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Country walk around Rosedale
GEORGE WILKINSON sets himself up for six miles at Rosedale with a hearty Yorkshire lunch served in an extra-sized grouse butt.
ROSEDALE’S head is a lovely and very interesting place to explore and so, despite being parked up near the Lion Inn, we denied ourselves their beer and classic nosh and dropped straight into the valley, appetite sharpened for the route, gratification deferred.
After a track or two and a pasture or two, we crossed the fresh stream that becomes the River Seven and, up a little, reached the Dale Head Tea Garden at Dale Head Farm, and Maggie. She will set you up for this walk.
Walkers and all sat in a sunshine half circle, in an extra-sized grouse butt with a wooden inserted seat, and enjoying the view down the valley. Birdwatchers chatted about wheatears; china cups and saucers rested nicely on tables of sandstone gateposts.
I can recommend, of the ‘farmhouse fodder’, the Yorkshire Savoury in brown bread fingers, tasty, veggie and with sound thick fingers of homemade bread. Maggie was out of her funeral biscuits, stamped with a heart, and her Moggies, which are ginger ones and also biscuits. My navigator consumed with relish her egg mayonnaise sandwich, made with local eggs, more of which later.
Fuelled tastily and traditionally, we popped up to the 150-year-old railway line, on its anniversary, where the track bed, on its loop round Rosedale, takes you dramatically across the steep and deeply cut head of High Gill.
A cyclist cruised by, a lovely thing to do here. The friendly little wheatears flashed white tails.
You’ll have seen the ironstone mining remains from across the valley. The 16 regular arches of the South ‘Stone’ Kilns look so good. The others, the North ‘Iron’ Kilns, are more massive up front, like a wall of Moorish castle, with iron claws.
We tracked on, overlooking a mature section of the valley and then dipped into scrub; this acted as cover for very free-range hens, ducks sunned on a bank and there was a moorhen interloper.
And we’d reached Hill Cottages, a terrace of a dozen made for miners; a couple are for sale. The Moorsbus comes here, halfway up the valley from Rosedale Abbey.
After a complex of more holiday cottages we were by the beck again. Under the bridge the banks seep red. And then the climb, of 600 feet, and this is where you’ll be glad of Maggie’s fare. At first the gradient was sweet, with meadows, the intense purple of foxgloves and the purple-tinged Yorkshire fog grass, like “smoke and heather” wrote Richard Mabey.
The bracken band is steep but with fair paths up the rough flank. But then you reach the railway track bed, a guaranteed super-smooth stroll or stride for the one mile back, headed north.
When in doubt look at the map. Check your position at each point. Keep straight on unless otherwise directed.
1. From parking area at Blakey Junction (with Farndale road), path/track (fingerpost Rosedale) down across moor to old railway line (Blakey Junction info board), right on railway line for ten yards, path on left downhill at short yellow post (no sign).
2. Right to track. Fieldgate and left to metalled drive, 50 yards, left by house, 20 yards, fieldgate (fingerpost) to track. By barn.
3. On left-hand bend and before house, fieldgate/wallstile on right (fingerpost) and diagonally left downhill and head for dip in trees. Gated footbridge, 1 o’clock uphill, fieldgate (waymark), gate (fingerpost).
4. Left to road up to Dale Head Farm. Across grass on right before stone barn for ten yards (fingerpost Gt. Fryup Dale), fieldgate, track to right of large barn uphill, gate by wood (access sign).
5. Right to old railway line. Ignore a lesser left fork uphill and pass below main mine structures. Left then right to skirt ruins and machines near farm. Fieldgate (waymark on side) and track downhill through farm.
6. Right to road, drive on left (Craven Garth Cottage sign), pass holiday cottages (waymark to right on post), into farmyard at metal gates (waymark), downhill, metal gate/fieldgate out, downhill through field by fence to your right, fieldgate (waymark), 10 yards, path 11 o’clock down bank in trees 50 yards.
7. Gated footbridge, path uphill, stile/fieldgate (waymark), cross track, fieldgate (waymark), ignore fieldgate on right to house, stile/gateway near corner (waymark). 8. Ladderstile/fieldgate (waymark) to path ahead through bracken for 100 yards, left uphill just before fingerpost, and 100 yards before gate to farm. From here to the railway line we could not follow the public right of way so used this access land route instead. Ignore a lesser left fork. Path ahead at peaty junction. Right where steep sandy/stone bank ahead on grass path through bilberry for 100 yards, becomes track, loops left uphill and becomes sunken track angling uphill.
9. Right to old railway line and rejoin outward route.
Distance: Six miles.
General location: North York Moors.
Right of way: Public and permissive.
Date walked: June 2011.
Road route: Via Hutton-le-Hole.
Car parking: Car parks at road junction.
Refreshments: Tea garden, Lion Inn.
Tourist and public transport information: Helmsley TIC 01439 770173.
Map: Drawn from OL Explorer OL26 North York Moors western area.
Please observe the Country Code and park sensibly. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, walkers set out at their own risk.