Wall Trail – Introduction


York still has most of the medieval walls that surrounded the city 700 years ago. The tops of these walls were partly rebuilt about 150 years ago so the public could walk along most of them –and feel safer by having a tall parapet on one side of them. Most think these are the best city walls in Britain, some say they give us the best city walk in Britain. In York –and in this guide –these are usually just called “The Walls”.  Locals also sometimes refer to “The Bar Walls”.   The walls you see today were mainly built in the 13th century of magnesian limestone and, uniquely  in England, were set on earthen ramparts.  York’s Roman Walls are mainly hidden in these ramparts.

York Minster beyond Lendal Bridge, viewed from the wall-walk. (AF)

This guide is to help you enjoy a circular walk that is on top of the Walls wherever possible.  This guide can also help you select particular bits of the Walls to walk on because there are about a dozen places where you can climb up to [or down from] the Walls. In this guide descriptions go clockwise on this “City Walls Trail” but the Walls can be walked in either direction.

Information here mainly explains what you can see but there are a few stories of the sort that could begin “if you had been here in ….”. These are for those who want to know what these walls have “seen” even if these events have left no obvious physical trace for you to see as you walk the Walls today.

Sadly, no section on top of the Walls is suitable for use in a wheel chair [there are steps to go up, then frequent steps and it’s too narrow for safe passing]; pushchairs create problems but occasionally people try to use them; dogs [other than guide dogs and assistance dogs] are banned.  If you do wish to follow York’s City Walls Trail from ground level then see the map  HERE  or image after MAP 1.   There are many sections where there are no railings on one side of the walk.  Young children should be supervised at all times.

The classic view of Bootham Bar by David Patrick (DP)


The route between the walks on the Walls is marked on the ground with small brass pavement studs showing a tower with battlements.

Pavement Stud
A typical pavement stud marking the walk (SM)


This studded route is mainly on the flat, and the steps that do exist are avoidable. This route can be made into a fairly flat full circuit of the Walls –nearly always by going along the pavement on the Walls side of the roads which ring the Walls; these roads are often busy, some bits of the pavement are busy too -but there is often a good view of the Walls. A short [but very good] part of the studded route goes through the Museum Gardens, entry to these is free [summer closing is at 8.00].

You can walk either way round the Walls (but the following pages go clockwise); you can get up to them by stone steps at the four main bars, at the 3 minor gateways, at the four other places where the wall-walk ends and, oddly, from a sort of large island in roads 200 metres east of the railway station.

If you have a smartphone or a tablet look out for the small A6 size QR cards which can be found at strategic wall-walk access places around the York City Walls Trail.  These QR cards are located on the large A1 Information Panels at :-

Bootham Bar     (bottom of the steps)
Monk Bar     (under the bar’s arch)
Layerthorpe Bridge     (bottom of the steps)
Red Tower     (on the tower wall)
Walmgate Bar     (bottom of the steps)
Fishergate Bar     (bottom of the steps)
Fishergate Postern Tower     (on the tower wall)
Tower Gardens (opposite Clifford’s Tower)
Baile Hill     (bottom of the steps)
Victoria Bar     (road outside the bar)
Micklegate Bar (2)     (outer wall at side of bar & bar’s inner wall)
Barker Tower     (wall at start of elevated wall-walk)
Multangular Tower     (inside Multangular Tower area)

Scan the QR codes to give links to the web pages relevant to their nearest wall-walk section(s).

For more information on the Walls Trail continue to The   Overview Section

The information here was first compiled in the spring of 2013 and is continually checked and updated. Please tell us if you discover any mistakes or changes.

Trail map 1

Map  1  –  The City Walls Trail and access to the wall-walk

Alternative Ground Level Route – when walls closed and wheelchair users

LINK to Ground Level Map as a PDF file – see  HERE 

The walls near to The Red Tower (AF)



Wall Trail:     –       map 1

DOWNLOAD  a PDF file version of this page  {to be added later}

NEXT SECTION           =       Wall Trail: Overview

The Trail:  Section 1. Bootham Bar                          [map 3 ]

The Trail:  Section 2. North Corner  (Bootham Bar to Monk Bar)

The Trail:  Section 3. Monk Bar                                  [map 4]

The Trail:  Section 4. East Corner, part1  (Monk Bar to the river Foss)

The Trail:  Section 5. East Corner, part2  (River Foss to the Red Tower)

The Trail:  Section 6. East Corner, part3  (Red tower to Walmgate Bar)

The Trail:  Section 7. Walmgate Bar                       [map 5]

The Trail:  Section 8. South Corner, part1  (Walmgate Bar to Fishergate Postern)

The Trail:  Section 9.South Corner, part2  (Fishergate Posern to the river Ouse)

The Trail:  Section 10. South Corner, part3  (River Ouse to Micklegate Bar)

The Trail:  Section 11. Micklegate Bar                    [map 6]

The Trail:  Section 12. West Corner, part1  (Micklegate Bar to the river Ouse)

The Trail:  Section 13. West Corner, part2  (River Ouse to Bootham Bar)

Wall Trail: Appendix   (with more on stonework, plants, notices, names, cafes & pubs, etc..)

Walls Trail: History & Time Line                                 [map 2]

Walls Trail: Glossary, Maps & Credits

Walls Trail: Contents & Links



AF     30 March 2020Long Top Banner with text

Layout, text and all content is copyright to the Friends of York Walls.
Any comments, errors/corrections, etc.  to   walks@yorkwalls.org.uk

A similar guide to this on-line guide is also in print, and sold for about £6.00
See “A Walking Guide to York’s City Walls”  by Simon Mattam. Eboru Publishing  – ISBN 978 0 9929002 0 5.
It was published in 2014,  but is updated on its Facebook page   HERE




%d bloggers like this: