A MIXED bag of a walk of considerable interest. Enjoy a ruined abbey, an immaculate conservation village, plenty of walking along a river and through woods and some excellent views towards the Howardian Hills. Always interesting.

Start the walk with a visit to the Augustian Priory at Kirkham. English Heritage is responsible for its preservation, with the impressive Gatehouse the best preserved feature. I’ve always been interested to know the difference between a priory and an abbey. Looking at the ruins there is no discernible difference. Apparently it is simply that a priory is run by a less important person (a prior not an abbot!) and is likely to be in a more remote setting. The setting is certainly fabulous and the temptation is to linger.

The walking starts by heading east up the road following signs for the Centenary Way. After half a mile turn left in to the small village of Firby before continuing east on a good footpath to arrive at the banks of the River Derwent. Follow the river for a further half mile until it meets the smaller Howl Beck. There’s no direct crossing but follow the path back to the road, turn left and almost immediately left again, returning along a quiet country lane to the river and a suspension bridge crossing the River Derwent.

The footbridge will take you in a lovely settlement called Huttons Ambo; confusing because Huttons Ambo does not exist but is the name used for the amalgamation of two separate villages; Low Hutton and High Hutton. Low Hutton is the largest of the two but High Hutton is more attractive with a fine village church.

Take the minor road from Low to High Hutton. At a sharp right turn in the village take the path that continues straight on then left until it meets a lane. Turn right and head for the A64. Take care crossing the A64 here and join a lane on the north side of the road roughly 100 metres on your left.

At a farmhouse quarter of of a mile along the lane head west downhill through pretty woodland. Climb uphill to re-join the Centenary Way. The views are excellent in all directions and worth the road crossing. After a short climb through woodland join the Centenary Way. Follow the path south to re-cross the A64 and head to the preserved private village of Crambeck. Immaculately maintained, the village is worth exploring. A nature trail leaves the village (still following the Centenary Way) along a footpath above the western banks of the River Derwent. The woods are peaceful and the walking pleasant until the path drops to the railway (York/Scarborough line) and follows the river to the road bridge at Kirkham Priory. It is roughly one mile through the woods which makes for a pleasant conclusion to a varied walk.

* Under present lockdown circumstances please do not travel to take this walk. Either walk it if you are local or keep the details handy until it is acceptable to do so.

* Fact File:

Distance: Roughly 7.5 miles.

Height to Climb: 210m (690 feet)

Start: SE 736659. There is some free parking (for about 50 vehicles) near the priory.

Difficulty: Medium. The walk is on good paths and country lanes. Take great care crossing the A64, the traffic is travelling quickly.

Refreshments: There is a snack bar at the entrance to the priory and a pub (the Stone Trough) in the village.

Be Prepared:

The route description and sketch map only provide a guide to the walk. You must take out and be able to read a map (O/S Explorer OL26) and in cloudy/misty conditions a compass.

* Jonathan Smith runs Where2walk, a walking company in the Yorkshire Dales. He has written his own book, the Dales 30, which details the highest mountains in the Dales. He also runs one-day navigation courses for beginners and intermediates.

Join his Learn a Skill, Climb a Hill weekends in the Dales. Visit where2walk.co.uk