Easter Walking Festival

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The walking group outside Myton Hall

Over 350 people enjoyed nine walks during the fifth Boroughbridge Walkers Are Welcome Easter Walking Festival.

The festival had a mixture of weather, but heavy rain on Easter Sunday morning did not deter people from the Marton-le-Moor Parish Walk, which provides an opportunity to look at the area’s past.

Organisers added a map reading training event to the festival for the first time, combined with a short three-mile circuit around Kirby Hill and Langthorpe. Attendance was not high, but there was good feedback from those who took part.

The sun shone for the ever-popular Myton-on-Swale and Battle of Myton Walk on Easter Monday with the temptation of an excellent tea at the end drawing in 75 people. The tea raised £300 for St Mary’s church at Myton.

This four-mile circular walk starts with a brief history of Myton’s Grade II* listed church, which was built in the 13th century, before walkers went to look at Myton Hall, styled on a French chateau, which was the seat of the Staypleton family from around 1693 and more recently the home of the late Sir Ken Morrison.

Nick Ramsden, who owns Myton Stud Farm with his brother Nigel, gave walkers an insight into agriculture on the 1,100-acre estate bought by their grandfather in 1933. It once employed around 30 people but today it is run by three.

The Stud Farm, where trotting ponies were bred, was built in 1870 and has been painstakingly restored. It is part of the Home Farm, which was designed in accordance with plans exhibited at the great Exhibition of 1851. Today the farmland is managed with the interests of wildlife as one of its priorities.

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Irene Robinson speaking about the restoration of Myton-on-Swale Bridge and the battle in 1319

The walk ended at the bridge over the River Swale, close to where the Battle of Myton was fought on September 20th, 1319. Irene Robinson, one of the leaders of the successful campaign to have the bridge restored, spoke about that project and gave details of the battle between forces led by the Archbishop of York, William Melton, and Scots raiders under the command of James Douglas and Thomas Randolph.

Three new routes were well received with The Rabbit Hill Walk proving popular with people who wanting a slightly longer, more challenging afternoon, with the opportunity to explore little know valleys to the east of the A168 leading to Marton-cum-Grafton.

Group chairman Barry MacCallum said “Thanks to support from Boroughbridge Chamber of Trade and sponsorship by local businesses, the event gave the town a festive air – particularly with shop windows dressed for the Easter Bonnets competition and treasure hunt clues.”

He also thanked the Hightimers amateur dramatics group for organising the Ghost walk, the Friends of Roman Aldborough for giving a guided tour on the Roman Ramble and the Boroughbridge Lions for stewarding.