York has many alleyways and 'pedestrian only' streets which date from medieval times. Many of these go un-noticed by tourists and citizens of York alike. In his excellent book 'A Walk around the Snickelways of York' Mark W Jones has sought to bring these alleyways to our attention coining the term 'Snickelway' in the process. He writes that he has taken bits of 'Snicket', 'Ginnel' and 'Alleyway' to compose the word 'Snickelway'. Following the guidance set out in the book will give the reader an alternative to exploring historic York rather than the more well trodden routes. I heartily recommend this little book but please note that I have no connection whatsoever with the author or publisher.
Mr Jones' book records c. 48 'Snickelways' some of which are easily photographed, others less so. I have attempted a simple look at a number of them. The numbers in the text relate to the numbering in Mark Jones' book. One brief word on security. York is no better or worse, when it comes to petty crime, than other cities. I have never personally encountered any problems but it does make sense to explore the less populated Snickelways with a companion just to be sure.
The starting point of your walk is outside the art gallery in Exhibition Square. This is a busy area so take care as you cross over to Bootham Bar (seen left) Pass through Bootham Bar and find yourself in High Petergate (photo right). Now begins the walk proper as immediately leaving the Bar the 'Hole in the Wall' pub will be seen to your left. (Sorry but there are too many lefts and rights on this page.)
On the far left is (1) 'The Hole in the Wall' which has indeed a hole in its' wall and which is the entrance to the snickelway running from High Petergate and out to Precentor's Court. This nice view of the Minster greets you from the end of the snickelway. Turning left out of Precentor's Court brings you to (2) Deans Park and a view of the remains of the 13th century former Archbishops Palace and which now serves as the Minster library.
Turn left past the Treasurers House and you find yourself in (3) Chapter House Street (right). Follow the street down and turn right in to Ogleforth.
Walk down Ogleforth and across Goodramgate you will see (4.1) Bedern Passage (photo left) through which appears the remains of the Chapel of the Vicars Choral.
Walking on down Bedern Path (5) you pass through modern flats but take a slight detour to see (4.2) Bedern Hall which was once the dining hall of the Vicars Choral in the 14th century.
Bedern. Left the Chapel of the Vicars Choral. Centre Bedern Hall and right the end of (5) Bedern Path covered in new build.
As you emerge from Bedern turn right and then left into (6) Penny Lane (photo far left) taking the horseshoe path around St. Andrew's Hall which will then return you to (7) St. Andrewgate. Turn left up St. Andrewgate and a short walk will find you in King's Square but resist the temptation to walk into the Shambles.
Cross King's Square and take a left into (8) Newgate (photo right) and then into (9) Patrick Pool. (photo second right) At the end of Patrick Pool turn left and then right into St. Sampson's Square. Once in the square pass down (10) Three Cranes Lane next to the pub of that name.
Directly exiting the Three Cranes Lane turn left and then cross the road to (11) Mad Alice Lane. At the end of the lane cross the road and enter (12) Hornpot Lane which will take you into the church yard of the 13th century Holy Trinity Church. The path across it being known as (13) Tong's Court. Take a while to look inside this ancient church.
Leaving the churchyard and turning left pass up Goodramgate until you reach its' junction with Deangate. (14) College Street runs off this junction. Pass in front of St Williams' College (right) and bear left past the eastern end of the Minster.
You will find yourself walking along (15) Queens Path. (right) Cross Minster Yard and enter (16) Minster Gates. (Below left.)
This view of (16) Minster Gates looks back the 'wrong way'. If you were to follow the book you would enter from the Minster end! The photo was taken at the junction of High and Low Petergate, (16) Minster Gates and (17) Stonegate. (right)
Walking down (17) Stonegate (right) with some attractive shops you will see the sign, for Ye Olde Starre Inn, which crosses the street. You can just make out the sign in the distance in this photo.
As you reach the Inn sign glance to your left and you will see the Red Devil sitting at the entrance to (18) Coffee Yard.
Walk down (18) Coffee Yard and you will see that it opens out to the patio in front of Barley Hall, a stunning medieval townhouse. It's well worth a visit if you have time. You actually can't see it in the photo on the left but it is there - trust me! Mind your head when you exit Coffee Yard.