridleway up the edge of the field for about 150m and there we rejoined the old route of the bridleway. At the top of the slope we could see a windmill tower across the field to our left. It has clearly been converted into a fine character-residence.

We passed though the gate and then turned left and then right to the path along the edge of the field keeping the hedge on our right. We followed this path, actually it's a bridleway, for about 150m to the corner of the field.

Bridleway around the corner of the field
Bridleway around the corner of the field

Windmill residence seen across the fields
Windmill residence seen across the fields

Dropping down the hillside towards the woodland at Stittenham Ings
Dropping down the hillside towards the woodland at Stittenham Ings

The bridleway took us down keeping the hedge ahead on our left
The bridleway took us down keeping the hedge ahead on our left

Scarlet pimpernel flowers by the path
Scarlet pimpernel flowers by the path


Passing the end of the woodland at Stittenham Ings

Lords & Ladies or Cuckoo Pint, Latin name Arum Maculatum
Lords & Ladies or Cuckoo Pint, Latin name Arum Maculatum

When we were opposite West Mill House across the field on our left we came to the corner of a field where the farm track turned right around the corner of the field. At this corner we kept straight on along a grassy track up the edge of the field.

We continued down the slope with the hedge on our left to the end of the woodland at Stittenham Ings. We followed the route of the public bridleway along the farm track past the end of the woodland at Stittenham Ings on our right.

Meadow Brown butterfly by the path
Meadow Brown butterfly by the path

Farm track heading for the woods at Stittenham Ings
Farm track heading for the woods at Stittenham Ings

Large White butterflies drinking from the damp earth
Large White butterflies drinking from the damp earth

Track up the hill with West Mill House over the hedge to our left
Track up the hill with West Mill House over the hedge to our left

Track turning right at the field corner but we kept straight on along the grassy  bridleway at the field edge
Track turning right at the field corner but we kept straight on along the grassy bridleway at the field edge

Grassy bridleway up to the woodland at the top of the field
Grassy bridleway up to the woodland at the top of the field

Bridleway through the trees to the next field
Bridleway through the trees to the next field

Following the bridleway up the field to the road
Following the bridleway up the field to the road

We continued along the bridleway through the woodland strip to a gate into the field on the other side. From this gate we followed a path through the grass up the hill side for about 150m to a gate onto the road at the top of Stittenham Hill.

After about 200m along the grassy track we came to the top edge of the field with a narrow strip of woodland around the top edge of the field. On our left the bridleway followed a narrow path through the long grass into the dense woodland strip.

About to turn left on the bridleway into the trees
About to turn left on the bridleway into the trees

Bridleway leaving the wood to the next field
Bridleway leaving the wood to the next field

Gate from the bridleway to the road
Gate from the bridleway to the road

From the gate we turned left to walk along the road at the top of Stittenham Hill
From the gate we turned left to walk along the road at the top of Stittenham Hill

Following the road towards Sheriff Hutton
Following the road towards Sheriff Hutton

Turning left off the Sheriff Hutton road onto Skegmer Lane
Turning left off the Sheriff Hutton road onto Skegmer Lane

Old windmill converted to a private residence
Old windmill converted to a private residence

Here we came to a triangulation pillar (trig-point) by the hedge on our right at the entrance to Sheepclose Farm. On the opposite side of the road there was a good view of the old wind mill, now a private residence.

At the road we turned left to walk along the road. We continued along the road for almost 900m to a turning on our left onto Skegmer Lane. Here we turned left onto Skegmer Lane and walked along this undulating lane for about 1.2km.

Following the road towards Sheriff Hutton
Following the road towards Sheriff Hutton

Following Skegmer Lane southwards
Following Skegmer Lane southwards

Triangulation Pillar, trig-point, by the roadside
Triangulation Pillar, trig-point, by the roadside

Passing the entrance to Sheepclose Farm along Skegmer Lane
Passing the entrance to Sheepclose Farm along Skegmer Lane

Dropping down to our left turn off Skegmer Lane
Dropping down to our left turn off Skegmer Lane

Following the road back to Thornton-le-Clay
Following the road back to Thornton-le-Clay

After about 750m walking along the road from the junction we reached our parking spot and the end of our walk. The whole route had been about 5.3km and I had taken about three hours to walk the route with my wonky knees.

From the trig-point we continued along the road, down the hillside for another 250m to a turning on our left. At this road junction we turned left along the road heading back towards Thornton-le-Clay.

Passing Mill House heading for Thornton-le-Clay
Passing Mill House heading for Thornton-le-Clay

Nearing our parking spot at the end of our walk
Nearing our parking spot at the end of our walk

Returning to our parking spot on the edge of Thornton-le-Clay at the end of our walk
Returning to our parking spot on the edge of Thornton-le-Clay at the end of our walk

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