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Helmsley is the only market town within the North York Moor National Park. It is situated on the River Rye on the A170 road, 14 miles (23 km) east of Thirsk, 13 miles (21 km) west of Pickering and some 24 miles (39 km) due north of York.
It is probably the prettiest town that I have ever visited. There is a castle, a walled garden and a fabulous market square. It really is a step back in time and so quintessentially English. Everywhere there are flowers galore – outside every shop there are beautiful hanging baskets and tubs of flowers of every type and colour; it is easy to see why Helmsley is a popular tourist destination.
Before we set out on the town trail we filled our bellies up with a wonderful breakfast at The Feathers Hotel, one of our TOG partners. The hotel is a very old building – dating back to 1782 and retains many of its origin features.
Though none of the bedrooms are wheelchair accessible, the reception, bar area and restaurant are. The Feathers Hotel is in the market place and so makes an ideal starting point for our walk.
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The walk is only about a mile in length but allow plenty of time to explore the town. On the market place there are so many little shops… a butcher, a baker… is there a candlestick maker? Yes, there is… handcrafted from the Blacksmith!
There are public toilets (RADAR) just off the square.
The trail leads you on towards Helmsley Castle. Much of the castle is wheelchair accessible, with a manual chair available for hire. The castle is now owned by English Heritage.
The paths from the castle leads on through a carpark and onto the Walled Garden. Here there is a lovely garden shop and café. The walled garden is absolutely beautiful with every colour of flower possible. There are lots of little paths which take you to every corner of the garden. A great place to explore.
Following the little back streets of Helmsley you will finish up back in the market place. It is a smashing little walk that takes in the sights, culture and history of Helmsley.
The walk is all on the flat and ideal for any type of wheelchair. It may be necessary to check out places for drop kerbs in one or two spots, but generally the kerbs are wide and easy to access.