Finding the tallest standing stone in the UK

The downside of heading to the beach on a nice day is that everyone else has the same idea – so you can end up crawling along the roads feeling frazzled by the time you get to what was meant to be a relaxing day out.

One of the best things about the drive to Flamborough is that it takes you off the beaten track through some beautiful Wolds scenery – gentle rolling fields, big skies and some interesting little villages.

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If you read my recent post about South Landing in Flamborough you will remember there was a part two to the story. And that is where the tallest single standing stone in the UK comes in – it’s actually on the way to Flamborough in the graveyard of the church above.

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Rudston (on the B1253) is one of the oldest inhabited villages in England and as such it is steeped in history and definitely worth a stop off if you are on the way to the coast. It lies in the Gypsey Race valley, an intermittent stream that runs through several wolds villages. Folklore has it that when it flows, bad fortune is at hand. It flowed in the year before the great plague of 1664, the restoration of Charles II, and the landing of William of Orange

The huge monolith in the church yard of All Saints Church is 7.8 metres tall and 4,500 years old. It was possibly transported from Cayton Bay (a big enough feat now let alone back then) and even has a dinosaur footprint half way up it.

There’s an excellent visitor centre inside the church which gives lots of information about the history of Rudston – including its curcus monuments, the monolith, a roman villa, mosaics and Thorpe Hall Estate.

Rudston is also in the heart of Winifred Holtby country. Winifred was a journalist and author of South Riding, the story of a poor Yorkshire village in the 1930s depression (it was televised in 2011 starring Anna Maxwell Martin). Her grave is one of a few interesting ones to see in the churchyard. As you can see, sadly, she died very young.

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Another interesting story is the connection that the Macdonald of the Isles clan had with Rudston. The family, who lived at Thorpe Hall, are also buried here. You can read about their links to the village here.

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Rudston is just one of the many hidden gems of the Yorkshire Wolds – so if you’ve crossed the border from North to East Yorkshire and you find yourself driving along the B1253, slow down, pull over and take a wander in this lovely part of the world. You won’t be disappointed.

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