For the printable PDF of this walk please click HERE
The route is highlighted on the map below. Measured using the tool at https://wtp2.appspot.com/wheresthepath.htm,
this route is approximately 13.1 km (8.1 miles) with 275 m (902 ft) elevation (the cumulative height climbed). I’ve written the route with a long, moderately steep incline after point 10 and a short, very steep down hill section after point 12. The loop can be reversed at point 6 if you prefer a short, very steep incline and a long, moderately steep down hill walk. If you want to see the contours, this part of the walk is on Explorer Map 300. Bugthorpe itself is on 294.
If you prefer a shorter walk without the steep section, you can skip from point 4 to point 20 by turning left at the T-junction (point 4) instead of turning right. The lower loop is a distance of approximately 5.2 km (3.2 miles) with an elevation of 56 m (183 feet).
Start. Leave Bugthorpe village along the road to Kirby Underdale. Go up the small hill and continue walking along the road until you get to a passing place on your left with a footpath sign and small gate. Go through the gate into the field
Leave the road at this footpath sign.
1. Walk down hill to a small gate on the opposite side of the field.
2. Go through the gate and over the bridge. Turn right and walk parallel to the stream along the edge of the field. Continue for two fields.
3. When you have walked along the bottom of the second field, turn uphill and follow the field margin up the hill until you reach a T-junction.
4. At the T-junction, turn right, going through the gap in the hedge. The path follows the hedge, soon bending north and going through a small gate. Continue walking next to the hedge across another two fields. Along this stretch there are nice views up to the edge of the Wolds and across the Vale of York, weather-permitting.
5. When you get to a metal farm gate on your left and a gap in the hedge ahead, go through the gap and turn right along the hedge towards Lower Sleights Farm. After going through a small gate, the path then runs between the field fence and the garden hedge, and then follows the driveway north.
6. A footpath is signed to the right (east) when you get to a pen that looks like it is constructed from dual carriageway barriers. Follow that sign and go through the gate. There is one fence running along the stream to your right, one running straight ahead between two grass fields, and one running up to a wood on your left. Follow the middle fence, keeping to the left (north) of it. This will take you down to a bridge crossing the stream at the bottom of the field.
7. Cross the bridge and head towards the gap in the hedges to your left. The ground here can be quite wet. The path continues up the edge of the field, roughly perpendicular to the stream. The path is not very clear at this point, but if you are going the right way you will reach a small gate and a stile into the next field.
8. Climb over the stile. Continue straight on, with the fence on your left until you get to the top of the field.
Don't forget to look back to enjoy the view as you head up the hill (if it's a nice day!).
9. At the top of the field, turn left through the farm gate. Follow the track around the edge of the wood. The track can be very muddy here. Go through the farm gate into a field and continue following the track until you reach the road. This field is the site of a medieval settlement. The significance of the bumps and ditches in the ground is described on Historic England's website here.
10. At the road, turn left and walk up the hill. There are some magnificent beech trees along the road here. As you get to the top of the hill, the feeling of the landscape changes. The backdrop of the Wolds’ hillside disappears so the view expands. With the Vale of York below, there is a feeling of being on top of our bit of the world. Continue along the road until it bends 90 degrees.
11. Where the road bends, there is a stile straight ahead. Go over the stile and continue straight ahead along the edge of the field. According to the map, the footpath heads down the hill when you reach the end of this field. However, there is a field gate before this with an open access symbol on it, so I usually go through there.
12. Head down the hill. There is no clear path so make your way however you find easiest. You want to end up on a track going through the hawthorn bushes near the stream at the bottom.
13. Find the track through the hawthorn and follow it for a short distance to a farm gate.
This is the track to pick up at the bottom of the hill.
14. Go through the gate and then walk roughly straight across the field. There isn’t a clear path but you don’t want to go up the hill to your left, or closer to the stream to your right, until after you get to some boards and a stile over a muddy ditch. The stile used to be in a hedge line but a lot of hawthorn bushes have been removed from the whole field and, at the time of writing (October 2020), there is a big pile of dead hawthorn but no hedge. I had to walk through the muddy ditch rather than over the stile because it was blocked with bulldozed trees. I used to find this field a delight to walk through when the blossom was out or the berries were ripe. Now it is a low point of the route for me, but there are still some aquatic habitats by the stream which support species not widespread in the area.
Looking towards the boards and stile.
Below: The bridge where you cross the stream.
15. Just beyond the boards and stile there is a small gate onto a bridge over the stream. Go through the gate and over the bridge. Head straight up the hill to a farm gate.
16. Go through the gate and head to the highest point of the field, where you will see a stile.
17. Go over the stile and continue straight, walking along the edge of the field with the hedge on your right, until you get to the bottom.
18. At the bottom of the field, there is a stile onto a track. Go over the stile and turn right to join the road. Continue walking along the road the same general direction as you have been heading. Before long, you reach a cross-roads.
19. At the cross-roads, turn left down the dead-end road. Continue down the road, which is effectively a drive-way for Lower Sleights Farm. For some distance you then re-trace the route you took earlier i.e. Turn right up a path between the field and garden of Lower Sleights Farm, go through the gate, walk up the side of the field and turn left at the top. Continue walking with the hedge on your right until you go through a small gate and the hedge turns 90 degrees to your right. Follow the hedge round until you are very shortly back at the gap in the hedge where you took a right turn at point 4. There are several way markers on a post at this point
20. At the gap in the hedge, instead of turning left where you came from earlier, continue straight on. Follow the well-worn path in the field margin, with the hedge on your right, until you reach a bridge going into a small copse.
21. Go over the bridge and through the copse to join the road. Turn left and follow the road back to Bugthorpe village.
Garlands of (inedible) black bryony berries.
Route 2 Map.
For a printable pdf of a higher resolution map, click here.