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Rawcliffe and the River Aire

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Rawcliffe and the River Aire
Author: Claire, Published: 12 May 2014 Walk Rating:star1 Rawcliffe and the River Aire Walking Guidestar1 Rawcliffe and the River Aire Walking Guidestar1 Rawcliffe and the River Aire Walking Guidestar0 Rawcliffe and the River Aire Walking Guidestar0 Rawcliffe and the River Aire Walking Guide
East Yorkshire, Rawcliffe
Walk Type: River or lakeside
Rawcliffe and the River Aire
Length: 4 miles,  Difficulty: boot Rawcliffe and the River Aire Walking Guide
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A 4 mile circular walk from the small village of Rawcliffe in the East Riding of Yorkshire. The route explores some of the village’s history, then follows a pretty stretch of the River Aire before returning to Rawcliffe through the surrounding peaceful farmland.

The walk is relatively flat, the only challenging section being one short steep slope down the side of a grassy embankment. The paths are unmade and so can be fairly muddy after rain and can also be narrow and a little overgrown in places. There are no stiles on route, just a few kissing gates and a couple of narrow footbridges. Whilst most of the paths cross crop fields, the riverside path follows a grass embankment pasture which is likely to be holding a small herd of cattle, so take care with dogs. Approximate time 1.5 to 2 hours.

Rawcliffe is located about 4 miles west of Goole, in the East Riding of Yorkshire. It is situated on the banks of the River Aire, just north of the M62 and on the A614 road. The walk starts from St James’ Church at the centre of the village. There is free roadside parking available along The Green, immediately alongside the church. Approximate post code DN14 8QW.

Walk Sections

Start to Pinfold
Start to Pinfold

Start point: 53.6982 lat, -0.9641 long
End point: 53.7005 lat, -0.9691 long

The walk starts from St James’ Church at the centre of the village. Take a moment to explore the church and its grounds. After the Norman Conquest, much of Rawcliffe was given by William I to the Abbey at Selby, and the Abbot had his summer residence here. He had a small chapel built for his own use and that of the monks. That was the first church to be built on this site. The second was built about 1610 by Judith Boynton, wife of the then squire, at her own expense. The present church was built in 1842 by Hirst and Moffatt of York. The interior still sports the original tall Victorian box-pews. In 1908 a chancel and vestry suite were added together with a side chapel.

Standing on the tarmac path within the church yard facing the spire and clock tower, turn left for a few yards to leave the church yard through the metal kissing gate. Cross over the main road (A614) and take the small lane directly opposite, Chapel Lane. At the end of the lane turn left and follow the riverside village road. You will pass the Jemmy Hirst at the Rose and Crown pub on the left.

This oddly named establishment is derived from a famous eccentric resident of the village, 1738 to 1829. Jemmy Hirst was best known for his strange troop of trained animals. This included Jupiter the bull, who was trained like a horse to pull Jemmy’s carriage, and a group of pigs trained to act as dogs in a fox hunt.

Continue further along the road, past the Royal Oak on the right and, a few paces later on the left, you’ll see an information board alongside the village pinfold.

Pinfold to Field Side Path
Pinfold to Field Side Path

Start point: 53.7005 lat, -0.9691 long
End point: 53.704 lat, -0.982 long

The parish pinfold was in common use from the 1400s as a pound for stray animals. Pinfolds were managed by a Pinder who was responsible for feeding and watering the animals until they were reclaimed for their owners for a fixed charge.

Beyond the pinfold, follow the road as it swings right and then left passing an old derelict barn on the right. Immediately after this turn right onto the short tarmac track. Pass through the gate and then bear left to join the path which runs along the top of the riverside embankment. Pass through the first kissing gate ahead to continue on the grass embankment. Note: you may come across a few cattle grazing this riverside pasture.

Take time to enjoy the views across the surrounding fields. You’ll also have a great view of Drax Power Station, one of the highest generating power stations in Western Europe which provides somewhere around 7% of the UK’s electricity supply.

