howardian way

Howardian Way 46.3km / 28 mileslinear walk

is a walking route along the length of the Howardian Hills in North Yorkshire from Coxwold in the west to Kirkham Priory in the east.

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Ordnance Survey Explorer Maps 299 and 300


Coxwold bus stop icon food icon accommodation icon shop icon to Husthwaite bus stop icon food icon accommodation icon shop icon 4.4km / 2.6 miles approx walking time 1hr

For local information about Coxwold please visit their village website here

st michaels church coxwoldshandy hall coxwold

Coxwold Husthwaite map
From the crossroads in the centre of Coxwold walk up the hill towards St Micheal's Church. Beyond the church follow the footpath on the righthand side until you reach the entrance to Shandy Hall. Just beyond and opposite is a stile that leads into open fields. Follow the field track taking the left fork heading down the hill. The path crosses over the dismantled railway line before joining the Coxwold to Husthwaite road.

road towards coxwoldold railway line outside coxwold

Turn left walking back towards Coxwold until you see a field gate on the right hand side. Go through the gate, cross the bridge over Green's Beck and turn right keeping to the edge of the field up to Mill Beck.

towards high leysgreen track towards High Leys

Cross Mill Beck via the foot bridge and head south following the hedge to your left. The path continues on a wide green lane with a series of stiles and gates up to High Leys Farm and cycle route No 65 again.

footpath Beacon Banksedge of Beacon Banks Wood

Keep looking back because the views are excellent towards Coxwold and the Kilburn White Horse to the north, the Yorkshire Dales to the west and Byland Abbey and Ampleforth to the east.

trig point Beacon Banksview north on Beacon Banks

beware of dogs and tractors Being aware of dogs and tractors continue southish along the minor road over an open field. At the point at which the hedges appear on both sides of the lane turn left onto Beacon Banks and walk along the wide well defined track / path. The route sticks to the edge of the wood and the bank and then opens out to give a wide vista north and south.

looking over Hustwaitegates into Husthwaite

The wide track continues down, through two sets of gates and past houses to the left into the top of the village of Husthwaite.

A quick left, right across the road leads to a stile into a small field. There are two exits to the field one in the bottom right taking you down towards the triangular green in the centre of the village and the other centre left which is the continuation of the walk.

For local information about Husthwaite please visit their village website here

signpost to Oulstonleaving Husthwaite

Coxwold Husthwaite Oulston Yearsley Brandsby Skewsby Coulton Hovingham Terrington Bulmer Welburn Kirkham

Husthwaite bus stop icon food icon accommodation icon shop icon to Oulston 1.7km / 1mile approx walking time 36mins

Cross the road to go through a white farm gate and take the path to the left signposted Oulston and Thornton on the Hill going diagonally across the field to the corner where you will find a gate. Through the gate the path then continues along the field edge to the first large tree where it turns 90° left and strikes across the field heading for the end of the hedge.


distinct tree markerHusthwaite Oulston mappath heads for end of hedge

Beyond the hedge end the path widens between two fields heading towards the back of The Old Lodge. Pass through the first of two metal horse gates behind the house, a arbour and another gate before you enter a wide grass stray. Continue on and the path goes right down to a field gate.

metal gates and arbourwide grass area

Pass through the gate into the grass field. There is a false friend in the form of a gate in the bottom left corner of the field but the Howardian Way heads down to the obscured right hand corner. A small wooden bridge crosses a small stream and the path passes through a single gate before ascending along a track enclosed by hedges.

obscured field cornerbridge over small stream

Over the brow the track comes down to a crossroads.

enclosed tracktowards yeoman course farm

Go straight across and continue along a tarmac single track lane past Yeoman Course House and a series of agricultural buildings.

There is another fine vista, this time to the south across the Vale of York and beyond. The lane shortly brings you on to the green in Oulston.

Keep to the left hand side of the green to cross the main road through the village opposite Oulston Hall.

Coxwold Husthwaite Oulston Yearsley Brandsby Skewsby Coulton Hovingham Terrington Bulmer Welburn Kirkham

Oulston to Yearsley 5.4km / 3.25 miles approx walking time 1hr 15mins

This is where the walk makes its first brief encounter with the Foss Walk as they both go down the farm access road to the left of the hall.

leaving OulstonOulston Yearsley maptrack leading from Oulston Manor Farm

Beyond the farm the path dips down to a crossroads of paths. The Foss Walk continues on straight and the Howardian Way continues along the track to the right. 

