This is a most enjoyable green walk in the south-west of the city along a surprisingly diverse route of contrasting landscapes. You can soak up the peace of the Railway Pond, find your perspective in the space of Hob Moor and be nurtured by the grand trees of West Bank Park. All in one easy walk of just over an hour.
Start outside the Holiday Inn entrance on Tadcaster Road. Take a moment to admire the giant Cedar look of Lebanon out the back, then cross the road to the garage and turn down Mayfield Grove. Take the second left at Aintree Court and the Railway Pond is right in front of you. Follow the path left and away from the pond through Mayfield Public Open Space until you emerge onto Little Hob Moor. Go under the Railway Bridge onto (Big) Hob Moor and follow the path across the Moor to the right, through a jitty into a residential area. Turn left, then right down Campbell Avenue. Turn left at the end to see the grand entrance to West Bank Park.
You can either return the same way, or do a loop via the Knavesmire. For the loop, walk directly to Tadcaster Road from Little Hob Moor, cross the road and onto the Knavesmire. Turn right along the path through the trees, down the hill, then right along the edge of the racecourse to Cherry Lane. Go up Cherry Lane to your start at the Holiday Inn.
Tuning into nature
There’s an increasing body of evidence that show the health and therapeutic benefits of being near water, or ‘blue space’.
Sit by the Pond for a while. Allow yourself to become still, notice your breathing and the sounds around you. Can you hear the gentle beep of a moorhen?
Once you reach the Moor, allow yourself a moment facing the sun or the wind. Close your eyes and feel the warm rays or the moving air touch your face. Open your eyes and breathe in the space around you.
In the Park, explore! Wander the many paths and be curious about the variety of trees there. You could follow the Park’s Ten Tree Trail. Can you find the twin beeches (pictured below)? Their roots reach out to each other, gently entwining like the fingers of hands.
Once home, why not get creative? Reflect on the route you took, and of all the things you enjoyed discovering, and try to draw a route map. If there are gaps in your map, don’t worry, it’s a good excuse to go back again! Perhaps in Spring when there will be more leaf, many more wildflowers and a ‘turned up’ volume of birdsong to look forward to. 😊
It’s an easy bus or bike ride from town along Tadcaster Road to the Holiday Inn by the Knavesmire. You can park your bike on the cycle stands at the Holiday Inn entrance, or at the stands outside Cafe at no 12 just over Tadcaster Road.
Accessibility: this route is hard-surfaced most of the way, with a rough surface between the Pond and Moor. There are steps to access the Pond and a narrowing barrier to access Hob Moor. You can get access through an adjacent gate with a radar key.
Giving something back
Most of the green spaces you have walked through are looked after by “Friends” groups – you could volunteer to help. Find out more on the following links – Railway Pond, Mayfield Public Open Space, Hob Moor and West Bank Park.
If you have been inspired by the Railway Pond, and have the outdoor space at home and time for a ‘project’, why not create your own? The Wildlife Trusts show you how.
You can find other Nature Time routes across York through the seasons from us here. Enjoy time in Nature on a green route walk or ride – all year round!
Finally, we rely on donations and grants to fund our work towards a healthy, green and kind York. You can donate at www.givey.com/yorkbikebelles.
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