York Walks /3

Clifton footpaths – part 2

Photographed in July 2004

This footpath follows an old right of way through Clifton. Locally shortcuts such as this are often called "snickets". This section of path is part of what Mark W Jones, in the famous "Snickelways" book, calls "York's longest snicket". It cuts through residential streets and schools, and past playing fields and hedges. It's an obvious indication that for as long as anyone can remember, people wanted to walk this way.

  Clifton Snickelway

In an attempt to illustrate the line of this path, I took photographs from St Olave's School to the point where the footpath meets Clifton Green. Getting carried away with enthusiasm, and following the route in the Snickelways book, I also went in the other direction, and continued from St Olave's School to St Olave's Church on Marygate. (This has had to be included on a separate page, as otherwise this one would get far too long. It might be York's longest snicket, but I don't want this to be the world's longest web page.)

  Clifton Snickelway, between school grounds

This is a favoured walk home if you live in Clifton, or further out in Rawcliffe, as it follows a reasonably straight line and gets you home without much diverging. Though also to its advantage is the fact that if you do want to divert off, for example if you realise you need an indigestion remedy from the chemist on Clifton (I've often found I did, on the way home from work), you can branch off on one of the many streets and other footpaths that this route crosses.

  Snickelway barriers – I think they're trying to deter you from cycling down here

At this point we meet a junction, where another path joins. Until 2006 we could turn off here and walk through the handsome buildings of St Peter's School. Now we can't as it's no longer a public footpath. See Clifton footpaths – part 1.

  A junction of the snickets and a possible parting of the ways
Slight bend in a generally straight route   Clifton Snickelway

On this occasion, we're turning left, skirting the swimming pool building and continuing on our merry way down the footpath, past a fine old tree. This tarmac path looks like it's wanting us to go that way, and we can if we like, meeting the end of Westminster road and another piece of footpath that takes us towards the river. I might have to cover that another time.

On this journey we're taking the less defined pathway that skirts the other side of this triangular piece of grass (here pictured from the other end, just to confuse you, because I had to get that tree in. Lovely, isn't it.)

You might want to pause here and have a cup of tea and a sandwich, as York's longest snicket goes on a bit longer. On second thoughts you might be put off by the dog-poo bin, just off camera. (I try to present an honest view of York, but I didn't want to spoil this tranquil view.)

  Grassed area alongside Clifton Snickelway at the end of Westminster Road, Clifton
Clifton snickelway  

So here we are again, back en route. Near the end of Westminster Road, we see a diverging of the ways. The right-hand fork heads into the St Peter's grounds.

Perhaps they'll want to close off this part too, and any other bit of land adjacent to their grounds. So walk along here while you can . . .

A meandering section of Clifton snickelway  

The footpath continues through more open areas, where it takes on a more meandering quality. I once read that paths that form where people make a route that suits them – maybe a short cut – are known as "desire lines".

Clifton Snickelway   A well-worn route, enhanced by exuberant ivy

It passes the end of several streets, and continues between high walls. I'm not sure which way we're facing on these photos, but either way features these lovely old weathered brick walls, presumably all built around properties that respected old rights of way and fitted around them.

Snickelway crossing the street of Clifton Dale


The footpath meets the street of Clifton Dale, and cuts right across, as is obvious from this photo, and continues on the other side.

Clifton Snickelway, running towards town between high walls

  Clifton Snickelway

In this section between high walls, it develops an insistent and determined feel, and in this last part there's no opportunity to leave it, and you might wonder where you're going to end up.

A relief then, to find yourself emerging just beside Clifton Green, with its horse trough, trees and open space.

It's visible on the photo, right, but you do have to cross the road to get to it, and so please take care and don't just rush across without looking. I don't want you to sue me for any injuries, as I'm just a poor webmaster.

  Clifton Snickelway where it meets Clifton Green

Having reached Clifton, you might want to look at the page about it: York Walks /3 : Bits of Clifton.