abbey walks

Stage 1 - St Mary's Abbey, York to Whixley




21.6km / 13.4 miles

Explorer maps


York - OL290, Leeds - OL289



5 - 5.5 hours average time based on Naismith’s rule

Total ascent   172m

Total descent





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This first stage of the Prior Richard Way is a very pleasant and easy walk from the 12th century Benedictine Abbey of St. Mary's in York which initially follows the River Ouse towpath before passing through residential streets to reach the medieval village of Nether Poppleton. This village name is derived from 'popel' (pebble) and 'tun' (hamlet or farm) therefore meaning 'Pebble Farm' due to the gravel bed upon which the village was built.


At the edge of the Nether Poppleton the Prior Richard Way crosses fields to reach the tiny village of Moor Monkton and then along a very short stretch of the busy A59 which was formerly the Roman Road of Dere Street - please take care on this part. The route continues through fields and along minor roads, passing through Green Hammerton 'Hammerton with the green', from Middle English 'grene'. Green Hammeton was first mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086.  The route continues on to reach Whixley which was known by the Normans as 'Cucheslaga', but by the 14th century it was called 'Quixley' after the Lord of the Manor.



Walk Description :

1 - From the Abbey pass the Yorkshire Museum on the left to walk out of the Museum Gardens. At the road turn right to cross over Lendal Bridge and at the end of the bridge turn right and right down the steps and left onto the river path. Continue ahead past the rowing boat house on the left.


2 - Pass through the archway under the railway and continue on the river path to pass St Barnabus church and then the pub. Continue ahead on Salisbury Terrace to the traffic lights. Turn left on Water End road, slightly uphill, direction Harrogate A59.After passing over the railway line bear right onto the footpath/cycle path to the main road.


3 - At the main road (Poppleton Road) turn right direction Harrogate A59. After 1.8km reach a second set of traffic lights. Turn right onto Low Poppleton Lane to first pass Industrial buildings on the right and then a school on the left. After crossing over the railway line turn left to pass under the main road onto Millfield Lane to Nether Poppleton village.


4 - In the village the road naturally bears left along Main Street past a pub on the left. After passing River Gardens road on the left take the 2nd footpath on the right to cross a field keeping to the left. At the end bear left and right to continue ahead with the field boundary on the right to reach New Farm.


5 - At New Farm just before a building on the left, turn right through the hedge and then left passing the edge of the farm. At the end of a large farm building turn right into the field and immediately left to keep a ditch on the left. Pass round the field again keeping the ditch on the left to reach a tarmac lane.


6 - Turn right on the lane and just before the house turn left, direction Moor Monkton 2 miles. Cross over a stile towards farm buildings and then over a 2nd stile and a bridge over a ditch. Cross the 3rd stile and turn left and then a final stile into house gardens. Pass through the garden to the drive and bear left and immediately right through the gate into the field to cross diagonally to the bottom left hand corner.


7 - Continue through the gate onto a tarmac lane past Foss Dyke Barn and then ahead through the gate to pass Thick Penny Forge and the bungalow. At the Tarmac lane again continue ahead to reach a T-junction. Continue ahead along the Bridleway past farm buildings on the left into a field. Continue around it keeping the boundary on the right to the left hand corner and through the gate. Keep the ditch on the right and through a second gate and along a narrow green track. This can be muddy due to horse traffic. Pass under electricity wires and into the village of Moor Monkton.


8 - Pass through the village and where the road turns left keep ahead on Main Street. Just before Nidd Grange house turn right through the metal gate with a house on the left. This is a public footpath but the owner keeps removing the sign. At the corner of the house turn left to pass diagonally across the lawn to pass the garden buildings on the left and a gate into a field. Continue through the field to a green lane. Turn right and through five gates.


9 - At the fifth gate continue straight ahead, brick building on the right,

down to cross a wooden bridge over a small ditch and towards a telegraph pole. Keep to the right of the field and at the end turn right over the stile and immediately left. Pass through three fields to reach the farmyard. Continue rough it to reach the busy A59 Harrogate Road. Turn right and be very very careful keeping on the grass verge. After the passing a house turn left (cross with extreme care) onto the old Harrogate road. At the end bear slightly left to cross again and through a hedge over the stile.


10 - Bear slightly right and ahead to reach a double stile and cross over. Bear diagonally left through the tree hedge to a gate and Pool Lane. Cross straight over into the field and then across three more keeping ahead to reach and cross a wooden bridge. Continue ahead at the field bearing slightly right to reach a stile. Cross over into a narrow green strip to reach Red Lane. Turn right and continue ahead to the village of Green Hammerton.


11 - At the T-junction turn right to pass the pub and out of the village to the main road. Turn right on Boroughbridge Road (B6265) and after a small yard with two houses in on the left, turn left into the field. At the end of the small yard bear diagonally right across the field to a track. Cross over and through the hedge. Bear diagonally right through three further fields to reach the village of Whixley.


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Walking can be a dangerous sport.  Walkers should always be suitably equipped, including carrying and knowing how to use a map and compass.