West Ayton to Wrench Green return via Forge Valley
West Ayton and East Ayton are two villages on top of each other situated on the A170 only about 6 miles from Scarborough in North Yorkshire. East Ayton has a church which is mainly of Norman architecture and the Norman font has been in use for more than 700 years and in West Ayton there is the 14th century ruin of Ayton Castle. The old bridge which spans the River Derwent separates the two villages and the river flows south from Lilla Rig on the North York Moors through the gorge of Forge Valley and joins the River Ouse at Barmby on the Marsh. The Sea Cut, a man made channel built in 1804, connects the River Derwent to the North Sea at Scalby Mills near Scarborough. This cut was built to alleviate flooding in the lower reaches of the River Derwent after the severe flooding of the vales of Derwent and Hertford in 1799. Wrench Green is a very small village with only a few houses. The Forge Valley is a National Nature Reserve and a walk through part of this gorge has been adapted to accommodate the disabled, whether walking or a wheelchair user, and also for people with young children in pushchairs. There is plenty of wildlife in this valley along with many wildflowers and at this time of year, early spring, the area is a mass of wild garlic, water marigolds and wood plants. Along the Forge Valley road there is the Old Mans Mouth car park and picnic area and a little further on there is a bird feeding station and car park.
We park next to the river and old mill on the left just before the bridge and walk along the little road at the side to Yedmandale Road then turn right and walk past Castle Rise up to the crossroads. Here we turn right onto Cockrah Road and follow the road round the bend. There is a path at the right side of the road between two hedges with the caravan site on the right. Just after the caravan site entrance we turn right onto the footpath and go straight ahead over the field. At the end of the field we turn left and follow the trees on our right until we come to an arrow sign we turn right through the wood with the valley down on our right. We follow the footpath through the wood until we arrive at a farm we carry on straight ahead following the arrows through a field then head downhill through the wood. We then come into the open and walk along the edge of the wood passing a ruined building on our right, through a gate and down to North Stile Cottage. We go over a stile to the right of the cottage then follow the arrows and then the track to Cockrah House we then go over a cattle grid. Just before the cattle grid on the right there is a gate and a stile which we pick up on our way back (you can take this path if you wish to omit the bridge at Wrench Green). After crossing the cattle grid we follow the road to the bridge at Wrench Green. Here we take a break on the bench. We then go back over the cattle grid at Cockrah House and take the path over stile on the left into a field and make our way to the river. We follow the river, on our left, through this long field going round some gorse bushes until we come to a hedge. The stile is in the left hand corner after going over the stile we keep to the side of the river until we reach the sea cut. We carry on straight ahead passing North Stile Cottage and the ruined building up on the hill side on our right and keeping the river and more gorse bushes on our left. At the end of these gorse bushes this is where we see the Heron nests. We then go through the gate slightly to our right, then around some more gorse bushes and then head straight forward across the field until we arrive at a stile which takes us into Forge Valley with the walkway for the disabled. We follow the walkway, passing the car park and picnic area, to the end and go through a gate into an open field and follow the path forward and then round to the right until we arrive at the ruins of Ayton Castle. We take a look round and go inside for a nosy. We then go through the gate onto a road and walk forward to the end then turn left onto Yedmandale Road and left again back to where we parked our car.
This is an easy to moderate walk with a few slight inclines and declines. Part of this walk in the Forge Valley is suitable for wheelchair users.
Approx 6.75 miles using OS map OL27.
West Ayton is near Scarborough in North Yorkshire.
From York take the A64 towards Scarborough and just after Rillington take a left turn onto the B1258 to Snainton. At Snainton turn right onto the A170. West Ayton is on the A170. There is car parking next to the river on the left just before the bridge or on the roadside.
Toilets and Refreshments
There are no public toilets. For refreshments there are two pubs the Forge Valley Inn in West Ayton and the Denison Arms in East Ayton and there is also a spar shop and a fish and chip shop. Between East Ayton and Hackness along the Forge Valley there is the Everley Country Hotel and then in Hackness the Hackness Grange Hotel. At nearby Scarborough there are public toilets and many shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants.