11:15am Saturday 12th December 2009
By George Wilkinson
GREAT Broughton sits on the flat lands just a mile and a half from the Cleveland Hills. And a pleasant stroll to them it was, from the happy sounds of winter football, via a dead thrush, over little streams, along field margins, pale grass blowing in the westerly and with gunfire upfront.
All that, however, was but a distraction from the escarpment that filled the sky ahead, looming in silhouette, the sun only an inch from the tops, rounded tops with between them smooth saddles except for the pillars and blocks of the Wainstones.
Bank Lane brought us to the base of Broughton Bank at noon and delivered shadow for the 500ft climb.
In the belt of larch trees, a shooting party was dispatching pheasants; not a corporate shoot mind, these were farmers etcetera. They walked and we followed as they moved higher up the tracks; then we left them for some steep steps, and a gentler finish through oaks and beech.
At the top there’s a junction of routes. Rock climbers from Spennymoor were heading for the pitches on the Wainstones, where there is a 25ft route on the Steeple named Chop Yat Ridge and the 30ft of the Girdle will twist you up the Needle.
A photographer from the Stokesley Photographic Society took his new Canon on to Cold Moor and said that Joe Cornish, the president of that club, was going digital.
We spurned the Cleveland Way, that would have meant another climb, and instead hugged the forest; a nice track that brought us out into the open for the big views, not so wide as if we’d done the extra 400 feet, but smashing nevertheless.
Sun shone softly on the plains and caught some of the Teesside chimneys and Roseberry Topping.
Actually we had reached the Cleveland Way where it dips. We stood on the way for one step, noticed it rearing skyward, and eyed up the start of our descent, an unnamed track, hoping it would be good.
It did the biz, curving down and in style with a long length of worn flags or trod and pairs of small posts, all in sandstone.
A motorcyclist overtook. We’d watched him, a fine rider, quarter the escarpment and display his measure of the steps.
We were down, with the strollers on another back lane, and then cut over ridge and furrow pasture and through some Woodland Trust woods where the smooth silver bark of the birch caught the sun, and we had the last glow.
Over this woodpigeon moved like butterflies, safer to circulate now the shotguns were silent.
In Great Broughton, by the picturesque twice bridged and forded beck, a bride in white awaited the arrangements of the photographer. The groom said: “Have you any gloves?”, but declined my offer of a headband.
Distance: Five-and-a-half miles.
General location: Cleveland Hills.
Start: Great Broughton.
Right of way: Public and Open Access (forestry and Woodland Trust).
Date walked: December 2009.
Road route: Via Stokesley.
Car parking: Roadside in Great Broughton.
Refreshments: The Jet Miners Inn, the Bay Horse, the Wainstones Hotel.
Tourist and public transport information: Great Ayton TIC 01642 722835.
Map: Drawn from OS Explorer OL26 North York Moors western.
Terrain: Escarpment and plain.
Difficulty: Steep ascent.
Please observe the Country Code and park sensibly. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, walkers set out at their own risk.
When in doubt look at the map. Check your position at each point.
Keep straight on unless otherwise directed.
1. From roundabout, Kirkby Lane, bridge, 100 yards, stile on left (waymark),1 o’clock across field, 2 stiles in corner (waymark) and left by hedge to your left, 3 consecutive stiles.
2. Join track by conifers, pass yard gates, path between hedges, pass Wainstones Wood (Woodland Trust), three consecutive stiles (waymarks). Cross field and right by stream and trees.
3. Gated footbridge on left (waymark), fenced path, stile (waymark) and, with stream and house to your right, 50 yards across field then sharp left to indentations of old grass track near hedge to your left. Three consecutive fieldgates, yard, fieldgate.
4. Right to dead-end road.
5. Track uphill (fingerpost, bridleway). At junction cross track to steps up bank (no sign), steep steps.
6. Right to grassy track, gently uphill.
7. At top of wood right to wood edge track with wall to left.
8. At end of wood, gate (notices and waymarks) dip to bridge and 20 yards to two free standing stone posts and immediately track on right downhill. Fieldgate, pavestones. Pass buildings, fieldgate, join dead-end road.
9. Stile/fieldgate on right (fingerpost) immediately after Manor Farm. Stile to path through trees (waymark), stile out, cross field for 200 yards then fork left 50 yards.
10. Fence gap into Wainstones Wood, 50 yards, left before bench to wide grass track, right at junction before conifers, grassy track curves left then straight on between birch woods.
11. Fence gap (Woodland Trust sign) and left to outward route.
12. Stay on gravel track from right-hand bend, curves left and down to stream, path to left of stream, road back to start.
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