The end of the track is terminated by two field gates with two chains to negotiate.

do not be fooled by the path Do not be fooled by the path that continues along the fence! The path goes diagonally left to the far corner of the field, crosses the fence via a stile and keeps to the edge to another stile, to the right of a small pond.

There is an indestinct track going up the field keeping fairly close to the left hand fence as you are heading for yet another stile in the top left hand corner. The path should then cut the corner of the next field up to Hardy Bank but the farmer does crop over it so you may need to walk around the edge.

heading for the top of Hardy Bank before dropping down below Adam's Hall to the Easingwold Yearsley road.

Turn left along the road for a short distance before turning left again. Tackle the stile and keep to the right field edge. After a small rise in the ground the field dips back down and the double hedge finishes with what was a double stile.

Cross the one remaining stile and continue along the fence to a footbridge over a small stream. For a short distance keep close to the left hand hedge before striking north across the field to another footbridge made of an old gate post. This is the first crossing of what becomes the River Foss.

Go through gate and turn left keeping as close to the bank as is practically possible until reaching a farm track. Go left down the track to cross the stream by way of three stepping stones.

The route has joined the Foss Walk for a second time as it climbs up through two farm gates towards Oulston Reservoir. Keep to the right hand field edges until you finally reach a single path gate with two closing hooks. The reservoir is visable through the trees.

Although there is no direct access to the water a quick hop on to the dam to take in the view we think is OK? But we didn't tell you?

rutted hoof prints Because Pond Head is a riding stable this section can become a little rutted with hoof prints but not for long as one path becomes two, separating walkers from riders. A metal gate takes the route onto a grass field. The short climb up to the left of the house indicates a footpath diversion.

This diversion has been in place now for many years. A gate in the hedge provides a zig zag onto an arable field edge up to the entrance to Pond Head Stables. Cross the stile opposite and turn right along another field edge.

The path ends with a swing gate opening into an open grass field containing horses. The path is indistinct here. Take a line diagonally across the field keeping to high ground until a field track appears.

The route continues along the field track keeping Pond Head Reservoir on the right. Another gate takes the route into a field with scrub grass on its edge before it turns into the wood and dips down to cross the River Foss again.

Ordnance Survey Explorer 300 Howardian Hills & Malton

Once out of the wood keep to its edge and take the first path off to the right signed Well Lane ½ mile and Brandsby 2½ miles up the slope of the field.

Over the brow the path gently descends to the field edge. Take the gap through the hedge and head for the track between a new coppice and the field edge. At the end of the coppice turn right along a another field track towards a double field gate. Continue on the track up to Well Lane.

Coxwold Husthwaite Oulston Yearsley Brandsby Skewsby Coulton Hovingham Terrington Bulmer Welburn Kirkham

Yearsley to Brandsby 2.5km / 1.6 miles approx walking time 30mins

Yearsley Brandsby map 

Turn right along Well Lane and shortly cross over and enter the field opposite. The path runs parrallel to the right side fence towards a duck board across the mud to what is possibly a redundant gate. Continue along the field edge to the next gate and turn right down to another gate after which the path turns left.

steep descent The path rises slightly before a steep descent on the edge of Peel Wood. This could prove difficult in wet weather

Close to the bottom of the slope is a waymark sign at the entrance to Peel Wood. The Howardian Way takes the path towards Cherry Hill 1 mile. The path flattens out into a damp valley bottom. The broom in blossom is supberbly heady in the flowering season in this valley.

wet! The path crosses a wide stream that has created a deep bog for approximately 5 metres. It can be very wet and unavoidable!

Continue along the edge of Peel Wood and follow the waymark signs and not the map as the path has been redirected beyond this point.

When the path reaches the three directional post the Howardian Way turns diagonally down the field to a swing gate and then follows the lower edge of the next field along the side of the stream until it reaches a footbridge. Cross the stream and turn left along the field edge and ascend the gradual slope up to Cherry Hill.

Turn left to the main road and head for another swing gate in the corner. Cross the field, descend to a small wood, cross another footbridge and shortly exit the wood into another field. Keep as much as you can to the left of the field up to the main road in Bransby.

Coxwold Husthwaite Oulston Yearsley Brandsby Skewsby Coulton Hovingham Terrington Bulmer Welburn KirkhamBrandsby Skewsby map

Brandsby to Skewsby 4.4km / 2.7 miles approx walking time 1hr

The walk utilises the minor road to the right all the way to the turn for Snargate Farm.

