Cowlam & Cottam - Yorkshire Wolds

A walk with interesting history throughout, from a Church dating from 1100 to 1939 WW2 runways now abandoned. Also includes the Abandoned church at Cottam and the remains of a Medieval Village.

There are a few optional versions of this walk, if you are familiar with OS map use there are many footpaths marked out to make this walk either longer or shorter. The route provided intends to give the walker the most interesting route of things to see!

Technical sheet
No. 29776800
A Cottam walk posted on 07/01/23 by Infrequent Walker. Update : 09/01/23
Calculated time Calculated time: 3h20[?]
Distance Distance : 10.27 km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 152 m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 158 m
Highest point Highest point : 155 m
Lowest point Lowest point : 58 m
Moderate Difficulty : Moderate
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Location Location : Cottam
Starting point Starting point : N 54.076594° / W 0.527123°
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Download : PDF / Print - GPX track


Start : The walk begins at Cowlam Manor (nearby postcode YO25 3AD) Grid ref. SE 964 655

(D/A) After parking on the road verge, walk to the entrance of Church Farm and enter the farm yard. The farm road curves right between some barns, follow this to see the church (A) in the farmyard, on your left. Leaving the church retrace your steps to the corner of the farm yard, turn right and head towards the gates leading to the fields. The track divide in to a Y-junction, take the right track, and begin the walk.

(1) Continue for a small distance until the track divides again in a Y-junction, take the right hand path (South-East) which descends down in to the first dry valley on this walk. You will pass a chalk pit on your right and then a raised pond which is fenced off.

(2) You will reach an another gate, turn right here through the small gate and follow the path with the fence on your left. Continue until reach the fence/hedge line which you will go through and then turn left. In the field is a military foundation.

(3) You are now in the dry valley of Cottam Well Dale (B), follow this dry valley, past the disused Cottam Well on your left. Continue through the walking gate to the right of the farm gate, the fence should be on your left as you continue this section of the walk, the walk will curve right as this fence comes to an end at a small wooded section. You will begin to climb up at the abandoned church.

(4) Explore Trinity Church (C), the military artefact and the general area of the Medieval Village earthworks that are all around you. When you are ready to move on head to the corner of the field, a small walking gate marks the way. Once in the corner of the field to the East you will be out on a concrete road. Head straight over this road (do not turn right in to the farm) and follow the path around the woods.

(5) Follow the arrowed sign posts, turning left out in to the field followed by turning right up the long concrete path, one of the disused WW2 runways of RAF Cottam (D). Continue straight up past the farm buildings where you will across another of the runways running left to right

(6) Once you reach the end of the runway, turn right, this is one of the old airfield access/perimeter roads. Follow this road in a straight line all they to the main road (around 2.5 Km) - this road is completely straight, dating back to Medieval times, marked as 'York Road' (E) on many older maps.

(7) Once you meet the main road you will be at the lowest section of the walk, turn right and head North following the road back up to Church Farm where you are parked. (around 3 Km). (D/A)

Waypoints :
D/A : km 0 - alt. 155 m - Manor Farm
1 : km 0.33 - alt. 143 m - Y-junction
2 : km 1.43 - alt. 85 m - Small gate
3 : km 2.46 - alt. 93 m - Cottam Well
4 : km 3.37 - alt. 122 m - Cottam Chapel & Medieval Village
5 : km 3.86 - alt. 146 m - RAF Cottam Runway
6 : km 4.81 - alt. 146 m - Medieval Road
7 : km 7.32 - alt. 58 m - Road leading back to the start point
D/A : km 10.27 - alt. 155 m - Manor Farm

Useful Information

Start : The walk begins at Cowlam Manor (nearby postcode YO25 3AD) Grid ref. SE 964 655

Parking : Cowlam Manor, (nearby postcode YO25 3AD) Grid ref. SE 964 655 parking is on the verge of the road only - please ensure to respect the cut grass verges of the farm - park on the uncut areas of the verge and do not block farm traffic or gate entrances!

Terrain : An easy walk that may take 2.5 hours if you don't stop but 3.5 hours if like me you want to look at the churches en route. Note that it can be windy and foggy on the tops of the wolds so a decent coat is probably required. The airfield here was never used in WW2 due to continuous poor weather conditions.

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

(A) Explore St Mary's Church in the farmyard, a key may be obtainable from the farm house if the church is locked. Cowlam was previously a Bronze Age encampment, evidenced by earthworks at the farm and a later medieval village that was deserted in the late 17th century.

The church of St Mary at Cowlam is one of the churches on the Sykes Churches Trail. It is a small medieval church with a Norman font - if the church is not open the font is visible from the window to the left of the entrance. The church was restored in 1852 to a design by Mary E. Sykes, daughter of Sir Tatton Sykes, 4th Baronet. The church is now Grade 2 listed.

(B) Cottam Well, unknown age but presumably serves the hamlet of Cottamwhich is just up the hill at Trinity Church.

(C) Explore Trinty Church, rebuilt in 1818 and again in 1890 - since abandoned. The medieval village is of Anglo-Scandinavian origin

(D) RAF Cottam was built as a bomber airfield in the Second World War but was never used for flying. Later the runways were used for bomb storage and the buildings were demolished in 1980.

(E) Medieval Road called 'York Road' - a main thoroughfare back in medieval era from the coast to York.

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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.