Victoria Ellis discovers a mobile phone is an essential piece of kit for lone walkers

There were walkers about but the goose presiding over West Ayton's village green was hardly welcoming, very protective and advancing with lots of hissing. I gave a bit of ground and the bird lost interest like the ducks and with a bit of peace I could admire a lovely old mill building.

I decided to leave the fourteenth century basement remains of Ayton Castle until later.

The way up is north along the wooded western edge of Forge Valley. These woods dip steeply and sometimes I could look over the autumn tops. I was a shade too early for colour, and a sharp frost will drop some leaves and improve the views.

At the northern end you can see the valley that contains the Scalby Cut, taking water from the River Derwent to the sea.

Approaching the top of my walk I was waffling into my tape recorder about mushrooms. There had been a puffball big enough for ten-pin bowling. On tape is the start of a monologue on how Victorians would take just a slice of the fungus leaving the rest. This is interrupted by pitiful cries - 'Oh! Oh!! ...sob, sob...sob', then thankfully not quite silence. My fleecy headband may well have cushioned my head a little from the impact with the drystone wall (a rare portion of wall here).

If I blamed the distraction of the tape recorder for the fall, then I was glad of the mobile phone, and the doctor's reassurance that I sounded serviceable. Nevertheless I set up a friend to monitor me and headed for home, and struck lucky, hitching a lift in a 4x4 back down to West Ayton.

So I missed Ayton Castle and a little exploration of the woods that are a nature reserve with some permissive paths (the riverside ones are under repair). Nor can I fully describe the walk back down the road, having been in the back seat nursing my pride rather than my head.

Certainly Cockrah Road is virtually traffic free. The views are south over the Carrs, the wetlands where the River Derwent flows.


When in doubt look at the map. Check your position at each point. Keep straight on unless otherwise directed.

1. From River Derwent road bridge, right to Mill Lane, right to Yedmandale road, right at crossroads at edge of village (viewbench on left).

2. Grassy track on right immediately after caravan site (signed).

3. Left by trees at edge of valley.

4. At right-hand bend, dip into wood and follow path inside top edge of wood that winds around top of valley. Pass fieldgate on left, 10 yards on track, then up bank to rejoin wood-edge path.

5. Left at farm buildings (3-way signpost).

6. Left to road (dead-end) and back to village.

Fact file:

Distance: Four miles.

Time: Two hours.

General location: Three miles inland from Scarborough.

Start: The village of West Ayton.

Right of way: The complete route is along public rights of way.

Date walked: Saturday, October 27, 2001.

Road route: From York, the A64 to Staxton.

Car Parking: Roadside.

Lavatories: None.

Refreshments: In West and adjacent East Ayton.

Tourist & public transport information: Scarborough TIC 01723 373333.

Map: Based on OS OL27 North York Moors eastern area.

Terrain: Valley edge and road on smooth land between valleys.

Points of interest: Castle ruins, mill building by village green.

Difficulty: Gentle.

Dogs: Suitable.

Weather forecast: Evening Press and recorded forecast 0891 500 418.

Click here to view a map of the walk