The Myton Loops
This walk of two circular routes, takes in river views, leafy lanes, parkland, farmland, some architectural gems, the mark of the Lords of the Manor and the site of a bloody battle.
Before the walk begins, it will help you to know a little of the Stapyltons, who once ruled the manor of Myton.The family has a history in the area dating back at least as far as the 1600s, but on your walk today you’ll see the legacy of the much later Henry Miles Stapylton – whose initials, HMS, you may like to look out for.
The full walk is six miles (9km) long and should take around three hours at a steady pace.The Country Loop is three miles (5km) and should take one- and-a-half hours. The Battle Loop is two-and-a-half miles and should also take one-and-a-half hours.
Park thoughtfully in Myton village. Start at the walk interpretation panel on the garden wall of The Old Vicarage, opposite the church. Follow the route shown by the red waymarkers. A level walk with stiles. Some of the route is suitable for wheelchairs and
OS Map Explorer 299 covers the area.
Buses serve Boroughbridge (www.northyorkstravel.info)
Facing the panel, turn to your right and follow the main street down towards the River Swale and you’ll catch your first sight of HMS at work: eight cottages just over the road past The Old School which were improved by him in the late 1860s. High on the frontage you’ll spot two Saracen’s heads, part of the crest on the Stapylton coat of arms.
Continue past the old village pump house, built around 1870, and aim for the lane to the bridge.Here you might want to take a slight detour left onto Ox Close Lane for a look through the gates at Old Hall, a fine building with a 1664 date stone over the door.
Returning to the main route, continue to Myton Bridge, built in 1868 and modelled on London’s Westminster Bridge.
To the left you might be able to make out the remains of medieval river bank enforcement, a ferry point and the quays where barges from York once moored up.
Before and after the bridge you’ll find some fascinating information panels. One has more facts about the bridge and the other tells the tale of the Battle of Myton. This bloody affair took place here on 20th September 1319 between Scottish and English armies. Amongst the dead and injured were hundred of monks, their once-white robes torn and bloodstained, which gave this day of slaughter another name: TheWhite Battle.
As the path continues along the flood bank and bridleways around the battle site, you might spot plenty of birdlife, including yellowhammer, skylark and barn owl, as well as roe deer and brown hare. But only the very lucky would catch a glimpse of otter along the Swale.
The route now returns over the bridge and through the village, and it’s well worth taking a few minutes to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of St Mary’s Church – the chancel and nave of which date from the 13th century.
Make your way back past the interpretation panel and head along Moor Lane.On the left you’ll pass Town End Pond, an ancient fish pond. (To shorten your route, turn left at a footpath sign by a gate to join up with Hall Lane.) But, continue up Moor Lane for the main route.
Turn left into Ruff Lane and then left onto Hall Lane and you’ll pass Myton Home Farm,where you’ll see the chimney standing over what was once a boiler used to power a steam engine.
Continuing past Myton Lodge and Keeper’s Cottage – sure signs that you’re on a grand estate – you’ll see Myton Stud Farm across fields to the right, complete with a water tower fed by a distant spring which provided water to Myton Hall.
The Hall itself dates back to the 1630s, but the estate was vastly improved by HMS and his French wife in the 1860s. They introduced model farms, for example, which copied the best and latest agricultural techniques used at Sandringham – Myton Home Farm being one of them.
The male line of the Stapylton family, which no longer owns the Hall, died out in 1931. But you can still enjoy the Stapylton legacy, drinking in the unspoilt views of the park across the ha-ha before you return to the village, your walk complete.