Known as the “Windsor of the North” because of its association with royalty and archbishops, Cawood is an attractive village with many historic associations, which you can see on the circular ‘Wolsey Walk’ that takes you around the village and past the impressive Cawood Castle.
Old Road, Cawood, Selby, UK
The Wolsey Walk
Situated on the southern bank of the River Ouse a little over five miles from Selby, Cawood is sometimes known as the “Windsor of the North” because of its association with royalty and archbishops in past centuries.
Today it is an attractive village with many historic associations, which you can see on the circular ‘Wolsey Walk’ that takes you around the village and past the impressive Cawood Castle, believed to be the source of the Humpty Dumpty nursery rhyme.
Wolsey Walk is a circular route, starting from Cawood and has proved to be very popular over the years. Covering approximately five miles in length, it is not strenuous and therefore is idea for family groups. The approximate time for this walk is 2 – 2.5hrs. Several notable landmarks are encompassed on the route.
Terrain: Minor roads, tracks through arable land and a good stretch of riverside paths. Some parts may be muddy at times, so sensible shoes or boots are advised.
Start Point: Old Road, adjacent to the River Ouse near Cawood Swing Bridge.
Walk along Old Road, away from the bridge, noting the remains of a limestone wall on the right, which was possibly part of the Cawood Castle perimeter wall. With a little imagination it would be possible to call this “Humpty Dumpty” wall as it was at Cawood Castle that Cardinal Wolsey “had a great fall” as recorded in the nursery rhyme describing his downfall. He was arrested for high treason in 1530, leaving the castle on November 6th of that year to travel down to London for his trial. However, he died just three weeks later at Leicester Abbey.
Follow the road round to the right, away from the river, to the junction with Thorpe lane. Turn right towards the traffic lights. The 15th century gatehouse of the former Cawood Castle is prominent on the left.
At the traffic lights turn right along High Street and, before reaching the river bridge, turn left along King Street. Pass the 16th century Ferry Inn on the right.
Continue along King Street and take the path between a row of houses and the flood wall until on the right is a brick pumping station. Just past this, go down the steps to the right over the flood bank and on to the riverside.
Turn left (upstream), following the riverbank path. There are two stiles and four footbridges to be crossed before the path reaches the confluence of the two rivers, the Ouse and the Wharfe at Wharfes Mouth.
Retrace the latter section of the path back to the first hedgerow by a large tree stump and turn right towards the banks of the Wharfe. On reaching the bank turn to the left and follow the track for about ½ mile to the B1223, Cawood – Ryther road. Turn left towards Cawood and after approximately ¼ mile turn to the right on a track opposite the Northingales Fish Pond sign.
Passing a cemetery on the left, continue on the track as it turns right and then left before reaching a T-junction with Fostergate Lane. Go to the left along this lane then turn off to the right at the first hedgerow onto a car track. Shortly, turn left to a path which runs between a hedge and a wire fence – this heads towards the western edge of Cawood and emerges onto the Sherburn Road by the Bay Horse Inn. Turn left.
Opposite Moat Cottage, cross a small bridge over Bishop Dyke onto a footpath which skirts the western boundary of the twelve acre Castle Garth on the left. From this path the remains of the banqueting hall and the gatehouse of Cawood Castle may be seen through the trees.
Continue along the tarmac path, passing a school on the right, and through a kissing gate onto a road. Cross this, bearing left to a stile on the other side. Over the stile, take the footpath which leads along the hedgeside to the playing fields. Keep to the left of the playing fields, at the far end of which the route turns left into a snicket leading to a small housing estate. Follow this out in to Wistowgate and look for the footpath across the road between house no’s 15 and 17. Proceed along a raised wall, part of the floodbank.
At the end of the wall turn right and then immediately left along a raised embankment. On reaching a junction, turn right along a cart track (Oxfield Lane) with a ditch on the left. Where the lane finishes bear half left across a field and then cross the next one, heading towards a pylon in the middle of a field. At the field boundary turn left down a track in the area known as “the beavers”, with a hedge to the left and ditch to the right.
Carry on along this track to meet up with Marsh Lane, where our route is to the left for about ½ mile, passing beneath an electric power line. Just before the lane curves round to the west towards Cawood, turn right into Ings Lane. Proceed along this lane, passing under the powerline, and immediately after a right-hand bend, take a track off to the left. This leads to the river floodbank.
From the floodbank, Kelfield can be seen downstream across the river. Turn left to follow the riverbank path back into Cawood, crossing several stiled and veering away from the river near the church to cross over the flood wall via steps at the west end of the church yard.
The steps by the church bring you out onto Church End. Turn right along the pavement, skirting the flood wall, and shortly leave the road. Pinfold Cottage is on the right.
Continue along what now becomes Water Row, where there are some very attractive water-front houses, includng some which date from the late 18th/early 19th century. Finally the path emerges into Old Road and our walk is completed.
Covering approximately five miles in length, it is not strenuous and therefore is idea for family groups. The approximate time for this walk is 2 – 2.5hrs. Several notable landmarks are encompassed on the route.
Further information can be found in the original Wolsey Walk leaflet.