A Circular Walk from Pocklington

Take a fascinating walk past derelict canal locks, a wooded heath with a nature reserve, and an old wartime bomber station now used by gliders.


Circular WalkYes
Distance12 Miles
OS Map294
Car ParkingFree parking in Pocklington
RefreshmentsPubs & shops in Pocklington
  • You can start your walk from one of several points around the circuit: Pocklington town centre, Canal Head car park, Melbourne or Allerthorpe Wood.
  • If you start at Pocklington the first part of your walk is along the disused canal. The canal gets its water from the beck that used to supply power to no less than five watermills. Two of the mills worked until after the Second World War (the Devonshire Mill and St. Helen’s Gate Mill).
  • Allerthorpe Wood is planted on an old heathland and can be used for short walks, forestry operations permitting. In the Wood you walk along a public bridleway which is always open to the public but which can be muddy. The bridleway runs along the south side of the Common, and passes a nature reserve which is home to rare plants such as the marsh gentian and sundew grow.
  • From Allerthorpe Wood and Common you can follow the route to Pocklington Airfield. In the 1940s the air shook to the thundering of bomber engines as they took off for war-torn Europe. Today, you’re more likely to hear the mournful cry of the curlew disturbed by the silent gliders touching down on the wide runway. The path crosses the runway directly in the path of the aircraft, so take great care here. It is not always possible to see the tow wire on the ground so look out for that, too.

Facts about Pocklington Canal:-

  • It is home to all kinds of waterfowl and the majestic heron.  Swans actually nest in the reeds on the water, but don’t approach them as they can be aggressive when guarding their young.
  • Pike, perch, roach and bream are all fished along the nine-mile length of Yorkshire’s shortest canal.  The canal has special nature conservation importance because of its less obvious wildlife – some unusual aquatic plants and insects (especially rare water-beetles, and dragonflies).
  • It was opened in 1818 at a cost of £35,000 (a sum less than the original estimate).
  • As early as 1847 it was allowed to decline because its new owners, the York and North Midland Railway Company, didn’t want it to compete with the modern railways.
  • During the 1960s it was considered more expensive to eliminate the now derelict waterway than to leave it as it was.
  • Today the canal has its own amenity society whose members have done a great deal to preserve and improve the immediate area for people’s enjoyment.

Facts about Allerthorpe Wood and Common:- 

  • The reserve covers 15 acres and preserves a section of heathland which was widespread prior to tree planting schemes begun in the 1960s.
  • The wet heath is being invaded by birch, always the first tree to establish itself on ‘waste’ ground.  Young oaks and aspen are also taking root.

Facts about Pocklington Airfield:-

  • Just before the runway is a memorial to the men of 102 (Ceylon) Squadron RAF, and 405 (Vancouver) Squadron RCAF, who “gave their lives in the name of Freedom”.

Information kindly supplied by the East Riding of Yorkshire Council.