Copmanthorpe was originally an agricultural community and villagers worked the land around for subsistence and to sell the excess for income. The villagers each had four plots of land, all grouped in fields in different locations around the village, with each plot farmed on an annual rotational basis, leaving one plot fallow each year. Four green ‘there and back’ lanes radiated out from the centre of the village to provide access to the various fields; Low Westfield Lane still exists more or less as it would have been two hundred years ago, whilst Moor Lane and Colton Lane still exist but have largely been incorporated into tarmacked public roads. This just leaves Yorkfield Lane, leading as it does to ‘York field’, on the left as you enter the village, and which continues to be farmed to this day. It then continued on to provide a route to the centre of York well before the A64 or the railways were built.
Yorkfield Lane still exists more or less in its entirety, starting from Low Green and can still be walked along its length through to York field itself and remains as a ‘green lane’ allowing access for the local farmer to the surrounding fields on both sides of the railway. When the housing estates on the east of the village were developed, two short sections of the Lane were tarmacked over and the lane crossed by Farmers Way, twice. One section was gated at either end to prevent vehicle access other than for farm vehicles, but pedestrian access was always maintained, latterly by a footpath running alongside the gated section. Recent negotiations with the local farmer resulted in the requirement to maintain sections of Yorkfield Lane for agricultural vehicle access only, no longer being necessary and permission was given by the farmer for the Parish Council to remove the gates and fencing and to open up this section of Yorkfield Lane for pedestrian access by the villagers once again
So what about the future? Since 2005 the Parish Council has been trying to get the agricultural designation removed and simply make Yorkfield Lane a public right of way along its entirety. This would allow the Parish Council, in conjunction with City of York Council, to put in a combined all-weather footpath and cycle/disability scooter track along the length of Yorkfield Lane extending from the bottom of Merchant Way to the proposed housing development on York field and beyond, thus providing a ‘green Lane’ route from the existing cycle track from York through to the centre of our village avoiding main roads.
It is hoped in future that the whole of Yorkfield Lane will be opened up and sections maintained and re-planted/rewilded, as a community project with involvement from groups such as the Scouts and to provide a useful community asset as well as a pleasant walk through the village for the benefit of all the community.