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Visit Ryedale: Malton and St Mary’s Priory

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Visit Ryedale: Malton and St Mary’s Priory
Author: VisitRyedale, Published: 19 Apr 2016 Walk Rating:star1 Visit Ryedale: Malton and St Mary’s Priory Walking Guidestar1 Visit Ryedale: Malton and St Mary’s Priory Walking Guidestar1 Visit Ryedale: Malton and St Mary’s Priory Walking Guidestar0 Visit Ryedale: Malton and St Mary’s Priory Walking Guidestar0 Visit Ryedale: Malton and St Mary’s Priory Walking Guide
North Yorkshire, Ryedale
Walk Type: Town or city
Visit Ryedale: Malton and St Mary’s Priory
Length: 3 miles,  Difficulty: boot Visit Ryedale: Malton and St Mary’s Priory Walking Guide
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CLOSURE NOTICE: The boardwalk in Lady Spring Wood has been removed and the paths are awaiting repair (expected during Spring 2018), meaning this walk is not passable at present.

A 3 mile (5km) easy access circular walk from the market town of Malton in Ryedale. The route explores the town’s market place, a beautiful stretch of the River Derwent and a number of historic sites including St Mary’s Priory, Orchard Fields (the site of an old Roman fort) and the site of the old castle. This walk is part of the Visit Ryedale Collection, published through a collaboration between iFootpath and Ryedale District Council. For more visitor information on the area including events and accommodation, go to

The walk has a few gentle gradients. The majority of the route follows surfaced paths, but there is one stretch of grass path along the River Derwent that is uneven in part and can get muddy and soft in the wetter months. There are no stiles or kissing gates on route and the paths are all generous width. You will need to negotiate a handful of steps as well as a stretch of boardwalk. Taking all this into account it would be possible to take a rugged pushchair around the route during the dry summer months. Allow 2 hours.

There are public toilets in Malton Market Place near waypoint 1. If you are looking for refreshments you will be spoilt for choice with restaurants, pubs and cafes centred around Malton’s Market Place at the start or end of your walk. OS Map: Explorer 300 Howardian Hills and Malton. This walk follows public footpaths and bridleways which cross private and public land. Please respect people’s privacy, keep dogs under control and remember the Countryside Code.

Malton is easily accessed from the A64. The walk starts and finishes on Railway Street, just north of the River Derwent bridge. If you are coming by car, park in the Water Lane pay and display car park which is accessed directly off Railway Street. The fee for up to 6 hours is £4.30 (correct Apr 2016) or half price if you use a Ryedale Parking Smartcard. Approximate post code YO17 7NR. If you are coming by public transport, the bus stops on Railway Street (Railway Street N-bound and Wells Street W-bound) are served by several routes. Alternatively, Malton railway station is only 200 metres from the start point (just south of the river crossing). For help with planning your journey by public transport please visit

Walk Sections

Start to St Michael's Church
Start to St Michael's Church

Start point: 54.1338 lat, -0.7969 long
End point: 54.1352 lat, -0.7992 long

The walk begins on Railway Street, alongside the entrance for Water Lane Car Park and directly opposite the beautiful red brick four-storey Cornmill building. Standing with your back to the car park entrance facing the Cornmill opposite, turn left along the pavement, heading uphill. Stay with this left-hand pavement to reach the T-junction with Yorkersgate. Turn left and then swap to the right-hand pavement as soon as you are able to.

Ignore the first turning on your right (Saville Street), instead keep ahead to pass by the Corn Exchange building on your right, which today houses a shopping arcade and cinema. Built in 1845, it was never used for its intended purpose due to its distance from the cattle market (which you will see later). Instead it was used as a hall for hiring people.

Immediately after the Corn Exchange, turn right up the four shallow steps to join the alleyway, Chancery Lane. The red brick building on your left (with shuttered windows) is the Counting House Museum, formerly the offices of Charles Smithson (a friend of the author Charles Dickens). The building is reputedly the inspiration for the Scrooge’s Counting House Offices in A Christmas Carol.

Continue up the paved Chancery Lane, passing the cinema entrance on your right. You will emerge out into the Market Place, with St Michael’s Church ahead and to your left. Cross over the road ahead and bear left, following the line of the church walls on your right. Turn right to pass the church entrance on your right.

St Michael's Church to Crown Hotel
St Michael's Church to Crown Hotel

Start point: 54.1352 lat, -0.7992 long
End point: 54.1352 lat, -0.7967 long

Keep ahead beyond the church entrance (up the tarmac slope) and cross the road to reach the pavement. Turn right along the pavement and continue just until you draw level with the public toilets on your right. Look ahead at this point and you will see the 16th century Town Hall building, with its clock and small spire. This once housed a market in the lower arches with justice rooms above.

Turn left at this point into The Shambles. This small pedestrian street was traditionally the home of butchers but today it houses a lovely collection of craft and antiques shops. At the top you will emerge into the livestock market place. Livestock markets take place here twice per week, one of the largest livestock markets in the north of England. Walk ahead (passing the permanent livestock pens on your left) and, immediately afterwards, turn right along the left-hand pavement of Spital Street, passing another livestock shed on your left.

Continue down the hill to reach the crossroads with Newbiggin. Turn right and join Wheelgate, one of the town’s main shopping streets. On the right you will pass the former Cross Keys Hotel, built on the site of a hospice and resting place for pilgrims. It has the original crypt of the hospice and it is rumoured that an underground passage links the crypt with St Mary’s Priory (more than a mile away).

Continue along Wheelgate, swapping to the left-hand pavement at the pedestrian crossing. Just before the crossroads you will pass the Crown Hotel on your left, a cream-coloured building which is home to Suddaby’s Brewery, producing Malton Ale.

