The University of York Outdoor Society

Outdoor Society


This walk offers a range of farmland, moorland and woodland, around the setting of a beautiful village.

The charming and peaceful village of Swainby, divided by its tree-lined stream, gives few hints of its dramatic past. It owes its existence to tragedy, the coming of plague - Black Death - in the fourteenth century, when the inhabitants of the original village, just up the hill at Whorlton, deserted their homes and moved here. There may already have been a few houses here as Swainby village means the village of the land workers, and is recorded in the 13th century. In the 19th century, Swainby was shocked out of its peaceful, rural existence by the opening of the ironstone mines in Scugdale. The village took on many aspects of an American frontier town, becoming full of miners and their equipment, and awash with smoke and clatter.

A view around Swainby