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Country walk at Appleton-le-Moors
ST Mary’s Church at Lastingham is built on the site of an ancient monastery which was founded by St Cedd. The monastery was erected in the year 654 and the original church towards the end of the 11th century.
Inside the church is the crypt where there are many secrets hidden among the stones. When you enter the crypt down the ancient stone steps, it is like descending into a tomb, then, as you reach the bottom of the staircase a clammy, cold atmosphere envelopes you.
All around you will see columns, a pedestals, fragments of crosses and stone carvings which give off an aura of creepiness.
The broken head of the old Ana Cross resides there, but don’t be surprised if you feel a strange sensation if you venture near; it was declared as evil by a visiting witch many years ago.
Bede wrote in the year 731 that “there was an ancient power in the crypt at Lastingham where earlier crimes were perpetrated”.
Many believe today that there is some sort of power there where the spirits of Cedd and his brother Chad still roam the tomb like crypt. Spend some time in the cold atmosphere in the crypt and see what you think.
Across the road from the church is the local pub where the curate was accused of bringing the church into disrepute.
He was accused of keeping a public house and causing disorderly conduct on the premises. The curate, however, was not happy when the archdeacon was instructed to look into the matter and stoutly defended the accusation by telling him a rather fishy tale.
The curate said he caught many fish in the rivers around him and often had a surplus which, as his wife ran the local inn, he fed them to his parishioners who had travelled many miles to hear him preach sending them home joyful and refreshed.
He also played his violin to keep them amused and let them dance if they so wished. Then he sent them on their way having been religiously instructed, fed and entertained.
By the time they arrived home, they would have spent most of their Sunday in the hands of the curate thus avoiding any mischief making on the holy day.
The archdeacon was overwhelmed by the curate’s explanation of the goings on in Lastingham and deemed them to be highly satisfactory, but not before he uttered the comment that his methods of instructing his flock was ingenious but unusual and was different to what other religious establishments performed.
The curate was allowed to preach, feed and ‘fiddle’ with his with his flock at Lastingham for the rest of his days.
Leave Appleton-le-Moors keeping the Moors Inn on your left. Just past the church, turn right signed to Cropton and Rosedale. Walk along this very quiet narrow road as the views unfold in front and to the right of you.
In about a mile, you start to descend at the edge of a wood. Ignore the footpath off to the left and continue descending to the end of the wood. Go left here through a large gate following the public footpath sign and a yellow waymark into a field.
Walk along the edge of the wood which gives welcome shade on a hot day and continue along to the end of the field keeping close to the wood.
Cross a stile into another field to soon exit through a gate still following the yellow waymark.
Shortly, walk diagonally right across the field to join a path at the top of a bank above a stream. Keep walking parallel to the stream now to a reach a stile at the end of the field, cross the stile into a small wood following the obvious footpath to a stone footbridge.
Cross the bridge, then bear right as instructed and follow a muddy path over a broken fence to bear right and soon exit onto the road through a gate.
Bear left at the road and zig-zag your way through the village of Lastingham.
Visit the magnificent church and perhaps have some refreshment at the Blacksmiths Arms, before making your way out of the village, walking on the road between the pub and the church.
After a pleasant short walk, you arrive at a junction, turn left here up the hill signed to Spaunton and Appleton-le-Moors. Near the village sign for Spaunton, at a sharp bend in the road, leave the road to walk straight ahead onto a wide gravely farm track.
Easy walking now with views across to the moors and wolds and eventually you arrive at a crossroad of tracks.
Keep straight ahead here following the sign for public bridleway and Tabular Hills Walk.
This takes you across the middle of a field on a seemingly never ending farm track. However, you exit the field eventually through a small gate to go left at the sign for public footpath and Tabular Hills Walk to soon arrive back at Appleton-le-Moors, go right in the village to return to the Moors Inn for the well-earned refreshment of afternoon tea.
Distance – 5½ miles/9km
Terrain – Easy, mainly flat with one steep hill
Best map – OS Landranger 100 Start/grid ref – Appleton-le- Moors, grid ref 734878
Parking – Street in village
Refreshments – The Moors Inn at Appleton-le-Moors, The Blacksmiths Arms at Lastingham
Stiles – Three in good condition
Public toilets – None