One of the world’s most famous contemporary artists, David Hockney born in Bradford in July 1937, saw huge success in two 2012 art exhibitions at the Royal Academy of Arts in London and at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne. Both exhibitions featured landscapes of the Yorkshire Wolds by Hockney but the artist had long before been fascinated by the Yorkshire Wolds. His friend and founder of Salts Mill – Jonathan Silver – was the first to encourage him to paint the Wolds in 1997.
Hockney returned again to the area in 2002, sketching and experimenting in water colours. He then moved out into the open landscape and began to produce his large scale oil paintings culminating in his magnificent ‘Bigger Trees near Warter’ (2007), now part of the Tate collection. Hockney’s Yorkshire Wolds landscapes have been exhibited all over the world, from Bilbao to Cologne – come and discover the East Yorkshire landscape that inspired David Hockney for yourself!
The gentle East Yorkshire landscape of the Wolds that inspired David Hockney centre around the road between Bridlington to York which Hockney travelled along for three months in 1997 on his regular trips visiting his very ill friend Jonathan Silver of Salts Mill. He went on to paint his first Yorkshire Wolds landscapes – ‘The Road Across the Wolds’ and ‘Garrowby Hill’.
Off the Beaten Track – The David Hockney Trail
Move off the beaten track into the Yorkshire Wolds to discover Hockney’s Wolds which in the early summer months is awash with hawthorn blossom. This is a working, cultivated landscape renowned for its ‘Big Skies’, and relatively flat by rural Yorkshire standards. Several key locations have inspired and are associated with Hockney:-
Stamford Bridge to Thixendale
Begin on the A166 at Stamford Bridge which is only 8 miles East of York. Carry on east along the A166 (which is actually an old Roman Road) towards Garrowby Hill. Move to the top of the Hill and if you look backwards across the Vale of York you will see the view that Hockney depicted. The pretty, peaceful Wolds village of Thixendale is a top spot from which to get on to the Yorkshire Wolds Way! Travel around a mile eastwards on the road to Fimber and just prior to the junction you’ll see the ‘Three Trees near Thixendale’ – Hockney’s focus for a whole series of paintings.
Fridaythorpe to Warter
Next stop on the Hockney Trail is Fridaythorpe – moving back on to the A166, west then head south to explore villages towards Warter. As a young boy Hockney worked in the fields around Huggate in the summers of 1952 and 1953. Beyond Huggage, continue on through scenic sweeping Millington Dale to Warter. The site where Hockney painted his masterpiece – the 50 canvas ‘Bigger Trees near Warter’ is just 2 miles east of Warter village.
Warter to Bridlington
Heading north from Warter to North Dalton and onward to Wetwan, you’ll then reach Hockney’s favourite village Sledmere which he painted in the late 1970s. The artist also often visits beautiful Sledmere House. Then it’s on to the B1253 Bridlington Road, and after around 3 miles take a right towards Langtoft, pushing towards Kilham, the site for a series of films and tunnel paintings. Then head to Rudstone off the B1253 which has a famous monolith. Alternatively follow the route of old Woldgate – an ancient routeway between Kilham and Bridlington which has featured in many of Hockney’s paintings including ‘Winter Timber’. Hockney also painted various scenes from the walled garden at nearby Burton Agnes Hall.
The Yorkshire Wolds is just a few miles east of York and west of Bridlington. Both are ideal holiday or short break bases from which to head off on a day trip exploring the Hockney Trail. Alternatively stay in the beautiful market towns and villages in and around the Wolds such as Beverley, Pocklington, Stamford Bridge, Driffield, Malton and Hunmanby!
Both Malton and York boast great rail links – York is on the fast East Coast Mainline and Malton is on the TransPennine Express route from Liverpool and Manchester. Driffield (Northern Rail) also has rail connections to Hull and Scarborough. EYMS bus services operated extensively across the Wolds making it easy to move around and to leave the car behind!
Where to Stay
Browse and book from our superb and extensive collection of holiday cottages, caravan parks and charming B&Bs in the Yorkshire Wolds – perfect for a walking weekend or holiday touring market towns, farmers’ markets and stately homes. Whether you’re looking for a cottage right on the David Hockney Trail in Stamford Bridge or a beautiful B&B in Fimber – find these and more listed below and book online or direct.
Michelle is an experienced travel writer with iknow and has travelled extensively across the UK, Spain, Portugal and the USA. When she’s not busy writing for iknow she enjoys spending time touring museums and art galleries and seeking out the best independent shops in Manchester and Leeds.