If you are planning a real-world visit to York's City Walls, please note the following:
- The City Walls and the associated wall-top walk are managed and maintained by York City Council. The practical information provided here has been obtained from the interpretation panels installed at the various Wall Walk access points and it is provided here in good faith to help visitors plan their visit. All questions, concerns or complaints relating to the City Walls and the associated wall-top walk should be directed to York City Council (see External Links below).
- The wall-top walkways along the City Walls are open daily from 08:00 to dusk, except for Christmas Day (December 25th) and when icy underfoot conditions are expected.
- All but one of the access points for the wall-top walkways involve the use of steps (the exception being the ramped access point from Station Road, near Lendal Bridge). There are also steps at regular intervals along all three sections of the wall-top walkway.
- The wall-top walkway is very narrow and many sections have unguarded drops on the city side.
- For the reasons listed above,
- the wall-top walkways are NOT suitable for wheelchairs, mobility scooters, prams or pushchairs,
- great care must be taken to ensure the safety of children,
- cycling is not permitted, and
- the City Council has banned dogs (except for assistance dogs) from all parts of the wall-top walkway.
- The main circuit of the Wall Walk is 2.88 miles long. At a brisk pace without stops, it can be completed in 45 minutes. However, at a more moderate pace (with time to read the notes and enjoy the view) it is likely to take between one and two hours. The St Mary's Abbey defences loop adds an extra 0.66 miles (15 to 30 minutes).
- The most popular (and therefore the busiest) sections of the Wall Walk are:
A brief note about stone
Most of York's historic defensive structures are constructed from Magnesian Limestone. In the language of geologists, this is a magnesium-rich dolomitic limestone sourced from the "Upper Permian Cadeby formation". There are no sources of this stone (or, indeed, any other good quality building stone) in the Vale of York, so stone had to be sourced from further afield. As stone is both bulky and extremely heavy (making it difficult to transport overland in large quantities), quarries located close to navigable rivers would have been the preferred option. As stone was a tradeable commodity, availability and purchase price would also have been important considerations. In the medieval period, two powerful families with significant links to York (the De Percy family and the Vavasour family) owned quarries near the River Wharfe, between Tadcaster and Bramham. As a consequence, the vast majority of the stone used for York's historic defensive structures (e.g. Clifford's Tower and the city walls) was obtained from this area. The quarries are approximately 10 miles southwest of York as the crow flies, but the route via local roads and the rivers Wharfe and Ouse involves a slightly more circuitous journey of approximately 30 miles.