AS the rest of the family headed for the tour of grounds and garden of Castle Howard myself and Mist devised a lovely walk in the lands that border the castle, full of interest and with plenty of glimpses in to the castle.

Welburn village is a good starting point to approach Castle Howard, it is just far enough away to avoid the crowds and the pub is very pleasant. I took to the footpath heading north from the west end of the village. It passes through some rolling countryside for 1 mile till it reaches a junction of path (just after a short sharp climb). From here turn left and soon join the main approach road at a Gatehouse to the castle/country house, known at The Stray. It is a dramatic road, straight as an arrow and full of interest, the path providing a safe walk through some trees. An obelisk stands half way down the avenue at a cross roads to the castle entrance but carry on along the verge of the road till arriving at the Great Lake (on your right hand side)

On arrival at the great lake and before reaching the road cross roads turn right on to a footpath running alongside the north end of the lake and in to the estate village of Coneysthorpe. It is a beautiful, immaculately preserved village and worth spending some minutes exploring. From the east end of the village a major path heads south through the grounds of Castle Howard, this is the Centenary Way (a long distance footpath from York to Filey). For ½ a mile the track skirts the Great Lake until reaching some woodland where it turns more easterly skirting the hillside of Ray Wood. There is a real feeling of being in estate grounds, you almost expect Mr Darcy to come riding past!

On emerging from the woods the path meets a second path, turn due south and follw the track along the wall to the Temple of Four Winds (built in 1724 to as Temple Diana and a mirror of the Villa Rotondo in Venice). It is here where the walk provides some of the best views of the main Castle Howard building. It is without doubt one of the most impressive buildings in Britain and it is not surprising that it is often the backdrop for classic English dramas and films from Brideshead Revisited to Victoria The castle itself was originally built in Baroque style by Charles Howard in 1699 and the family descendants have lived there ever since.

Before crossing the New River Bridge glance to your left at the Mausoleum, a cylindrical building with vast colonnade of twenty Tuscan columns where the first earl wished to be laid to rest. It is not possible to go inside so continue over the bridge and climb steadily to re-join the Centenary Way. Continue climbing towards some woods set overlooking a small escarpment to the south. It is a good point to turn and look back over the walk. Instead of turning left and following the Centenary Way take the path heading south down through the woods, cross a small stream before heading back along a path for ½ a mile to Welburn.

Jonathan Smith runs Where2walk, an outdoor business in the Yorkshire Dales. He has written his own book, the Dales 30, which describes the highest mountains in the Dales. He also runs one-day navigation courses for beginners and intermediates, and learn a skill, climb a hill weekends. To find out more details on any of the above and details of many more walks in the area visit

The Northern Echo:


Distance: Roughly 6 miles

Height to Climb: 120m (390 feet)

Start: SE 722688. There is parking near the Crown and Cushion pub.

Difficulty: Easy/Moderate. Very well laid out tracks and paths within the castle grounds, a little more variable near Welburn.

Refreshments: Welburn has one pub, the Crown and Cushion and a café, the Leaf and Loaf.

Be Prepared:

The route description and sketch map only provide a guide to the walk. You must take out and be able to read a map (O/S Explorer 300) and in cloudy/misty conditions a compass (essential on this walk). You must also wear the correct clothing and footwear for the outdoors. Whilst every effort is made to provide accurate information, walkers head out at their own risk.

Please observe the Countryside Code and park sensibly.