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Putting the Wolds on the map

The Wold Rangers Way – a challenging 44-mile circular walking route through the stunning Yorkshire Wolds – has received national acclaim after featuring in the January edition of the BBC Countryfile magazine.

Launched in 2021, the Wold Rangers Way, which starts and finishes in Driffield, follows green lanes and bridlepaths through the countryside of the Yorkshire Wolds as walked by the Wold Rangers in years gone by.

The Wold Rangers were a nomadic group of men and women who travelled from farm to farm seeking shelter and sustenance in exchange for work.

They became an integral part of agricultural folklore of the Yorkshire Wolds and stories of their adventures have been handed down from generation to generation amongst the farming community.

Many still recall the last Wold Ranger, Dog Geordie, sitting on Market Place in Driffield with his dog and ferret before taking himself back to Sledmere and his little caravan. Dog Geordie died in 1987.

The Wold Rangers Way consists of the main 44-mile trail, which stretches from Driffield, taking in many Wolds villages from Garton-on-the-Wolds, Wetwang, Fimber, Fridaythorpe, Huggate and Thixendale.

There are also a number of shorter walks or ‘Trods’ named after some of the more well-known Rangers, with all routes following the public rights of way that were walked every day for over 200 years by this group.

The Countryfile magazine article features interviews with Wold Rangers Way trustees Claire Binnington and Mark Blakeston who launched the route last year. It explores some of the history of the Wold Rangers and takes the reader on a journey through some of the villages along the route.

Mark said he and his fellow trustees were already really proud of the Wold Rangers Way, but thanks to the magazine it has now received national endorsement.

He said: “To see the Wold Rangers Way in print in a BBC national magazine and given such a positive profile – not just the walk but the Wold Rangers themselves – makes us very proud.

“Articles like this are a positive national endorsement of what we have got and not only will it help to bring people into the area, but it will also make the people who live in Driffield and the Wolds realise what they have on their doorstep.

“It was back in 2019 when I first spoke to the BBC about our plans for the Wolds Rangers Way and the timing of this article is perfect just as we start the new year and people are beginning to look ahead to the spring and summer and walking enthusiasts are planning their walking festivals.”

Last June, saw the first ever Wold Rangers Way Walking Festival, which welcomed walkers and ramblers from across the East Riding and further afield.

The week-long festival offered 19 free guided walks ranging from three miles to 44 and it helped to encourage people to get out walking and promote the health benefits of that, while also boosting tourism and giving a welcome boost to shops and businesses.

Mark said he is looking forward to the 2023 festival which will build on the success of the inaugural event.
“Our walking festival last June was the first one of its kind locally and with at least two guided walks each day, it is thanks to the volunteers and trustees that we were able to make it such a success,” said Mark.

“We received positive feedback and agreed to hold it again in 2023 from 17th June for a week.

“We have 14 walks pencilled in so far from shorter three-mile accessible walks to the full 44-mile route which we will do overnight this time.

“We will also be joining up with other organisations again such as the Yorkshire Wolds Way and we have more evening walks planned and in response to people liking a destination to walk to, we will have walks that will set off and finish at cafes and pubs in the area.”

Mark added that the Wold Rangers Way supports Driffield Town Council’s remit of promoting the vitality of Driffield by promoting the health benefits of walking as well as boosting tourism to local businesses.

“The Wold Rangers Way is a great walk through beautiful, scenic areas of the Wolds; it helps to boost tourism and business to the area and it has strong local history links through the Wold Rangers and helps to keep that unique piece of our history alive.”

For more information about the Wold Rangers Way, see https://woldrangersway.org

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