North Yorkshire: Walking the Wars of the Roses

Stretch your legs while immersed in medieval history on this 9 mile North Yorkshire loop.

  • Start point: The Crooked Billet Inn on the B1217 (Saxton, Tadcaster LS24 9QN).
  • Distance: approx. 14.7km (9.13 miles)
  • Route: Circular 
  • OS Explorer map: 289/290

Appropriately enough, this walk begins with the opportunity to explore the atmospheric church of St Mary’s, Lead, known as ‘The Ramblers’ Church’ after it was rescued by a group of walkers in 1931. This tiny church dates from the 11th century, though there may have been an earlier church on the site.

The walk then proceeds for nearly 15km around the villages of Towton and Saxton, site of the infamous battle during the Wars of the Roses in 1461. It is thought to have been the largest loss of life in battle ever on English soil and the waters of Cock Beck – which you will cross twice during the walk – were said to have run red with blood.

Download the walk guide