The 79-mile Yorkshire Wolds Way is seen as one of the gentlest of all England’s National Trails; it’s perhaps the gentlest in the north of England.

Good thing or bad thing? It rather depends on what you’re after. There are no remote, craggy peaks here. But there are many miles of undulating chalk scenery, with fine dry dales alternating with open tops and long views. By and large the Way avoids the Wolds’ larger settlements, not that there are that many, so you’ll have a lot of solitude balanced with an honest Yorkshire welcome in tiny villages.

And don’t underestimate the rigours either. Most of my days on the Way had around 2000ft of ascent, quite enough to catch out the unwary and unfit.

Looking into Camp Dale, on the north of the Yorkshire Wolds Way

See how I walked the Yorkshire Wolds Way

Start and end points are Hessle, just outside the city of Hull, and the coastal town of Filey, or more correctly the cliff-top of Filey Brigg just outside the town. That’s the conventional direction, and the one that I used too. Filey Brigg is also at one end of the Cleveland Way, so the two trails combined would form a nice through walk of nearly 200 miles. Strangely, though, most Cleveland Way walkers walk towards the Brigg, rather than away from it, which seems a little odd to me.

The only town of any substance directly on the way after North Ferriby is Market Weighton, but for those who don’t need its services, or just prefer a bit of peace and quiet, there’s an avoiding loop, which I took.

Summertime in Filey


Hessle and Filey both have train stations, but the only other train station at all close to the Way is Ferriby – hence my easy logistics for the delayed Humber section; all I need was to leave Filey on a morning train, change in Hull for the short ride to Hessle, and pick up the train again at Ferriby. Hessle and Ferriby have trains to Leeds, Doncaster and Hull; Ferriby is one the Scarborough to Hull line, but most trains continue semi-fast to Doncaster.

There’s a long-term plan to rebuild the rail line from York to Hull, which would reinstate services at Pocklington and Market Weighton, but don’t hold your breath. In the meantime, both places have good bus services.

Almost nowhere else has anything like a regular bus service. There’s not even a bus to the start in Hessle, though North Ferriby has a decent service. Towards the end of the walk, in the vicinity of Sherburn, the Way is about a mile away from the busy A64, which has a service from York to Scarborough. Filey has buses to Scarborough and Bridlington.


The Cross Keys pub in Thixendale

Many of the village pubs on or close to the route still have rooms, kept going very largely by the trade in Yorkshire Wolds Way walkers – I used four of them, in Welton, North Newbald, Pocklington and best of all (though none was a dud) Thixendale. Similarly, there are farms and B&Bs for whom walkers are a major source of income – I used one of each, above East Heslerton and in Filey.

Two words of advice for out of season solo walkers like me. It might be worth asking if there’s a better rate at more expensive places, and much of Filey (not the All Seasons) doesn’t seem interested in one-night stays.

Some places will arrange a pick-up service. There are a couple of bunkhouses too, but there is no Youth Hostel remotely close.

The map on the official Yorkshire Wolds Way website is a good way to locate accommodation, but there’s no harm in checking sources like AirBnB or Google Maps for other places too.

I’ve read many accounts of responsible no-trace wild camping on the Yorkshire Wolds Way, and while I’ve not tried it myself, can imagine its pleasures. As always in lowland Britain, the main issue is water supply, a particular issue in a chalkland area. The valleys aren’t called ‘dry valleys’ for no reason. As of 2021, the otherwise-helpful official map shows only one wayside tap, and that in a village with a shop.