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Nunnington : wildflowers and wonderful views
4:15pm Thursday 5th July 2007 in Village profiles
ALTHOUGH Nunnington falls just outside the National Park, it is still a gem of a village and well worth a walk on a fine day.
There is a delightful route, partly along the river, of less than five miles, around the village, with lovely views of the Howardian Hills to the south and the moors in the north. Allow about two hours to enjoy this walk, discover the wild flowers and savour the view.
From the parking area head east, passing a small copse on the track along the top of Caulkleys Bank. Shortly after passing a trig point make a long gradual decent leading to a crossing track. Turn left and immediately right to Caulkleys Lane to another lane at the bottom, left to a junction and then right to a sign for Welburn and Kirkbymoorside.
Continue down past West Ness Farm towards Ness Bridge.
Among the many wild flowers some more rare ones to look for, starting at Caulkleys Bank about July time you will find the pretty yellow rockrose along with wild thyme nestled in the short grass with perhaps a solitary nodding harebell or two. Further on your walk you will also discover lady's bedstraw, a decoction of which is reputed to ease the feet of weary walkers!
Peeping out from the taller plants along the bank will be the odd goats-beard or Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon, with its big yellow dandelion type flower heads, which only fully open on a sunny morning, though the 'clock' is stunning too. An odd patch of hawkbit hides in the grass between the tread of many feet. Dog roses adorn the hedgerows en-masse and the vibrant red field poppies thrive at the edge of the feathery crops along the river. Pink himalayan balsam grows along the riverbank. This has become a pest in some places but it is still a pretty plant to look at and the seedpods when squeezed can be quite disconcerting.
Refreshments can be found at the Royal Oak public house in the village and Nunnington Studio courtyard café and coffee shop, which specialises in Fairtrade brands and excellent home cooking (take your own wine). The little craft and workshops around the courtyard are worth a visit. Nunnington Hall offers a tearoom and you may catch a glimpse of their peacocks too. The 17th century hall, complete with wicked stepmother ghost, has in the attic the famous Carlisle collection of 22 miniature rooms furnished and decorated in the styles of different periods ranging from Palladian to Adam, including a miniature carpenters shop to make the tiny furniture, along with tiny tools and even sandpaper. They also hold some summer concerts.
To finish the walk do not cross the bridge but turn left into the field immediately before it and continue upstream by the River Rye along the edge of successive fields. After passing through a small gate there should be a stile on the right. Once over continue a short distance outside the field boundary to a second stile. After climbing this, walk ahead, cutting off a bend in the river, to the far right-hand corner of the enclosure, climb a third stile, ignoring the gate and walk towards Mill Farm. After leaving the field continue through the farmyard, past a mill to stile number four on the right of the farmhouse. Follow the millrace to another stile by the weir before bearing left across the next field to a gate on the left of a high wall surrounding the National Trust's Nunnington Hall.
Continue beside the grounds, leaving the field by stile after an estate cottage. Left should bring you to a lane.
After a right turn you should see the bridge in front of the hall and a left turn brings you into the village. Pass the Royal Oak (or pop in) and look out for a junction beside the 13th century church of All Saints' and St James.
A bridleway rises across the fields. On reaching the crest, turn left beside a row of young Scots pine and you will be back at the parking bay.
You should come across at least two art/craft shops in the village but many places are closed on Monday so check first.