The route is highlighted on the map below. Measured using the tool at https://wtp2.appspot.com/wheresthepath.htm,
this route is approximately 4.5 km (2.8 miles) with 170 m (560 ft) elevation (the cumulative height climbed). The route shown includes very steep sections within the open access area. These can be avoided by returning along the edge of the woods rather than walking down to the bottom of the vale and up again. The main feature of the walk is the views so it is best done on a clear day.
Visitors to Kirby Underdale are encouraged to park in the village hall car park rather than on the road or verges.
(Unlike the photographs for the other routes, the pictures below have been taken on different occasions through the year.)
1. Leave the village hall car park through the vehicle entrance and follow the track between the village hall and the cottages. Continue up the track and straight on through a farm gate into an unusually narrow field. Where the narrow field opens up, walk up the hill bearing left to follow the track between a hedge and a row of hawthorn trees. Continue up this track until you reach a farm gate with an open access map on the gate post.
Walk up this narrow field and bear left to walk up the hill.
Follow the track up the hill between the hedge and hawthorn trees.
These are close ups of the view looking across to the hill between Painsthorpe and Megdale.. I think there are some nice patterns in the landscape here.
2. Go through the gate. You are now in the South Wold Dale open access area and can walk anywhere that is shaded on the map. However, there are fences within the area so the suggested route takes account of where the gates are. Continue up the track beside a row of magnificent large beech trees. At the top of the field, leave the track and turn left to continue within the field rather than going through the gate. Walk along the top of the field with the trees to your right and a wonderful view of Megdale and beyond to your left.
Looking back down the hill just before entering the open access area.
I love the beech trees whatever the season.
3. Go through the gate in the line of trees which extends down the slope. Continue walking along the top of the field.
4. The next gate, in a second line of trees, is slightly lower down the hill. Walk down to this and through the gate. Once through the gate, make your way back up to the top of the field, following the worn route for easier ground. The path at the top of the field takes you through two further gates and round the top of the vale until you are looking back to where you came from and across the Vale of York. At this point you could admire the view and then walk back the way you came. If you are not averse to a steep descent followed by a more gradual ascent, make your way down the slope.
Go through the gate and then back up to the top of the field.
Looking down from the top of the field towards Kirby Underdale.
Above. This picture illustrates the steepness of the slopes at the head of Megdale. The walk so far has brought you round in front of the trees at the top of the field. The slopes can be avoided by walking back the way you came.
Right. Looking down across the lower part of the open access area towards the pond, from the head of Megdale.
5. At the time of writing (2021), the fence at the bottom of the slope had fallen over so it was easy to cross into the next field at any point. Continue walking along the bottom of the vale, towards a pond. Walk around the pond with the water on your right.
6. Go through the gate just beyond the pond. If you continued straight ahead you would get to a field that is not open access so make your way up the hill to go back through the gates you passed through at points 4 and 3. Once back in the final open access field you can either return around the top or climb down and up again to leave through the gate at point 2. Continue back down the track to Kirby Underdale.
Route 6 Map
For a printable pdf of the map, click here.