This is a circular walk taking in a glimpse of everyday life of old, a small gem of a nature reserve and the Tutt, a tiny, little-known river.
Before or after your walk, be sure to wander up the road past the Old School and call into All Saints Church (1864), noted for its carved cross dating from 950 AD. This is the third church on the site, the first having lasted 700 years – and the second a mere 30.
The full walk inclusive of the extension to Roecliffe is just over five-and-a-half miles (9km) and should take around three
hours at a steady pace.The Staveley Circle is just over three miles (5km) and should take one-and-a-half hours.The Roecliffe extension is two-and-a-half miles in total (4km) and should take one-and-a-half hours.
Park thoughtfully in Staveley village. Start at the walk interpretation panel on the green in front of the Royal Oak pub. Follow the route shown by the turquoise waymarkers.
A level walk on pavements and rough ground, with gates, stiles and narrow footbridges.
OS Map Explorer 299 covers the area.
Buses serve Staveley (www.northyorkstravel.info)
Facing the interpretation panel, turn right and head down Main Street, towards the left fork signposted Minskip. However, you might like to take a very brief detour at that point, heading to the right of the green and, just round the bend, you’ll find a circular, stone-walled structure, the village pinfold.
Pinfolds were used to keep sheep and cattle secure in the days when animals grazed common land. Each owner had a given time allowed for feeding, but if his animals were left too long they were rounded up by the pinder and kept in the pinfold until a fine was paid. There’s evidence of a pinfold by the church in Staveley dating from 1679, although this one stems from 1832 and was renovated in 1986.
Past this point, take the lane on your left between The Bungalow and Hawber’s Close. When you reach the lane’s end, turn right and go through a kissing gate into a willow wood – you are now in Staveley Nature Reserve.
The 40 hectare Yorkshire Wildlife Trust reserve consists of a shallow lagoon edged with reed swamp, fen and flower-rich grassland with scrub and pasture. Birds, butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies abound depending on the time of year. The reserve is also very important for its plantlife including various species of orchid. In late June – early July thousands of common spotted-orchids grow in drier areas.
The path leads through another kissing gate to a view over the lagoon. This one, and others you will pass later, were formed by quarrying for gravel extraction in the past.
As you leave the reserve, you’ll cross a little wooden footbridge over the RiverTutt (a Viking name) which flows into the River Ure at Boroughbridge.
(At this point, with Carr Top Farm on your right, you may choose to take a waymarked detour on a two-and-a-half mile (4km) return trip to Roecliffe, which has its own Ure Walks Through Time route with accompanying leaflet.)
Continuing with the Staveley Circle, a short stroll with the river on your left will bring you to another footbridge – cross here to enjoy a charming view of the West Lake, with the elegant spire of Staveley’s church and the Old Corn Mill, beyond.
With theTutt now on your right, the route takes you over a narrow strip of land between the two lakes, known locally as the Causeway. You’ll then see a remnant of the mill race on your left (the Tutt was diverted to supply the mill) with the Old Corn Mill on your right.
You’ll pass through an attractive private garden – keep an eye out for the owners’ donkeys to the left – where a final stile will see you back in the village and, if you’ve timed it right, the Royal Oak will be open to serve you a welcome drink.