|Thirsk and Malton
Westow is a village in the East Riding of Yorkshire. It stands in the lee of Spy Hill, bordering the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, three miles from the A64 road linking Leeds to the east coast, five miles west of the town of Malton, and fifteen miles east of the city of York.
The village has traditional associations with agriculture and is a popular sporting area in the summer. There are regular Pétanque tournaments in the village involving teams from all over Yorkshire. Westow has a village cricket team with records dating back to 1875.
The civil parish also includes the hamlets of Firby and Kirkham. The population of the civil parish was 339 in the 2011 Census. Neighboring villages are Crambe, Whitwell-on-the-Hill, Welburn, Howsham, Leavening and Burythorpe.
Parish records of graves dating back to 1500s build a view of a small community established for the purpose of agriculture. It is highly likely the village origins are older than this as the Ryedale area has significant evidence of Mediæval and Roman settlement and activity. In all probability the location of Westow was originally chosen and occupied at a time when farming techniques were undeveloped and people were highly dependent on the natural environment and what it could provide. Westow is surrounded by fertile soils with good irrigation, and in the lee of the hill is partly sheltered from north and easterly winds. These characteristics are likely to have led to the location of Westow being chosen for settlement. Today as throughout the centuries, for some residents village life continues to revolve around farming and agriculture, or providing services those living in the area. With improved mobility and opportunities for remote work, others have chosen Westow for the country living, commute to towns and cities for work or work from home, whilst others have retired into the area.
Abput the village
Nearby are several sites of interest:
- Kirkham Priory, on the banks of the Derwent River;
- Castle Howard, a stately home;
- Wharram Percy, a deserted mediæval village;
- Sheriff Hutton, with Richard III's seat and the tomb of Edward of Middleham, Prince of Wales;
- Stamford Bridge, the scene of the Norsemen's defeat in 1066;
- Howsham Mill, the restored water-mill that used to serve Howsham Hall;
- Yorkshire Air Museum;
- Hovingham Hall, the childhood home of the Duchess of Kent;
Point-to-point racing takes place annually at Whitwell-on-the-Hill to the West of the village and is a popular, well-attended event.
The village is a popular way point for cyclists, motorcyclists and drivers as from the A64 road it is on the edge of excellent driving roads stretching from Beverley across to Helmsley and to Whitby on the Yorkshire coast.
The village is also in military low-flying airspace zone (LFA12). On week days the sight of all types of military aircraft on training missions is a frequent and spectacular occurrence. Most frequent are the Short Tucanos from RAF Linton-on-Ouse.
Second World War
During the Second World War, Kirkham Priory was used for large scale trials of D-Day wading and amphibious vehicles by the British Army and was visited secretly by Winston Churchill and King George VI. Women's Land Army civilians were billeted in the village.
Bombs were dropped close to Firby Hall by a German aircraft. In October 1942 a German Aircraft was hit by ground defence fire during a low level attack on Driffield aerodrome. It crash landed on Richmond Farm, Duggleby with one fatality.
A Halifax Bomber crashed on a training flight near Greets Farm, Welburn in 1942, and a P-51 Mustang crashed at Fotherdale Farm near Thixendale in 1945.
Many evacuees from Kingston upon Hull, which was heavily bombed during the Second World War, were housed with Westow families.
| ("Wikimedia Commons" has material