The path follows the natural curve of the River Aire, swinging right then left and then striking out for a straight section. The River Aire rises in Malham Tarn in North Yorkshire and flows for 71 miles until it empties into the River Ouse. The area further upstream, Airedale, is the regions that gives its name to the Airedale Terrier. At this point the river forms the county boundary between the East Riding of Yorkshire (this bank) and North Yorkshire (the opposite bank).

Now a haven for wildlife, the river was once a busy river for trade. Rawcliffe was an important port and in medieval times wool, food and other merchandise were shipped along the river. In 1415, when King Henry V was planning his expedition to the Battle of Agincourt, one of his fleet of 300 ships came from Rawcliffe, called the Clement of Rawcliffe.

Some way along the straight section of path you’ll pass through an open gateway with a large pond visible down to the left. Ignore the first kissing gate on the left (immediately after the pond), instead continue to the second kissing gate down on the left (which is just before you draw level with a brick pumping station on the opposite bank). Walk down the embankment side to go through this kissing gate.

Field Side Path to Pond
Field Side Path to Pond

Start point: 53.704 lat, -0.982 long
End point: 53.6987 lat, -0.9799 long

Keep ahead on the field-side path with a tall hedge on the right and crop fields to the left. At the end of the first field, follow the path as it swings right and soon the path widens into a grassy track between hedgerows. As you reach the next junction of paths, turn left, continuing on a grassy farm access track.

As you reach a staggered T-junction with a farm gate ahead (and horse paddocks on the left and ahead), bear left and then follow the main track as it swing right. Keep right at the next fork and then right again at the T-junction, following the path along the far side of the horse paddock. At the end of this track pass through the kissing gate and you’ll see a large pond ahead. Note: you are back into the riverside pasture here so you may come across cattle once again.

Pond to Mill Lane
Pond to Mill Lane

Start point: 53.6987 lat, -0.9799 long
End point: 53.6924 lat, -0.975 long

Turn left and follow the fence-line with the pond to the right. Pass through the next kissing gate and continue a few paces further to reach the corner of a large crop field. Turn left and follow the track all the way along until you reach a T-junction with the main road, the A614.

Cross over with care and turn right along the pavement on the opposite side. Just before you reach the signs for the level crossing, turn left into Mill Lane.

Mill Lane to End
Mill Lane to End

Start point: 53.6924 lat, -0.975 long
End point: 53.6983 lat, -0.9643 long

Continue past the pig farm on the left and keep ahead as the lane narrows to a grassy path between hedgerows. About 50 yards before you reach the gates to the rail line ahead, turn left down the signed footpath which leads you over a wooden footbridge and through a kissing gate to each the edge of an open crop field.

Turn right along the edge of the field and follow the right-hand edge of the field as it swings left. In the next field corner, keep straight ahead across the wooden footbridge. Turn right along the field edge and then follow the path as it swings left to become a wider grass track between open crop fields. You should be able to see the church spire in Rawcliffe on the horizon ahead.

Continue under the power lines to reach a T-junction with a surfaced track. Turn right for just a few yards and then take the first left, passing through concrete bollards. Follow the path with a hedge running to the left and follow this as it passes between farm buildings. You will emerge back out to St James’ Church where the walk began.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2014 by iFootpath and the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.

2 Comments for: "Rawcliffe and the River Aire"

We walked in late summer. Not a lot to see. Nice flat so good exercise. It was a Saturday when we arrived at Rawcliffe at the end of the walk and everything was closed and the pubs did not do food. So went home to eat.

By Donnywalker on 29 Sep 2018

Nice flat walk for those who are not keen on hills. Very muddy in places especially on tracks used by farm vehicles. Beware near end of walk (the straight section between two wooden bridges) as sadly Rawcliffe seems to have some very irresponsible dog owners who do not clear up after their hounds.

By Pedagog on 09 Jan 2017

The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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Uploaded: 06 May 2018
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