Walking: Yorkshire riverside ramble taking in town and country

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The winding, meandering River Ouse has provided numerous walks, the most recent being a trip to Linton-on-Ouse.

The river’s flood bank offers easy pickings – gentle, uncomplicated strolling at an elevated level looking out over a realm of low-lying agricultural land.

Here is another for you to sample, a mix of rich farmland and wide-open spaces, but with something different thrown in – a brush with suburbia. Yes, the countryside is forsaken in the middle portion of this outing as the route touches upon Barlby and Selby, once the centres of a huge grain and flour-producing industry.

This section is not over-pleasing on the eye, but it offers a glimpse of the near-distant past of this part of the Vale of York.

Osgodby has to thank its founder for its strange name, which has nothing to do with God. A Scandinavian warrior, Asgautr, settled here, probably in the 9th century, and gave his name to the area – this is Asgautr’s farm, which changed down the ages to Osgodby. The settlement was recorded in Domesday Book as King’s land.

The historical highlight of this little adventure is the view of Selby Abbey from the Ouse flood bank. The abbey, though not the first on the lips when talking about England’s great monastic houses, is really rather special with a significant Royal connection.

It was founded by the Conqueror himself in 1069, the earliest Benedictine house in the North. And the main reason for this, according to historians, is that the king’s youngest son, Henry, who became Henry 1, was born at Selby. The present abbey, dating from about 1100, is the finest surviving Norman ecclesiastical building in Yorkshire.

This is a funny time of year for field walking. It is a time of transition as farmers harvest their wheat crops, thus completely changing the outlook for the walker. When this circuit was checked in the middle of August, three or four crop fields were encountered, but by the time you decide to set out, the fields may have been stripped clean, making it easier under foot but, perhaps, not so easy to follow the description. Good luck!

PARKING: Osgodby lies two miles east of Selby. Take the A63 round Selby and turn right to Osgodby and then left into the village centre. Park in the vicinity of The Wadkin Arms and the Village Institute. We used the car park at the Village Institute (recycling bins).

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