THERE'S something oddly timeless about this lovely photograph of New Walk, beside the River Ouse off Fishergate. It was actually taken on November 21, 1981 - but you feel it could almost have been taken at any time in the last 100 years or so.

Perhaps that's because of the elegant nature of the walk itself, which hasn't changed that much in almost 300 years.

The 'new' walk was constructed as a promenade for York's wealthy Georgian elite in 1730 - a place where they could parade up and down in their finery, seeing and being seen. Bordered originally by lime and elm trees, it proved so popular that by the end of the decade the original 480 yard walk had been extended by a further three quarters of a mile south of the river, according to the History of York website.

In 1754 the York Courant commented that New Walk 'may be justly esteemed one of the most agreeable public walks in the Kingdom for its great neatness, beautiful town and situation which is ...not unlike nor inferior to any of the views in Venice'.

In 1824 many of the original trees were replaced by new trees, and in the early 2000s the grassy banks were cut with channels to aid drainage, and planted with a variety of flood-resistant wildflowers. But otherwise the beautiful walk remains largely as it was when the Georgians first built it...

Stephen Lewis