Wetherby to Spofforth Round
Wetherby became a Market Town in 1240 when it was granted, a Royal Charter by Henry 3rd, to hold a market every Thursday and a yearly fair lasting three days over the day of St James the Apostle. In the 1840s the Harrogate to Church Fenton line was constructed and then in 1866 they began the construction of the line from Wetherby to Cross Gates in Leeds, a much needed link which led to a new railway station being built on Linton Road the older station is now the old engine shed dance hall. Both these lines closed in 1965 under the Beeching Axe and are now the Harland Way, cycle and walking track, linking Wetherby with Spofforth. Before the railways the Angel pub served two mail coaches every day. Kirk Deighton a small village, separated from Wetherby by a field of allotments, is set on the boarder line itself being in the Harrogate district of North Yorkshire and Wetherby being in the city of Leeds metropolitan district of West Yorkshire. Despite this Kirk Deighton is often referred to as a small district of Wetherby due to lack of space between the two places.
Spofforth Castle is the remains of a fortified hall that was built on the site of a medieval castle. It was built on a steep slope so that the castle could have a basement on the west side. The castle had an octagonal tower on the north east side which once encased a spiral staircase between the two floors. After the Norman Conquest, William de Percy built a wooden manor on the castle site. In 1303 his son Henry de Percy built the first castle but his work was never finished. In the early 1400s the Earl of Warwick was given the castle and he had the castle destroyed. In 1470 the Percy’s regained Spofforth Castle and rebuilt. By 1600 the castle was abandoned and given to the castles steward. In 1604 the steward died and the castle was left to decay, which is what remains today.
We park in the free car park in Wetherby by the River Wharfe and walk to the Market Place, past the library and the Catholic Church and turn right into Caxton Street, at the end go over the road and into the lane opposite. Follow the footpath over the dismantled railway line to the next dismantled railway line and turn left on to it. This is the Harland Way we follow this until we come to some fields and take the Bridleway to Kirk Deighton. At Kirk Deighton turn left onto the road and take the no through road immediately after the pub, (Lime Kiln Lane) follow this until you come to Peasbury Hill and where the road goes left. We go straight on and follow the pathway through fields until we come to a beck and a bridge, do not go over bridge turn right and follow the beck for a short way look out for path sign on the left go over this bridge and now follow the River Crimple to Spofforth. When we come to the road we turn left over the bridge then at the Castle Inn pub turn right towards the Castle. After the Castle we go past the pub and follow the Wetherby road through the village and watch out for the cycle track sign on the left, we follow the sign which takes us onto the Harland Way (dismantled railway line). Follow this track back to Wetherby taking the right fork and curving round to the right we come to the free recycling car park on the Sicklinghall Road. We turn left then right back to the car park by the River Wharfe.
Easy, flat walking. Some parts of the dismantled railway (Harland Way) looks suitable for the disabled and wheelchair users.
Approx 8.25miles using map OS map 289
Wetherby – West Yorkshire
From York take the By-Pass (A1237) and take a right turn at a roundabout onto the B1224 which takes you through Rufforth past Wetherby race course and into Wetherby. Follow signs for town centre and just before the bridge over the River Wharfe on the left is a free car park down by the river. There is another free car park further on, on the Sicklinghall Road which is also a recycling site.
Toilets and Refreshments
There are public toilets in Wetherby near the Market Place, none in Kirk Deighton or Spofforth. For refreshments plenty of shops, pubs, cafés, bakeries and a fish and chip shop in Wetherby. There is one pub in Kirk Deighton and two pubs and a shop in Spofforth.