Crown Hotel to St Mary's Priory
Crown Hotel to St Mary's Priory

Start point: 54.1352 lat, -0.7967 long
End point: 54.1427 lat, -0.7802 long

Continue to the crossroads and turn left into Old Maltongate, immediately swapping to the right-hand pavement using the pedestrian crossing. At a break in the terraced houses on your right, you will get a glimpse of St Leonard’s Church, built in 1150.

Continue along Old Malton Street and, further along, you will come to The Old Lodge on your right (an opportunity for a cream tea should you wish). Built in the early 1600s, this hotel was once part of a larger manor house which was built on the site of the castle. More about that later…

Keep ahead along the pavement for about half a mile, passing Orchard Fields on your right (which we will explore in more detail later) and then the modern Jack Berry House also on your right (a rehabilitation centre for jockeys) to reach Old Malton. Go straight ahead at the mini-roundabout and continue until you reach the main entrance for St Mary’s Priory on your right.

St Mary's Priory to Lady Spring Wood
St Mary's Priory to Lady Spring Wood

Start point: 54.1427 lat, -0.7802 long
End point: 54.1375 lat, -0.7828 long

Turn right through the entrance gates and follow the tarmac drive which swings left to reach the front of the church. Take time to explore the church (which is open daily) should you wish. The Domesday Book recorded a church on this site and the stone fragments displayed inside include part of a pre-conquest cross head. The present church was once part of a larger Gilbertine Priory and, of the 26 original Gilbertine Houses in England, this is the only one still in use as a church.

Follow the tarmac path around the right-hand side of the church and leave the churchyard via the gate within the stone arch on your right. You will emerge to a crossroads with a tarmac track. Cross over the track to go straight ahead and join the signed permissive footpath which heads diagonally across the grass field.

Continue through an old gateway and keep left at the fork to join the grass path running closest to the River Derwent on your left. Stay with this grass riverside path all the way to the far end, pass through another gateway and you will reach the beginning of a boardwalk ahead, at the edge of Lady Spring Wood.

Lady Spring Wood to Orchard Fields
Lady Spring Wood to Orchard Fields

Start point: 54.1375 lat, -0.7828 long
End point: 54.1353 lat, -0.7865 long

Walk straight ahead along the boardwalk (ignoring the footbridge to your right). This pretty section of woodland has a thriving population of wild garlic which perfumes the air during the spring months. The River Derwent is still running on your left and a smaller channel, The Cut, is running on your right.

Soon you will pass the first stone marker on your left which is set with a small mosaic of a marsh marigold. This circular boardwalk actually forms a mosaic trail, with each mosaic depicting an example of the flora and fauna of Lady Spring Wood.

At the end of the boardwalk, keep ahead on the unmade riverside path, passing between two of the old brick pillars that once supported a railway bridge across the river here. (Look out for the trout mosaic set into the right-hand pillar). Immediately beyond the old rail bridge, turn right and follow the unmade path which leads you over The Cut and then up a few shallow steps before becoming a tarmac path which takes you to the corner of Orchard Fields.

Orchard Fields to End
Orchard Fields to End

Start point: 54.1353 lat, -0.7865 long
End point: 54.134 lat, -0.7971 long

This area was once the site of a 22-acre Roman legionary camp and fort. The Roman fort, known as Fort Derventio, was occupied from AD70 to AD300s and previous excavations have revealed a number of artefacts and mosaics.

Walk straight ahead, following the line of trees on your right, the old railway embankment. When you draw level with a gateway on your right, turn left and walk just until you reach the shallow brow of the grass mounds. Turn left to follow the path along the mound ridge (heading back on yourself) and it will lead you to an information board. Pass to the right of the board and tree and then walk ahead (down the slope) to reach a crossroads with another grass path. Turn right along this, heading for the corner of Orchard Field alongside the fire station.

Across to the right you will be able to see the perimeter walls of the castle site. Malton Castle played an important role in history but all that remains today is a few remnants of wall. Originally built following the Norman invasion, by 1608 the castle was replaced by a magnificent house by the Lord Eure of that time. The house passed to two sisters who could not agree on ownership and so a judge ordered the mansion to be demolished with the stones split equally between the sisters. The lodge survived (now the hotel that you passed on the outward leg). The scale of this lodge gives some idea of the scale of the former mansion. Today the walls house a 5-acre public park which you can explore should you wish.

Exit Orchard Fields at the bottom corner by the fire station and bear right to join the road, passing the fire station on your right. At the junction, keep ahead into Castlegate passing beautiful old town houses on the left. You will reach the crossroads within Malton that you should recognise from the outward leg. Turn left into Yorksergate.

To return to the car park, bus stops or rail station, take the first left into Railway Street where your walk began. Alternatively, Malton has plenty on offer to while away the rest of your day. Turn right along Saville Street to reach Market Place at the centre of the town. In recent times Malton has been making a name for itself as a food town built around its famous local produce and is now home to the award-winning monthly food markets and some of the best food shops in Yorkshire. An eclectic mix of architectural styled shops, pubs, tearooms, restaurants surround the market place while many independent retailers can be found along Wheelgate, Yorkersgate and Castlegate. For more visitor information on the area including events and accommodation, go to

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Check out these resources for your walk

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network Visit Ryedale: Malton and St Mary’s Priory Walking Guide Original GPX source file

Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2016 by iFootpath and the author visitryedale and may not be reproduced without permission.

1 comments for "Visit Ryedale: Malton and St Mary’s Priory"

Walk cannot be completed as the boardwalk has been removed.

ADMIN RESPONSE: Many thanks for letting us know and sorry you couldn't complete the walk. We have checked details online and it seems fundraising has taken place to replace the boardwalk in early 2018. We have put a temporary closure notice on the walk.

By davemarriner on 12 Dec 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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