The Lower Dunsforth Loop
This gentle, circular walk gives you the chance to breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the huge skies and interesting wildlife of this fertile flood plain.
Although there is some evidence of earlier Dunsforth habitation, the first authenticated sign of a community here comes from the Domesday Book of 1087 which notes: ‘In Dunsforth there are three carucates of land. Land for two ploughs and six acres of meadows, the rest is waste. Gamiel held it of the king’. (A carucate is an old English measure of land area, roughly equal to 120 acres.)
Until the middle of the 20th century, employment in the village meant working on farms, or in related trades.Older properties still carry the ‘farm’ name, although very few are now involved in agriculture.
The full walk is two-and-a-half miles (4km) long and should take around an hour at a steady pace. Park in the car park at the rear of The Angler by kind permission of the owner. Start at the walk interpretation panel in front of the inn. Follow the route shown by the orange waymarkers. All fences and hedges have approved gates or two-step stiles with hand supports and dog latches.
OS Map Explorer 299 covers the area.
Walking through the village, you’ll pass The Old Vicarage, St Mary’s Church and The School House, all of which were funded and built as one project between 1860 and 1866.The church houses bells of great antiquity: a tenor believed to date from around 1550 and treble dated 1671.The clock is believed to have been made in York in 1784.
You’ll then turn into Ings Road – ‘ings’ being a common name for land which is regularly flooded – before taking The Millennium Walk down to the River Ure.
The flood defences here were originally built by farmers in 1831 following very high waters.
Walking along the flood bank, known as a levee, you’re ideally placed to appreciate the high, wide skies that typify flood plains.
A wooden cross marks the place where former village resident Eddie Cook passed away, enjoying the view across to theWhite Horse of Kilburn some 12 miles away.
At different times of the year you might catch sight of cormorant, oystercatcher, kingfisher, goosander and other waterfowl. The Ure is rich in coarse fish, mostly roach, perch, dace, pike, eel and chub.
Previous landlords of the Inn operated a ferry service here, recorded as still in operation as late as 1891.A record in the church accounts notes the passage of an armed militia, who may well have required ferry passage. It is believed they were heading north to resist Bonnie Prince Charlie’s rebellion in 1745.
Continue further, over several stiles and through gates to an arable field where, within fifty yards, the walk reaches a track to the left known as River Ure Lane, or Boat Lane. This was the original route to the village for heavy goods like coal and timber which travelled by water – and the path you should take to bring your walk back full circle.