Donnington – York Minster (approx 11 Miles)
Our B&B, 5th Milestone cottage, was exactly 5 miles from the Minster in York. Our route would be slightly more circuitous, heading South over the fields then following the rive Ouse into the City.
We set off, for the second day in a row, in bright sunlight, walking back down the busy road to the point at which we had left the Minster Way.
Reaching the path, it took a good 5 minutes for a gap in the traffic to appear allowing us to scamper across the road and be on our way.
Soon the intrusive noise of the road was left behind and we were wandering along farm tracks, green lanes and woodland edges.
We passed through an unusual thin strip of woodland that only seems to have survived due to the track that runs through it.
There were a large number of footprints in the snow, suggesting that this was a popular walking route, but in the end we only passed two dog walkers with a young dog that seemed to take exception to us.
Soon the track gave way to road, and we spent a mile or so slipping and sliding along what was a long straight skating rink.
At the end of the road a footpath took us across a SSSI, an open area that was rich in birdlife – although none of it was making an appearance today! The area was very open, and the intense sunlight was warm on the back – you could have walked in a t-shirt. We were thankful for the hard frost though as the path plunged through a wet area that was negotiated with relative ease. Without the frost a snorkel would have been the order of the day.
From here, we skirted a golf course as we reached the outskirts of York, and made use of a bench close to the path. As we sat, it started snowing gently, the sun having passed behind the cloud that had seemingly been hanging over York.
We set off again, now much colder than we had been 10 minutes previously, enjoying watching the waxwings flitting along a hedgerow. They were completely unfazed by our presence!
We reached the by-pass, another unwelcome intrusion, and eventually passed over the top.
The path then found its way to the Ouse, which flowed steadily passed with its murky brown water. A strange set of moorings was passed, looking like there were residential boats here.
A small ancient church was passed, looking like it was now a residential property, and suddenly we were walking through parkland towards the City Centre. The Blue Bridge was passed, where two cannons once stood having been captured in the Crimea. Unfortunately they were melted down for metal during WWII.
As we approached the centre, we stopped for a quick celebratory pint at the Kings Arms on the waterfront. A Samuel Smith’s Pub I was amazed to be charged on £3.70 for two pints of bitter. They weren’t half bad either. From there it was only a mater of 500m or so to the Minster (a walk up the shambles was quite apt), to take the now traditional finishing photos.
We paid to wander round the building (tickets are valid for 12 months) before heading to our hostel (the ACE) at the Micklegate. The welcome wasn’t great, and the room was like a freezer – the shower was luke warm at best. We got changed and went to find some food in the city – this turned into a bit of a pub crawl, (Theakstons Old Peculiar on tap a particular beer highlight) with us ending up in the Old White Swan (or “Mucky Duck” as the locals call it). We had a fine meal there, but to top it all off was a cracking jazz band that filled the place, rounding off a very enjoyable walk!
Day Rating 6/10
A very enjoyable start to the day was tempered by a lot of road walking, and the disappointing river walk along the Ouse. Still, another enjoyable days walk, and York is a very interesting city to wander through with a grand finale at the Minster.
Trail Rating 31/40 (78%)
I have added an extra couple of marks for Beverley and York. These are two places that are well worth visiting, especially the Minsters which are exceedingly impressive buildings.
There was really only one day of spectacular walking on this route, and it certainly delivered in the snow. It was difficult to be objective about our first days walk – the snow dealt with that. The Minster Way is a fine walk, the early stages are purely functional, but it soon turns into a very enjoyable ramble through the countryside. A mix of fields, green lanes and quite country roads is a nice mix, along with many very pretty little villages and towns. The walk along the Derwent from Stamford Bridge provides a nice contrast to the rest of the walk and there is always a fine sense of achievement when reaching a finishing point as impressive as York Minster!
Thoroughly enjoyable walking through Yorkshire, ample hospitality wherever we stopped and no real “bad” bits to the walk I would recommend this as a fine, and fairly easy, introduction to Long Distance Walking. It is a fine trail with much to enjoy!