Farndale is known far and wide as “the Daffodil Valley” because of the thousands of wild daffs which festoon the banks of the River Dove in spring.
Wild daffodils (Narcissus pseudo narcissus) have shorter stems than the more familiar cultivated species. The best time to see them is usually between mid March and late April. The first part of the walk has an excellent hard surface, suitable for wheelchairs and prams, although there is one fairly steep section. The return from Church Houses follows a lane out of the village before using field paths along the foot of Blakey Ridge to Low Mill. The daffs may be the star attraction but look out for other flashes of yellow in the farmland. Yellowhammers, a member of the Bunting family, are well established here. Curlews are likely to be seen and heard in spring and summer.
1. Turn right out of the car park at Low Mill and immediately take a gate on the right leading into Farndale Nature Reserve. The path has a hard surface and closely follows the River Dove, passing through several hand gates, before arriving at High Mill (refreshments).
2. Continue northwards from High Mill on a track which arrives at the Faversham Arms in Church Houses. Walk out onto the village street and turn right. Go past the village hall on the left and follow the road up to St. Mary’s Church.
3. Walk up the hill past The Old School. The road bends right and becomes steep. Look for a footpath on the right and follow into a field. A short distance further go left to follow a field boundary to Bragg Farm. Ignore footpaths going right and left, and continue ahead on a track before angling right over a field to Bitchagreen.
4. Continue ahead to skirt Cote Hill. At a three-way signpost go right on a path leading downhill beside a hedge and fence. At the bottom of the field bear left, pass through a gate and walk to High Wold House farm. Through the farmyard take a field gate on the right, and go downhill to cross a bridge and return to Low Mill.
Difficulty rating: 2 stars.
Distance: 3 1/2 miles
Time: 2 hours.
Map: OS Explorer (1:25,000) sheet OL26, North York Moors Western Area
Parking: Low Mill, 6 miles north from A170 at Kirkbymoorside. Car park postcode: YO62 7UY. Map reference: SE 673 952
Refreshments: Low Mill (in season), High Mill, Church Houses.
Toilets: Low Mill
Public transport: No convenient bus services.