York, Yorkshire, England

York Minster

Circular Walk 4
 Total distance: 2.5 miles
Starting from Piccadily by the Merchant Adventurers Hall this walk takes in a crossing of the River Foss twice and the River Ouse over Skeldergate Bridge going in both directions. Sights you will see along the way include the now rather derelict Airspeed Factory of which Neville Shute was  director, St. Denys Church, Dick Turpin's Gravestone, a section of wall up to Fishergate Postern, the back of the Castle Museum, Baile Hill, another section of walls leading up to Victoria Bar, The Golden Ball pub if you have worked up a thirst, Jacob's Well, Holy Trinity Church, York Brewery, St Martins Church and cobbled lane, the Ackhorne Pub, Lady Ann Middleton's Almshouse, and Clifford's tower before returning back to the starting point in Piccadily.

TIP: In Icy weather the gates to the walls are kept locked. If you have the misfortune to suffer this problem the sections of wall in this walk have a pavement that follows the line of the wall on the outside.

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Time Required :- 75 minutes walking time but you will need to add on at least half that much again to stop and gawk at sights, maybe go in to buildings for a look and take photographs, and fit in comfort breaks.

Merchant Adventurers HallMerchant Adventurers' HallThe walk starts and finishes in Piccadily next to the Merchant Adventurers' Hall. Head south east away from the city centre along Piccadily. The Red Lion  shoud be just in front of you on your left.

Red Lion Former Airspeed FactoryAs you pass the Red Lion you will see a fairly derelict building just in front of you. This is the former Airspeed Aircraft Factory where Neville Shute was a director. Although the building is not very beautiful it played a part in aviation history. Aeroplane parts were made in the factory and then transported out to Sherburn airfield for assembly and testing. At the end of the factory you find a short road heading up to St. Denys Church, well worth a detour for a look round.

St. Denys ChurchSt. Georges Church After your little detour to St. Denys Church continue along Piccadily until you reach Dixon Lane and turn left into the narrow Dixon Lane and then right into George Street.  If you miss Dixon Lane use Mill Street to get to George Street. Keep going along George Street until you come St. Georges Church a fairly typical Voctorian building.  Although the church itself is of little interest the churchyard over the road holds a lot more promise than the hedge enclosed open space might suggest on first glance.

Dick Turpin's GravestoneMorris Men outside boarded up Phoenix pubGo in through the gateway and head towards the back of the open space where you will find the gravestone of the notorious highwayman Dick Turpin who was hanged on the Knavesmire where York Racecourse is now situated. Racing in York more or less started as a sideshow after a hangings.

Continue along George Street until you reach the Phoenix which is situated next to the city walls. Although boarded up at time of writing, it has been bought and plans are afoot for reopening in August 09.  The photo shows the Ebor Morris Men during their City Walls Tour just before doing a dance in the hopes of persuading it to open. I guess the magic worked! Take the right steps onto the wall to proceed in a  clockwise direction along the walls towards Fishergate Postern.

Castle MuseumPosterngate PiccadilyAT the Fishergate Postern cross the road towards Wetherspoons and follow Tower Street over the River Foss by Castle Mills Bridge. As you cross the River Foss you can see the back of the Castle Museum. Continue along Tower Street which turns to the right skirting the edge of the Castle Museum and the Assizes. At the point that you can see Clifford's Tower to the right in front of you, there is a light controlled pedestrian crossing on your left. Use this crossing to cross the road and enter the small piece of parkland that is St. Georges Field.

Skeldergate BridgeSt. Georges FieldCross the park on the diagonal path and take the steps up onto Skeldergate Bridge.  For those with time and an interest in mechanical contivances a small detour under the bridge to the Foss Barrier will prove to be an interesting diversion.

On the bridge cross the River Ouse into Bishopgate Street and turn right into Cromwell Road to gain access to the walls.

Victoria BarBaile Hill entrance to wallsUse steps of the Baile Hill tower to get onto the walls. Follow the wall round to Victoria bar and come down the steps into Victor Street. Victoria Bar was created and named after Queen Victoria in 1838 to allow easier acces for the increasing population of the Nunnery Road area. to the city.

Old ChapelOld VicarageTurn your back to the walls and walk along Victor Street passing the old Chapel converted into flats and the tasteful looking Old Rectory. At the end of Victor Street at the junction of Bishophill is a very pleasant public house called the Golden Ball.

