My GARDEN rain gauge was brimming, so we decided to walk on sand. Our choice was Allerthorpe, in the Vale of York, and a drive of a dozen miles from the city on one-time Roman road.

We left the pleasant village for a farm track through very flat farmlands, then angled on to a slim path through Tank Plantation, which belies its name and is a beautiful little naturalistic birch wood.

This merged in a mile with the pines of Allerthorpe Common. The pines are sturdy 1960s specimens, on a 1950s designated SSSI of rare glacial heathland. The common is also an open access area and part nature reserve.

We took a wide avenue through the middle of and it was very peaceful (bar distant gunfire). A couple walked in the long grass, a lady walked her dog, birch saplings are springing up in open areas. Two years ago, in February, 3,000 massed goldfinches visited, probably from Europe.

We left the pines for a farm track by a hedge red with berries and lively with chaffinches and with unharvested maize on one side and carrots to the other. Oaks lead us to large old brick farm buildings. Here we found a gathering in the sunshine, a pheasant shooters' lunch party, and one of us was offered a bun.

The next field wasn't sporting, isn't a cricket pitch, but a field of turf, weed free and ready for shaving off. Next came a field turned to shrub and tree nursery. The agriculture is unusual here and can be very difficult. A local told us of the 'blow-away soil' and warned of sandstorms.

This hasn't hindered the construction of fine brick nineteenth century manors and halls and so forth, one you glimpse through poplars another is shielded by its garden walls. And that brought us back to the Plough Inn at Allerthorpe, where we looked at the photos of Second World War bombers, thought we could have lunched here, and toasted a very agreeable and effortless amble, easy, flat, sound and with not a gate to open or a stile to climb.

Fact file:

Distance: Four and a half miles

Time: Two to three hours.

General location: Near York.

Start: Allerthorpe.

Right of way: The complete route is along public rights of way.

Date walked: Saturday, November 2, 2002.

Road route: From York, the A1079.

Car parking: Roadside.

Lavatories: None.

Refreshments: The Crown Inn.

Tourist & Public Transport Information: Beverley TIC 01482 867430.

Map: Based on OS Explorer 294 Yorkshire Wolds Central.

Terrain: Flat forest, wood and farmland.

Points of interest: Dragonflies in the summer.

Difficulty: Easy.

Dogs: Suitable.

Weather Forecast: Evening Press and recorded forecast 0891 500 418

Please observe the Country Code and park sensibly. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, walkers set out at their own risk.


When in doubt look at the map. Check your position at each point. Keep straight on unless otherwise directed.

1. From the Plough Inn, down lane beside pub, left to track at corner (signed).

2. Ignore right fork (after passing end of hedge to your right), 50 yards, fork left to path inside edge of wood.

3. Fieldgate into forestry plantation, 100 yards (pass wired up forestry gate), right to path, 50 yards, track.

4. Track swings left at clearing. Ignore side turns.

5. Left to wood edge path 50 yards before forest gate to road. Becomes track. Wet parts can be avoided by parallel path in trees to right. At corner of wood, gap to right of fence, track (hedge to left).

6. Right at tracks T-junction, 200 yards, left immediately after wood at farm to track back to Allerthorpe.

Click here to view a map of the walk

Updated: 10:16 Saturday, November 09, 2002