The Yorkshire Wolds Way is a hidden-gem hike that explores some of the most peaceful and gentle countryside that England has to offer.
The charming landscape boasts tranquil dry valleys and dales, wildlife and wildflower-rich chalklands, vibrant market towns and sleepy villages, abundant history, and a sumptuous sense of solitude.
From the banks of the Humber Estuary, the trail winds for 79 miles (129 kilometers) around the western edge of the Wolds; along wooded hillsides, through serene valleys and pretty farmland, and eventually onto the northern escarpment to the coastline at Filey.
The Yorkshire Wolds is typically quite flat; there are no grueling ascents—and certainly no mountains to climb. Whilst there are hills, they are small, gentle, and afford breathtaking views. The trail is well-maintained and well-signposted, too.
Despite the beauty and utter peacefulness of this hike, it is not as well-known as some of its peers. The upshot of this is that you often have the landscape all to yourself; no crowded summits and teeming visitors’ centers on this trail.
The downside is that accommodation options and places to eat and drink are not always abundant. Whilst every stage in this Collection finishes close to accommodation, even if there are only a few options nearby, it is worth planning in advance and scheduling any rest days accordingly.
The most common way to walk the Wolds Way is from south to north, as per this Collection. Whilst there is nothing to stop you from completing it the other way, starting from the urban landscape of Hull and finishing on the golden Yorkshire coastline is widely agreed to be the most rewarding way.
In this Collection, we split the route into five stages. Of course, you can split up each stage into as many days as you are comfortable with. You can also walk any single stage, or a couple of stages, in isolation.
If you are planning to arrive by public transport, you can catch a train to Hessle, which has connecting services around Britain, typically with a change in either Hull or Doncaster, depending where you are coming from. It is then a five-minute walk from the station to the start of the trail.
To get home, you can catch the 12, 13, or 555 bus services from Filey to Scarborough, which has direct trains to York, Manchester, and Liverpool, and connecting services around Britain.
If you are planning to arrive by car, your best bet is to negotiate with a hotel or B&B a rate to stay for a night either side of your hike in Hull or Hessle. Alternatively, you could find long stay parking in Hull or York, which both have good transport links with the start and finish.
To get back to Hessle, you can catch the 12, 13, or 555 bus services from Filey to Scarborough, which has direct trains to Hull and connecting services (via Hull) to Hessle.
For more information about the Yorkshire Wolds Way, visit: nationaltrail.co.uk/yorkshire-wolds-way.
For the 12 and 13 bus service, visit: getdown.org.uk/bus/bus/12-13.shtml.
For the 555 bus service, visit: bustimes.org/services/555-scarborough-filey
For train timetables and tickets, visit: thetrainline.com.
The Yorkshire Wolds Way begins its epic journey in the shadow of the Humber Bridge.
When the Humber Bridge was completed in 1981, it was the longest of its kind in the world and was not surpassed until 1998.
The trail follows the Humber, an estuary formed by the rivers Trent and Ouse, for the first couple of miles, giving you an opportunity to admire the almighty shipping lane and the plentiful birdlife it is home to.
You leave the estuary at North Ferry and begin climbing onto the Wolds. At roughly the halfway point, you pass the village of Welton, which provides a good opportunity for refreshment.
The trail continues through the patchwork landscape and eventually descends to Brantingham. As you leave the village, you pass All Saints, a pretty 12th-century church in a stunning location.
After one more short but sharp ascent, the trail drops into South Cave, where this stage finishes.
South Cave has some accommodation options and places to eat and drink.
You climb high onto the Wolds on this stage and experience great views over the Humber.
The trail ascends through serene farmland and woodland out of South Cave before descending through Swin Dale.
When you reach Spring Dale, the Wolds Way splits; with one path following the Hudson Way into Market Weighton and the other heading to Goodmanham.
This route follows the Goodmanham option as it takes you past All Hallows, a fascinating church that was built in 1130 on the site of a former pagan temple. It also explores Londesborough Park, a beautifully-landscaped estate, woodland, and gardens.
When you reach the B1246 road, you take a left and divert from the trail for two miles (three kilometers) to the small market town of Pocklington, where this stage finishes.
Pocklington has a good range of accommodation, places to eat and drink, as well as shops and other attractions.
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With valleys, dales, patchwork fields, and sleepy villages, this stage is classic Wolds walking.
You rejoin the trail north of Pocklington and hike through Warren Dale, Nettle Dale, and Pasture Dale before reaching the village of Huggate.
At 558 feet (170 meters) above sea level, Huggate is the highest village on the Yorkshire Wolds and also has one of the deepest wells in England. As Huggate marks the halfway point, it is a good place to stop for some refreshment.
The trail continues through Horse Dale and Holm Dale before reaching the village of Fridaythorpe, which has a 12th-century church complete with Norman font and ancient wall paintings.
You then drop into West Dale and Brubber Dale before crossing farmland and dropping into Thixen Dale, which leads into Thixendale village, where this stage finishes.
There is not much in Thixendale but there are a few places to stay nearby and a pub which serves food.
A deserted medieval village, wildlife-rich countryside, and Norman architecture await you on this enchanting hike.
From Thixendale, the trail climbs onto the Wolds and soon reaches Wharram Percy, one of the best-preserved deserted medieval villages in Britain.
Situated in a remote and picturesque valley, the village was occupied for six centuries before it was mysteriously abandoned around 1500.
If you are undertaking this hike in spring or summer, it is worth following the brief detour shown on this route to see Wharram Quarry Nature Reserve, which has stunning wildflower displays and is home to lots of butterflies at that time of year.
The trail continues through the rolling farmland and woodland to Wintringham, which is home to a beautiful Norman church in a peaceful setting.
You continue through the Deepdale and Knapdale plantations before emerging into open countryside all the way to Sherburn, where this stage finishes.
There is not much in Sherburn but there are accommodation options in the area, as well as a couple of places to eat and drink.
Signs of ancient civilizations are everywhere along this stage, which brings you to the trail’s conclusion on the Yorkshire coastline.
From Sherburn, you continue through the rolling landscape; over Staxton Wold and Flixton Wold, and along Camp Dale and Stocking Dale.
Along the way, you will notice many tumuli and linear earthworks which date from the Iron Age, through Roman times, and beyond.
As you leave Stocking Dale, you officially step out of the Wolds and begin the gradual descent to Filey, where this stage and the trail finishes.
Filey is a small coastal town between Scarborough and Bridlington. However, it is much more peaceful than its neighbors and boasts golden sands and clear waters.
The trial finishes at a sculpture that marks the end of the Yorkshire Wolds Way and the Cleveland Way.
With great coastal views, plenty of places for food and drink, and ample paddling opportunities, Filey makes for a great finish. The town has a good range of accommodation, shops, and other attractions, too.