About our Parish

Foston and Thornton-le-Clay are villages in the Ryedale District of North Yorkshire, about 10 miles from York and 8 miles from Malton. These small villages lie about 1 mile apart on the northern edge of the Vale of York, alongside the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) where the hills begin to rise gently towards the North Yorkshire Moors to the north and the Yorkshire Wolds to the east. Although close to York and its extensive commuter villages, they are approached through quiet lanes bordered by agricultural land, trees and hedgerows.

The population of Foston is around 50 and of Thornton-le-Clay and outlying homesteads is around 170. The Parish Church for the villages is located in Foston, whilst there is a small village school, a pub, a village hall and a Methodist chapel in Thornton-le-Clay. Although the origin of the villages is agricultural, there is a wide range of occupations, and a number of small businesses including farms. There is a good number of retired people, and many others who commute to work in York or Malton or work at home.

Railway viewAlthough lying just outside the Howardian Hills AONB, the rural nature of Foston and Thorntonle-Clay and the surrounding countryside has much in common with the area within it. There is considerable open space surrounding the houses in the villages and these areas are used as gardens and paddocks on which you can see horses, sheep and other livestock grazing. In addition, many of the houses stand back from the village roads giving room for neat front gardens with grass verges and footpaths between the gardens and the roadway. All the land surrounding the villages is farmed or down to permanent pasture and some fields still retain the ancient ridge and furrow pattern that was created centuries ago. On the gently rising land from the south to the north, whereas once there was dairy farming, arable farming now predominates with the usual crops being wheat, barley, oil-seed rape and potatoes. Livestock farming concentrates on sheep with a small number of pigs. As well as farming there are a number of horse-racing establishments in the wider surrounding area, with the nearby town of Malton a major centre in the horse racing industry.