WALKERS are getting ready to put their best feet forward for the annual British Heart Foundation (BHF) walk, backed by the Gazette & Herald.

Every September, fundraisers head out to enjoy some of Ryedale's beautiful countryside, at the same time raising funds for this worthy charity.

This year's walk takes place on Tuesday, September 13, and it starts and finishes at The Jolly Farmer's in Leavening. There will be a choice of two walks, and drinks will be available at the pub, plus food if booked in advance.

The instructions cover both a long and short walks, which share common first and final legs. The long walk is about eight miles and the short version is about five miles.

Common first leg

Leave the Jolly Farmers down the hill (York Road) towards the edge of the village. At the 30mph limit sign there is a gateway on the right with a footpath sign. Use the smaller kissing gate and go up the grass track beside the hedge, leaving the paddocks on your right. Pass through a couple more kissing gates on your way to the crest, where you should pause to enjoy the view behind you.

Continue to follow the hedge line to the corner of the copse. Enter the wood and follow its left boundary until you emerge into a small field at the back of High Penhowe Farm, which you will circle on a path around its perimeter.

Cross the field and head for the stile in the hedge that is about 20 yards to the left of the obvious gate. Cross the stile, then turn left towards another stile at the end of the wire fence, which you cross and then turn right along the line of the fence, with the farm on your right.

When you reach the next corner, turn right again to follow the fence to the hedge line. Turn left and follow this hedge until you reach a small gate set in the corner among some trees; there is a footpath sign indicating the direction of travel.

Pass through the gate into the paddock behind Low Penhowe Farm, and then head for the gate in the right hand corner. Follow the drive down the slope to the T-junction with the lane, where you turn right.

As you broach the crest by Aldmoor Farm, the belltower of Burythorpe church will come into view on the skyline. After about 800 yards you will reach the junction with the Leavening to Malton road. Turn left, then after 30 yards, turn right on the footpath in the opening by the big ash tree.

Follow the path along the edge of the field towards the church. At the corner of the field bear right up the slope. At the top the path leads along the boundary of the churchyard to a kissing gate. From here you go down the lane to the cross roads at the centre of Burythorpe.

Short walk

Turn right and follow the main street to the sharp bend just after the red telephone box. Here you turn left down the farm track, crossing a small stream on a concrete footway on the left side and passing through a large steel gate into open fields. Follow the track for about 300 yards until its splits at a Y-junction beside a very prominent bent ash tree.

Bear left through the steel gate (the securing rope is easier to slide up the gatepost if you move it as far as possible up the gate brace). Follow the farm track up the valley, noting the Norman defence works to right and left as you head up the slope to Mount Ferrant Farm.

When you reach the large concrete silage clamp there is a gap in the wire fence on the right side that leads onto a track across the rough meadow and up the slope towards the ridge. Turn right onto this track and join the final common leg of the walk described below.

Long walk

In Burythorpe go straight across the crossroads following the lane signposted to Birdsall.

Follow the lane down into the dip and up the other side to the second sharp bend on the crest. Turn left on the driveway to the Hermitage and then follow the path to the left of the houses to the point where it bends gently to the left past the site of a large bonfire.

About 30 yards after the fire, you turn right over the ditch into a large open field. The track may not be clearly defined; your point of aim is the left hand end of the long wood visible on your right side. Walk across the field for 400 yards; turn right towards the wood; and then left to follow the wood-edge to the corner at the far end.

In the corner bear right to cut through the last of the trees over 30 yards of boggy ground to a small gate on the far side, which opens onto an area of rough grass. Go straight across, looking for the pole in the fence on the far side that marks the location of a stile over a wire fence. Cross the stile and head across the grass field towards the left side of the wood ahead. Please note that there is usually livestock in this field and act accordingly. Follow the wood edge with the trees on your right until you reach a crest from where you go half left to a gate beside a very prominent large dead tree.

Pass through the gate to join the farm track, which you follow past Birdsall Grange to the junction with the road. Go straight ahead on the road, passing the church on the rise to your right, and follow the perimeter of Birdsall House’s grounds.

After about half a mile the road bends to the right; 300 yards later you come to a junction, with a minor road to the right signposted to Burythorpe. Turn right here, walk past the Manor House and then after 100 yards turn left up the farm road towards Mount Ferrant Farm.

Follow the road over the crest and down towards the farm. As you approach the buildings bear left up the gravel tractor road through the trees and up the slope, keeping the main farmyard to your right. As you pass the tractor graveyard and reach the crest a sloping meadow opens up on your left side, bounded by a wire fence. Opposite the large concrete silage clamp there is a gap in the fence that leads onto a tractor track that heads diagonally across the meadow and up the slope. Turn left through the gap to join the common final leg of the walks.

Common final leg

Please note that from this point onwards the bridleway is very indistinct with just a few irregular markers. As a general guide, keep the ridgeline on your left and the panoramic view on your right. Go through the gap in the fence and follow the tractor track for about 75 yards to the end of a line of trees, just before the track starts to bend round to the right.

From this point cut across the grass making your way obliquely up the slope for about 250 yards aiming for the far corner of the field, which is marked by a couple of larger trees. The gate is by the hedge junction between two trees, and about 100 yards higher up the slope from the tractor track.

From the gate bear half left for about 30 yards and then carry straight on parallel to the ridge, through the grass field between two lines of straggly trees. You will spot the next gate in the open at the far side of the field.

From the gate continue to follow the contour, keeping the hawthorns to your left, towards the next gate, which is at the far left corner where a hedge meets the hawthorns (there is a green public bridleway marker beside the gate). Pass through the gate and go left on the track up the hill for 50 yards to a steel gate leading onto the road. Stop to look back and enjoy the amazing views over the Wolds to Ryedale and the Moors.

On the road turn right and follow it down into Leavening and back to the Jolly Farmers. Please walk on the right side and be aware of traffic.