All Saints Church

Pick up and follow the footpath to Stearsby. Enter the small hamlet and turn right. The road turns into a track heading to a wood in the near distance.

The route leaves the farm track at the corner of the wood continuing on a woodland track for a short distance before rejoining the farm track again. I don't know why it leaves the farm track for such a short distance? The lake appears in the wood to the right.

At the end of the field the path turns slightly to the right before going left, down, over a wooden footbridge and up into the field on the other side. Head for the righthand side of the single tree in the field.

In front of you to the left is a false friend in the form of a gate in the fence! This is not for the footpath! Instead look to the rightow look directly below this house and you will see another gate. This is the one! Once at the gate you will see the duck board ahead that crosses the stream and up the opposite bank.

The path is indestinct from here going slightly left and up the hill. Once over the crest you can see another field gate. Head for and go through it, then turn right and follow the track along field edge. It curves left and up to the right of the bungalow and enters the village of Skewsby.

Walk right through the village to a T ish junction at the end and turn left. Continue up this road passing the very small dairy on the left before turning at the footpath sign into Brow Wood.

Coxwold Husthwaite Oulston Yearsley Brandsby Skewsby Coulton Hovingham Terrington Bulmer Welburn KirkhamSkewsby Coulton map

Skewsby to Coulton 5km / 3.2 miles approx walking time 1hr 15mins

The path from the road doesn't look to inviting. Enter Brow Wood following the initial wide track before shortly taking a less distinct path to the right. The path gradually slopes upward through the wood and is marked by faded yellow markers on trees as you go.

Further up and into the wood the path weaves in and out between the trees before finally exiting onto open fields and directly turning right along the wood edge. At the corner of the wood strike out over the field to the lane ahead.

Turn left and soon before your very eyes you will see the "City of Troy" an ancient maze cut into the grass verge on the right hand side.

Leave the road by way of the bridleway to the right towards the western corner of the Great Plantation. Turn left down the green lane into Mug Dale and into a small area within the Howardian Hills hidden away and rarely visited by the walker. There are some pleasent suprises.

At the end of the green lane you are funnelled into the wood. Carry on straight although you may be tempted by the path off to the right. As you descend further into the dale a series of round willow enlousures start to appear on the right hand side. They catch your eye and draw it towards water at the top end of Randale Bog.

The path becomes a track again going left along the bottom of Mugdale Wood to join the tarmac road that leads to Potter Hill Farm. Utilise this to cross the stream before heading off into and up through the wood on the left. Do not go up the road. Climbing through the wood the path passes through an old stone wall before following it up to the top.

The way remains under the canopy on the edge of the wood and on the edge of a steep drop into the valley to the left. There are many Horse Chestnut and Crab Apple trees lining the edge of the wood here. Fairly soon you take a bridlepath off to the right that takes you down to Potter Hill. There are extensive views east from here.

On the approach to Potter Hill Farm there is a sign on the left "Please Slow Down Children and Dogs They Both Bite"! We have seen neither but we did she a fantastic bull with great big horns all made out of willow!!!

Having gone past the ranch the path may be obscured by washing on the line. There is a wooden gate through the fence leading directly down the bank to another gate giving access to the wood. Another steep descent here through the wood to a footbridge across a stream. Turn right here and climb diagonally up the field to a swing gate at the top.

Having passed through the gate go back down into the dip of Swathgill Spring in front of a holiday home and up the other side to another swing gate. The route then takes you alongside a converted barn and onto a tarmac lane. Follow the lane up and around to the left. Do not turn right, it's private and you are being watched from Swathgill!

Pass through the swing gate to the right of the main electronic gate exit and continue to follow the tarmac drive up and around to the left. After passing another lane off to the left there is a footpath signpost a little further on on the right. Take this route through the hedge, cross an electric fence and turn right along a wide track.

This is muddy in wet weather. The soil / mud turns into concrete after a short while. The track is formed from old upturned concrete railway sleepers. This must have been a back breaking job when it was laid! Ignore the OS map and follow the concrete all the way to the edge of Coulton Grange Farm, otherwise you might get electricuted!

At the end of the concrete turn left up to a swing stile on the right. Pass through the stile and head for the right of the oak tree in front of you. Drop down to the stile and road. Turn right and find another swing gate on the left at the very end of the village.

