'Memory Walks' for the Alzheimer's Society take place this month. Mark Rowe strides out in East Yorkshire

Charity walks have long been a popular means of fund-raising. One of the longest standing is the Memory Walk, established by the Alzheimer's Society in the United States in 1989.

The first Memory Walk in the UK took place in 2002, and this year, the society has organised 120 walks, most of which will take place on Sunday 24 September, the closest Sunday to Alzheimer's day, on 21 September.

Memory Walks are accessible for people with dementia and their carers but the Alzheimer's Society also encourages people to organise their own walk. More than 750,000 people in the UK have dementia; more than half of these have Alzheimer's disease. Dementia affects one in 20 people over the age of 65, and one in five over the age of 80. There are also 18,500 people in the UK under the age of 65 with dementia. "Early detection is picking up people with dementia in their 40s and 50s," said Clara Ramsey, the Hull and East Riding branch manager of the Alzheimer's Society.

Memory Walks are usually short and wheelchair accessible. The walk described here takes in a half-mile route around Burnby Hall Gardens in the market town of Pocklington, East Yorkshire. However, heeding the suggestion of the charity, I then struck out into the countryside with Clara on a route she had researched.

The route around Burnby Hall's Victorian gardens begins at the main entrance and takes in two lakes and a dovecote. There are good facilities for disabled people and a children's play area for youngsters of all abilities. After leaving the gardens, walk through the car park and bear right towards the town centre. At a fork in the road, bear left by the New Street sign and pass the HSBC bank before turning right into Market Street.

You then bear right along Union Street, passing the Church of St Mary and St Joseph and keep straight ahead on the London Road. After 150m, turn left up Target Lane and take the left fork along the paved road to go behind some houses. Cross the road to a gravel track and walk uphill, following the signposted Chalkland Way.

This is classic walking territory, the Wolds Way and Minster Way criss-cross the area, as do many Roman roads, and, as the signpost implies, chalkland rather than moorland is the predominant landform. At the top of the brow, by a telephone mast, bear right along a grassy track, with a golf course to your left. At the corner of the golf course turn left, and left again, and keep straight ahead with the golf course still on your left.

When this track ends, continue along the edge of the golf course until you reach a small bridge. Don't cross the bridge but keep ahead, striking out across the golf course (there is a public right of way), and aim just to the left of the three oak trees. Once past the trees, look for the fingerpost by a gap in the fence and turn left on to the road.

The route now begins a steady, winding climb uphill, with cornfields on your left, passing Olde Home Farm on the right. After a mile, the road bears left but the route continues straight ahead uphill. The attractive Jenny Firkin wood lies to your right. Keep straight ahead to a T-junction and turn left and, another 100m further, left again. Follow the field boundary as it sweeps to the right above the village of Millington. Many fields here are part of a countryside stewardship scheme, where six metres of field edge are left uncultivated to encourage wildlife.

After 800m, turn left over a stile, signposted for the Minster Way, and drop downhill through two gates. After 400m, the main track sweeps to the right, instead turn left downhill to reach a boarded track. Cross the stile and Millington beck and continue along the boards and up the gravel track. At the T-junction turn right along the road to a crossroads. Go across and begin climbing again. At the next crossroads go straight ahead on to the public bridleway. The path winds through a farm, after which you keep ahead on a signposted track between two fields. Go through the gate and drop steeply down the hill to another gate, where you keep ahead along the track through farmland until you reach the enchanting Church of St Ethelburga, probably named after the seventh-century Queen of Northumbria. The church is a gem, with a chancel arch dating to 1150 and a number of 13th-century windows.

After leaving the church, turn right up to a gate and then bear left along the road. While the OS map suggests alternative walks across fields, it seems easiest to keep to the road for the pleasant three-mile walk back to Pocklington. Like many of the small roads in the area, this quiet lane only serves small hamlets and is unlikely to cause you any problems.

Map OS: Explorer 294

Distance: Eight miles

Time: Four hours

Mark Rowe travelled with Virgin Trains (08457 222 333; virgintrains.co.uk) to York. For information on bus travel between York to Pocklington, see eyms.co.uk/. For more information on the Memory Walks, contact the Alzheimer's Society (0845 300 0336; alzheimers.org. uk/memorywalk)

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