The weather forecast for our walking day was dire, so we decided to postpone our walk until the afternoon, when it was due to improve. An amended itinerary too – we popped up the road to Stamfordham, and parked in the car park of the Bay Horse. We were a foursome once more, and it felt good.
The church of St. Mary the Virgin stands on the edge of the village – originally built in the 13th century, but rebuilt in the mid 19th, it boasts a substantial tower and high roof. Two heraldic banners, and several grave crosses built into the porch walls are interesting features, as is the two manual organ, built by Forster & Andrews of Hull in 1873 and the nave ceiling, recently restored, looks splendid.
We left the church and headed through the village green southwards, crossing the road, and entering a rather wet field towards Richmond Hill. A greater spotted woodpecker flew off from a bird feeder on the edge of the garden as we approached, but there was little other birdlife to be seen. The path entered woodland, and in a little while turned west, bordering the disused airfield of Ouston, though a notice on a crash gate suggested that some flying activity still takes place.
Emerging onto the B6309 road near Ouston farm, we turned north again, intending to follow the direct footpath across fields back to Hawkwell. The recent rains had made the track very muddy, so we skirted the edge of one field of winter barley before rejoining the road. This quickly brought us close to the Stamfordham sports field and Hawkwell Grange, where cattle contentedly grazed. Turning left into the village, we passed some new housing development before winding our way through the cottages to a bridge over the infant river Pont, and then along a tree lined path back into the main village. A quick walk around the churchyard to admire the view over marshy fields and then we retired into the Bay Horse for coffee.
Having just missed a really heavy rain shower, we emerged from our coffee stop to the glorious sight of a double rainbow over the verdant village green and the old village cross, and followed it all the way back home. Alas, the pot of gold that is reputed to lie at the end of a rainbow eluded us – ah well, maybe next time …
… though we all enjoyed our short walk, admiring the village and its interesting and historic buildings, and the farms, fields and flora of the surrounding countryside.
We all agreed that the local area offers numerous opportunities for splendid half or full day walks, so perhaps we’ll return in the near future. Footloose will walk again !