Coxwold Husthwaite Oulston Yearsley Brandsby Skewsby Coulton Hovingham Terrington Bulmer Welburn Kirkham

Coulton to Hovingham 4.6km / 2.9 miles approx walking time 1hr

 Coulton Hovingham map
The Howardian Hills sign showing Hovingham as the destination for the path seems to point in the wrong direction but that's because its showing the paths initial heading. Shortly after entering the field the path joins a field track and curves around to the left and does head downhill towards Hovingham. The route passes through two sets of farm gates.

At the third set there seems to be a choice, either leave the track and walk along the left hand side of the hedge (not recommended if you have a dog) or go through the gates and walk down the right hand side of the hedge. Both routes meet further down with the left joining the right to continue down across open field to a fence. Turn right up to a gate or stile, your choice again.

Head down through marsh grass to the left of the pond and cross the footbridge in front of you. The path becomes a little boggy under foot as it heads towards a second pond.

There are two redundant stiles, the first one obviously redundant, the second less so. Do not attempt to cross the second as you will get wet. Continue on to the third metal swing stlye with a short bridge in front of it allowing you to cross the damp patch.

Turn right walking over more damp ground to the next gate. Here you will meet Oscar and Silver. I'll let you guess which is which! Cross the field to pass through the gate opposite and turn left over onto the lane and cross the bridge. Take the path to the right and follow the stream to your right.

Cross the footbridge and head between Horse Coppice on the left and Mill Wood on the right joining a green track that leads to a country road. If the permissable path is permissable cross the road, go over the stile and turn left. If it is not turn right along the road until you reach a footpath sign on the left.

Take the footpath to the left into Hovingham Park crossing the stone bridge and take in the view of Hovingham Hall. The track goes up the hill and through a field gate. Follow the fence on the right down to a stile in the corner of the field.

The path then follows a line of newly planted trees taking you east past Home Farm and into Hovingham itself. There is a bakery and tea room, a general store, The Malt Shoval and The Worsley Arms Hotel.

Coxwold Husthwaite Oulston Yearsley Brandsby Skewsby Coulton Hovingham Terrington Bulmer Welburn Kirkham

Hovingham to Terrington 5.5km / 3.4miles approx walking time 1hr 20mins

The Howardian Way now joins with the Ebor Way and leaves the village by way of the Terrington Road. A clear sign indicates the route off to the left along a green lane and as the walk climbs gradually out of the village vista open up in every direction.

The track continues into the South Wood (note the three cast iron fence posts and one fence tree stump on the right) At the track junction take the route signed Ebor Way Terrington. The track dips down and bends around to the left.

The route continues to be marked with small sign posts with two arrows passing the first four tracks off to the left. The fourth track is where the Centenary Way joins the Howardian and Ebor Ways. If the dead tree trunk is still there make a slight detour down the Centenary Way to have a look at the horse shoe fungi growing out of it.

At the next junction take the track with the steepest descent towards Hollin Hill Bogs. At the bottom of the descent you leave the private wood through a swing gate and head directly across the valley bottom to a complimentry gate opposite. The going is very wet the closer you get to the opposite gate. Once through the gate the path turns left and curves around the field edge before entering the lower section of Hollin Hill Plantation.

It is wet and muddy in Hollin Hill Wood and it is not helped by the path running along the side of the stream. Just plod on and the path passes an old reservoir to the right before leaving the wood and curving around to the right up to a junction of paths.

The Howardian Way leaves the Ebor and Centenary Way at this point to follow a path south across shaggy grassland before a gradual ascent to the left side of the field up to the west of Howthorpe Farm between it and the tumuli close by. Go through the footpath gate then turn right following the fence to the next field before entering the next field and dropping down diagonally to Wath Beck. The next section can be difficult in wet weather as the route has bog to contend with before crossing the Wath by a dog leg footbridge. Take the exit to the left. Do not go through the first gate! Continue over marshy ground to the side of the beck before reaching another bridge crossing Sawmill Beck. Through the gate the path ascends diagonally across the field to the far corner where it joins a green lane to the top of North Carr Hill at a dizzy height of 66m. 

The green lane is followed down the hill with a left right zig zag and up to a 90° right hand turn marked by a broken reinforced concrete post. The path continues straight on up the slope towards the village of Terrington.

Terrington Prep School playing fields are crossed before the Ebor and Centenary Way join again from the left and the path enters an enclosed route up into Terrington. The church is on the left hand side as you descend to the main road. There is a Centenary Way sign on the left at the bottom of the slope. Opposite to the right is Mowthorpe Lane.