Golden Ball Pub SignFlying Frog OrnamentsAcross the road from the Golden Ball are two items of interest, one is Carr's Lane which runs down to Skeldergate. It is named after the famous archictect John Carr who was responsible for many fine houses in York. The other is the Quaker Graveyard next to the lane. A peaceful garden with seats. If time and religion permits. it is worth popping in for a quick one and a look around.  It is a friendly pub and the decor is quirky, see a sample on the right with the flying frogs. The tiling on the bar is also worth a look.  From the Golden Ball turn to the left and walk along Bishophill Senior  until you come to a five way junction.  Take the non right angle route into Trinity Lane.

Quaker Graveyard

Holy Trinity MicklegateJacob's WellTowards the end of Trinity Lane brings you to an interesting timbered building known as Jacob's Well a building dating back to the 15th century. It is part of the Holy Trinity Church which is just round the corner to the left in Micklegate.

Priory Street cornerTimbered building MicklegateMicklegate is probably notorious for the Micklegate run, a challeng to have a drink in every watering hole along the street.  However it does have some interesting buildings besides the pubs. Here you can see the buildings at the junction with Priory Street and the gem of a timbered building next to it which includes a fish and chip shop if you are hungry!

Micklegate BarYork BreweryContinue up Micklegate until you reach the Sony shop on the right and then turn to the right along Bar Lane and then right again into Toft Green. A short walk along Toft Green you will come to York Brewery. If you have time arrange a tour around the brewery.  From the brewery continue down the hill until you see Barker Lane on your right then turn into the narrow lane and head back to Micklegate where you will see Trinity Lane opposite you. Turn to the left and continue downhill on Micklegate. As you pass the Artful Dodger Bar you come upon St. Martins Lane.

St. Martin's LaneAckhorneSt. Martin's Lane is a small cobbled lane that goes to the Ackhorne pub, pronounced Acorn.  This is another one of the narrow lanes in York and only just wide enough for a car.  The lane takes its name from the now  redundant church of St. Martin. As you exit from the lane, just past the Ackhorne, turn left downhill along Fetter Lane and then turn right into Skeldergate.and first left to the riverside where you will be standing on Kingstaith.looking across the river at the King's Head Pub. It is the one that is always shown when the River Ouse is in flood. Turning to the right downstream is an ironwork gantry that was used for the loading and unloading of boats. Skeldergate used to have several warehouses up to the 1980s when the conversion process started turning them into hotels, apartments and  even training company classrooms.

Lady Ann Middleton'sKingstaith GantryAfter the gantry turn to the right again to take you back to Skeldergate and turn left to follow parallel to the river along the street.  Pass the Cock and Bottle and on your right you come to Lady Ann Middleton's Hotel a former almshouse and hospital founded by the wife of a former sherrif of York.

Joseph Terry AlmshousesBonding WarehouseNext to Lady Ann Middleton's is a group of bungalows making up more almshouses erected in memory of Joseph Terry of the famous Terry chocolate factory. Continuing  further along Skeldergate brings you to another former warehouse on the left a former bonding warehouse.  Converted to a Pub in the 1980s it was a thriving business which eventually lost its way and now stands empty.  Plans were afoot to convert it to yet more apartments but has stalled in the teeth of the recession.

Follow the path along the short stretch of Cromwell Road and turn left or continue as far as the bridge and take the steps up to take you over Skeldergate Bridge. At the traffic lights turn left skirting the small park that was crossed earlier. Cross the road at the pedestrian crossing towards Clifford's Tower.

Clifford's TowerCoppergate CentreClifford's Tower is one York's icons and probably ranks high in the list of most photographed sights in York. Full of history and well worth checking out. Administered by English Heritage there is a charge for entry.

Having had your fill of Clifford's Tower make your way across the car park on a diagonal line towards the telecom mast to reach the edge of the Coppergate Centre and  the River Foss skirting around the delivery ramp\into Fenwick's to follow the river walkway past the memorial to Caroline Stuttle the young York resident murdered in Australia whilst backpacking, to come out intoPiccadily opposite the Merchant Adventurers' Hall to complete the walk.

Caroline Stuttle Memorial

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