The Yorkshire Wolds are a crescent of small hills located in the East Riding. The area is not protected and it does not form a national park nor an AONB, but it is nonetheless one of the most distinct natural areas of Yorkshire. ‘Wold’ is an old English word designating a chalk hill. Several areas in England are named after this term, the most famous being the Cotswolds near Oxford. Closer to Yorkshire are the Lincolnshire Wolds.
The Yorkshire Wolds form small rolling plateaus and they can be quite abrupt at some places, as they are cut by deep and narrow valleys shaped during the ice age. These valleys are called ‘dales’ in the local dialect. The highest point in the Yorkshire Wolds reaches 807 feet and is located next to Bishop Wilton.
The best way to discover the area is to follow the Wolds Way, a 79-mi trail that travels from the Humber all the way to Filey. If you are limited by time and if you do not want to engage in a few days hike, you can decide to limit yourself to a portion of the trail. The most interesting part is located around the villages of Fridaythorpe, Thixendale and Millington, where the most scenic ‘dales’ are to be found.
The Yorkshire Wolds are quite rich in terms of heritage. Two country houses are open to visitors: Kilnwick Percy Hall and Sledmere House. The Sykes, owners of Sledmere, have restored many medieval churches in the Wolds in the 19th century. They can be found at East Helerton, Langtoft, Sherburn, West Lutton, Weaverthorpe, Helperthorpe, Kirkby Grindalythe and Hilston. The deserted medieval village of Wharram Percy is probably the most popular site in the Wolds.
No big town is to be found in the area, but the Wolds are surrounded by several market towns such as Pocklington, Driffield and Malton. Outside of these towns, public transportation is scarce in the area, with a handful of unfrequent buses.