There’s no two ways about it! England has some of the finest villages you could hope to find, and Hovingham, in North Yorkshire, is a prime example. In summertime it’s the perfect place to amble past old stone cottages, festooned with fabulous hollyhocks, to peer over the church wall.
In reality it was one of those days when summer is reluctant to parade itself for our pleasure, but I was still hopeful. We had passed through the village, on the Helmsley to Malton road, in search of Yorkshire Lavender. No amount of grey sky could dim that glory! Returning the same way, it seemed churlish not to stop the car and explore a little. Keep me company?
Beside the village green, the unusual Grade II listed school draws the eye. Ivy swaddles many of the buildings and colour cascades, at curb and much higher, to combat the grey. Locally grown tomatoes advertise their presence alongside fresh eggs. A breakfast here must be a total pleasure. I wonder what the gents at the cafe had.
Set back behind the main road stands magnificent Hovingham Hall. This Grade 1 listed Palladian style mansion was designed and built by Thomas Worsley between 1750 and 1770. The house is only opened to the public between 1st and 28th June each year, and I was sorry to have missed it. Entrance is unique in being through the former riding school, where George III was taught to ride. In front of the house, the oldest privately owned cricket pitch in England. I snuck as close as I dared for a look.
Over the garden wall I could see the Saxon tower of the parish church, All Saints. The name Hovingham has an interesting derivation, combining a ‘place of graves’ with a settlement in a ‘meadow near a river’. No sign of the river, but I could see some graves.
I was pleased to find that the church door was unlocked. Quiet reverence inside, an unusual font and beautifully carved organ pipes, lots of kneelers and some exquisite stained glass. Was there a significance to the dragon?
Crossing back towards the village green, my eyes lit up at the sight of a rocking horse, waiting impatiently at the window for its owner to return.
In a corner of the green, another church, very different in character. Methodist, with a ‘welcome’ sign on the door, I couldn’t spurn the invitation.
This village is full of surprises. Quite suddenly I came upon a ford, crossing Marr’s Beck and leading to the elusive River Rye. A neat little cafe and bakery sits alongside. The locals, undetered that it was closed, had brought a picnic to their favoured spot.
As if in celebration, just then the sun contrived to make an appearance, transforming the old stone and setting the hollyhocks nodding.
Isn’t England bonny in the Summer? I walked the length of the beck, beside the cottages and back to the main street.
How better to finish than with a bee, rolling in ecstasy? I hope you enjoyed our wander today.
It was touch and go this week, a router problem knocking the Internet out for countless hours, but I made it! Many thanks to all of you who’ve stuck with me. I had to get the job done so I could showcase these walks, didn’t I? Please take the time to visit them, if you possibly can. Pop the kettle on first? And do join in if you have a walk to share. The details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.
First up is Violet, with another attractive bridge for us to cross :
Then a hodge podge of food and stuff from Jackie :
I rather think Lady Lee had a good weekend!
Want to hear a ghost story? Then Drake’s your man!
Kathrin has her own version of scaling the Hollywood heights :
While Ann Christine likes to take it more gently :
And our Meg is wordless, but inimitable :
Where’s Woolly this week? He’s found a very large hole :
We finish with something rather unusual, recommended to me by Sheri, a keen walker herself :
Well, not quite finish, because I have to include Carol’s latest. Not totally a walk, but you may recognise someone :
I’m in two minds about next Monday because I shall be traveling to Shropshire (and hopefully meeting up with someone else you know). I do have another walk I’m desperate to share though. I’ll keep you posted. Have a great week!