As an English Heritage member and history teacher, I try to visit as many of their sites as I can in the Yorkshire area. August Bank holiday was spent with my parents and younger brother who was back for university holidays, and my dad suggested a trip to Wharram Percy as a way to make the most of the end of summer, as we hadn’t been sincewe were little.
The Wharram Percy site is located between Malton and Driffield, about 20 minutes drive from either town. It is free to enter (yey!) but only has a small car park/cleared gravel area so you may end up parking on the grass verge of the road if it’s busy. There’s about a 15 minute walk from the car park to the actual village.
The village was abandoned in the 16th century as the local lord evicted the residents to make way for more profitable sheep pastures, although the church and graveyard remained in use into the 1800s. As such, the church and a farm building are the only remaining structures still standing and the deserted houses are just outlined in the grass.
As you walk into the village there are house remains on both sides of the path, but most are up the small hill to the right. They are very basic but the information boards help to explain what was going on in the village in the Middle Ages. To the left is the old farm building which was the base for the archaeologists during their 40 year excavation, and again gives you an outline of the importance of the work done at this site.
Finally at the end of the path is the church where many families were having picnics and playing knights and princesses- I only wish I could have joined in! It’s a lovely old building with a few interesting votive carvings on some of the stones.
After excitedly dragging my poor family around every nook and cranny of the site we headed out behind the church and mill pond onto the Dales Way. This was a pleasant half hour stroll through the fields and with gorgeous views if the Dales which took us back to the road where we parked.
Despite being a small site in the middle of nowhere, Wharram Percy is a lovely place for an afternoon out, but I would recommend sensible shoes as the ground is a bit uneven in places and I can imagine would get muddy easily outside of summer time.