Introduction to The Minster Way
This 50 mile walk was opened in 1980 and links the two famous Minsters of Beverley and York. Along the route you can look around and admire these two beautiful buildings, which mark the path’s beginning and end. The path is full of historic villages, such as Stamford Bridge and Fulford, where two ancient battles took place in 1066 against the Vikings. Another highlight is the tiny, but stunning, St Ethelburga’s Church at Great Givendale. There are also expansive views of The Vale of York between here and Bishop Wilton, where on a clear you can see several prominent landmarks, including Drax power station, York Minster and The Pennine hills in the distance.
Stage 1- Beverley to North Dalton
The starting point of the Minster Way lay at the gates of Beverley Minster. While admiring the stunning architecture in this town, such as its market cross, and North Bar, be sure to stock up on supplies to get you through this stage of the walk, as there are limited amounts of shops or pubs along this section of the route. Follow the waymarked signs out of the town towards the bypass and the village of Molescroft. The path will then eventually take you past the army base at Leconfield. Until this year it was the home of the RAF Sea King search and rescue helicopter, which is what made the village and army base famous.
The route takes walkers past the Saxon settlements of Arram, Lockington and Scorborough. The parish church of St Leonard’s at the latter is a richly decorated building to discover. Further along a boggy area with small lake, known as “Cawkeld Sinks” is a distinctive feature on this pathway.
Eventually you come to the village of Bainton, which also has a historic church and an original font dating back to Norman Times. North Dalton is a pleasant village, which has a pub and duck pond.
Stage 2: North Dalton to Bishop Wilton
The Minster Way proceeds North out of the village and continues up into the Yorkshire Wolds. The Hawold Bridle Road takes you up into the dales and valleys surrounding the village of Huggate. This is highest settlement in the Wolds at 170 metres above sea level, with one of the deepest wells in the country. Heading south on the footpath, you reach another pleasant village, Millington. Set high up in the Wolds, with views to die for plus a pub and cafe serving delicious homemade country food, it is well worth stopping here a while to take it all in and have a breather.
Continuing on the next place of interest is Great Givendale, which is home to both a scout camp and a tiny, but beautiful church dedicated to St Ethelburga. This was rebuilt in 1849 and incorporates parts of an earlier Norman structure by John Singleton. A short drop takes you to Bishop Wilton, complete with stream running through the centre and pub.
Stage 3- Bishop Wilton- York Minster
The first place of interest after Bishop Wilton is Full Sutton. This is home to some of the country’s most dangerous prisoners; but don’t let this put you off your walk past this institution. As you will see it is very heavily fortified! You can escape to Stamford Bridge on the Minster Way footpath, which was the scene of a battle between the Vikings led by Harald Hadrada and English king, Harold Godwineson. While the English prevailed their leader was to meet his end against very different opposition hundreds of miles South; the Normans at the Battle of Hastings. The battle took place around the bridge, which straddles the River Derwent.
The route takes you along this famous Yorkshire river towards Kexby stray. In the distance you may be able to see the planes of Elvington airfield. A bridge takes you over the very busy A64 into the suburbs of York. Fulford was also the home of a battle in September 1066. This was another skirmish between the English army and the Vikings. Although it has often been overlooked by historians, the Battle of Fulford has some significance to the history of England. Despite beating the Danes, the English army suffered heavy losses, which may have weakened them substantially before taking on the French at the Battle of Hastings.
Via Germany beck and the A19 the Minster Way takes you to the banks of the River Ouse and to Micklegate Bridge. From here look to the skies and head to the gates of York Minster, which marks the finish of the Minster Way.