For local information about Terrington please visit their village website here

Coxwold Husthwaite Oulston Yearsley Brandsby Skewsby Coulton Hovingham Terrington Bulmer Welburn Kirkham

Terrington to Bulmer 4.4km / 2.7 miles approx walking time 1hr

From behind the Post Office in Terrington the Howardian Way utilises Mowthorpe Lane a tarmac no through road. The Ebor Way leaves the lane off to the right about ½ mile out of the village but both the Howardian Way and the Centenary Way  continue for the whole of its length. The lane curves around to the left and drops down to Low Mowthorpe Farm.

Follow the road to the right just before the farmhouse. The lane drops to the left whilst the path continues along the top field hedge to a footpath signpost. The Centenary Way turns right here whilst the Howardian Way turns right signposted to Bulmer. The path crosses well groomed grassland as it descends past a series of fishing lakes and a stream to the left to a fairly new foot bridge. Cross the bridge and enter Ox Pasture Wood. The path goes to the left before curving right through the wood. There is a gate to leave the wood but currently no fence is attached to the left hand side so you don't have to use it if you don't want to! 

The path continues to climb. Keep the hedge to the right and you will come to a sizeable gap giving views of nearby High Stittenham and beyond in the far distance sticking out of the flat land the village of Crayke.

The path gently descends to a farm gate. Once through turn left and then right descending along a grass track down the field to a path gate and footbridge across a stream. The path now ascends again up the right hand side of the field between the field hedge and an electric fence to keep the pony at bay! The path joins a farm track up into Bulmer. Turn left.

Utilise the tarmac path through the village, passing the church on the right hand side.

Coxwold Husthwaite Oulston Yearsley Brandsby Skewsby Coulton Hovingham Terrington Bulmer Welburn Kirkham

Bulmer to Welburn 5.4km / 3.4 miles approx walking time 1hr 15mins

The road bends to the left and then right. Take the minor road off to the left signposted Brandrith Wood. Just beyond the telgraph pole the route crosses a small green to a gate take takes you right along a high wooden fence to another gate into a grass field. Keep left to the next large field gate. The first one is "Private"!! Please note the gate may not be there! Cross directly across this field to a swing gate opposite. Go through and turn right onto a well defined edge of field path that takes you to a road. Turn left and then after a short distance cross the road and take the path signed again for Brandrith Wood. Note the path goes to the left of the hedge.

Its probably easier to turn left before the road and walk along the fence edge rather than the road. Go up to and through the Temperance Inn arch taking great care of the traffic through this narrowing route. Beware you are being watched from the first floor window to the left! Note the disused Victorian postbox in the wall under the arch, closed for your Health and Satety. Turn right along the private road.

Continue along this road passing Castle Howard on the left, The Pyramid on the right and the Mausoleum ahead.

There is a crossroads of paths where the Howardian Way meets the Centenary Way again. Do not continue on the Centenary Way, instead take the righthand path and slowing ascend to East moor Banks. Just after entering the wood the Howardian Way again leaves the Centenary Way to drop further into the wood. 

On occassions the path divides between horse and foot. This is especially nescessary in wet weather when the horse route becomes very muddy. In the spring the woods are carpeted with a mass of bluebells.


green lane towards Welburn

After crossing Moorhouse Beck the path leaves the wood and gently slopes across fields on a green track. Cross a bridlepath running left to right and continue to head up into Welburn. The track becomes tarmac, dips to cross a small unnamed stream before entering the east end of Welburn.

For local information about Welburn please visit their village website here

Coxwold Husthwaite Oulston Yearsley Brandsby Skewsby Coulton Hovingham Terrington Bulmer Welburn Kirkham

Welburn to Kirkham Priory 3.0km / 1.9 miles approx walking time 40mins

The route goes directly across the road through the village, passing the church and up into open fields again. The path affords extensive views north towards Castle Howard.

The path meets a track at the top of the slope. Tkae the track through two majestic stone pillars into Bank Wood. On leaving the wood the track straightens out and becomes Whitwell Road. The road again goes between pillars as it opens out to the A64 trunk road. Be very careful in crossing this road, especially on summer weekends and bank holidays as this is the main route to the North Yorkshire coast.

Follow Shepardfields Lane opposite and just beyond Bellmire House take the footpath to the left to descend into the valley of the River Derwent and turning right join the Centenary Way again to the road. Turn left and cross the level crossing and Kirkham Bridge to the gates of the remains of Kirkham Priory.

gates to Kirkham Abbey

The Howardian Way ends here.

Coxwold Husthwaite Oulston Yearsley Brandsby Skewsby Coulton Hovingham Terrington Bulmer Welburn Kirkham