Elvington Airfield to Wheldrake Ings Return
(Plus goosanders filmed on the River Ure near Wensley)
The Yorkshire Air Museum at Elvington Airfield is well worth a visit and is suitable for all ages and disabilities and just down the road is the York Maze which is an amazing place to visit and has many other attractions so the kids will be more than entertained. The Maze is open daily from 17th July to 5th September 2010. You can also celebrate Halloween at the maze from the 23rd to 31st October and Hallowscream nights from the 28th to 31st October and also on 5th November there is the Fireworks Spectacular plus many other events. Elvington Airfield was a bomber base in No.4 Group and was originally designated as a grass airfield then it was rebuilt with the addition of three hardened runways and re-opened in October 1942. With the arrival of 77 Squadron RAF, as a sub-station to RAF Pocklington, grouped together with RAF Melbourne the three airfields became known as 42 Base within 4 Group.
Elvington is a small pretty village with a large green, a war memorial to the French and Canadians and the River Derwent flowing just on the outskirts. There is a primary school, shop and a pub The Grey Horse. Wheldrake is a village a bit bigger than Elvington with a primary school, church, shop with post office and a pub The Wenlock Arms.
Just outside the village of Wheldrake is Wheldrake Ings a reserve managed as part of the Lower Derwent Valley National Nature Reserve. The reserve occupies one of the wider parts of the flood meadowland of the Lower Derwent Valley. The meadows are cut in July and stock are then turned out to graze the area until October and then the winter floods takeover and enrich the meadows with sediment washed down from the moors this has gone on for hundreds of years. The meadows are home to a vast variety of plants some of them rare, wild flowers, insects, moths, butterflies, dragonflies, rare beetles and barn owls have also been seen . The meadows are also home to many birds such as, snipe, skylark, lapwings, redshank, and in the winter there are many wintering wildfowl and waders including ducks, geese, moorhens, herons and swans. There are six hides altogether to watch these beautiful birds in there relevant seasons.
The part of the video film showing the curlew, lapwing and cute was filmed in May at the ings before the pond had dried up, in the hide opposite the new centre and car park, and the goosanders were filmed in July near Wensley in the Yorkshire Dales.
After visiting the airfield we park in Elvington and walk to the bridge here we turn right and follow the River Derwent for a short way passing a weir and lock. We follow the path to the church and turn left onto the road and follow the road for a short way until it turns left here we carry on straight ahead along a grassy track. We follow this track through some fields passing by two farms and then come out on the Wheldrake road. Here we turn left then right round the bend and the entrance to Wheldrake Ings is on the left. There is a car park here if you wish just to walk round the ings and hides and there is a new centre not in use yet. We walk through the gate on the left in the car park and walk down hill a little way. Opposite there are two hides, one you can see and the other one is through a gate on the left of the hide. We turn right in front of the centre and go through a gate then follow the path (look for wildlife, insects and flowers etc) to the bridge over the River Derwent. We go over the bridge and turn right and follow the path visiting the hides on our way. After visiting the last hide we about turn and return back to Elvington on the same paths.
This a very easy flat walk using OS map 290.
Approx 10 miles from Elvington Village to Wheldrake Ings return.
Approx 4.25 miles round Wheldrake Ings.
Elvington near York, North Yorkshire
Take the A64 to York and take the A1079 towards Bridlington and Hull. Take the first turning immediately off the roundabout (the B1228) for Elvington.
Toilets and Refreshments
There are toilets and a wartime NAAFI style restaurant at Elvington Airfield.
For refreshments in Elvington there is a shop and the Grey Horse pub. In Wheldrake there is also a shop with post office and the Wenlock Arms.
At the moment the toilets are not available in the new centre at Wheldrake Ings.