Victoria Ellis enjoys a smashing walk on a newly discovered track

If you have driven the Pickering to Whitby road you might have noticed enticing countryside in the northeast quarter about a mile before you reach the Hole of Horcum. The latest edition of the Ordnance Survey map shows, for the first time, the line of an old road across this land. It proved well worth an investigation.

We parked on David Lane, a dead-end road; cut back towards the Whitby highway, skirted the old quarries of White Dale, cut back again to the main road via Smeffell Rigg on a little walled path and then we were set for the 'new' old road.

It does not have a name and has been more or less eradicated from the ground, but as it goes fairly straight over Lockton Low Moor you should not have a problem following the line if you can follow my directions. There were no useful signposts or waymarks. Though talking of signs there were many of the deterrent and educational sort, namely 'cows with calves can be aggressive', 'bulls', 'bulls' and more 'bulls' though I did not see any, and a 'carry the can both ways' a reference one presumes to litter.

The terrain is pasture, clean for the boots, as was nearly the whole circuit. We travelled past wet grasslands, gaining height and super views left and right to forest, moor and rigg. Then the landmark shape of Blakey Topping came into view ahead. So just after meeting the unfortunately named Old Wives Way we found some heather on Newgate Brow and tucked in out of the wind to enjoy the Topping and our sandwiches.

We did half a mile along the top of Newgate Bank, spied Fylingdales radar station framed by valley, and in the frame now for lacing the moor with razor wire. Grime Moor was next, grassy not grimy though some places a little wet and like the whole area scattered with ponds. The Bridestones are visible to the east and we saw a few walkers there, otherwise none.

After the moor there was a small wooded valley with a pond and stream and a slurp of mud and then we reconnected with David Lane and finished a smashing walk serenaded by a skylark.


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

1. Stile into field, downhill (hedge on right, signed), fieldgate, downhill, fieldgate on right (valley bottom path, signed), stile, 50 yards, stile (hedge now on right).

2. Left before fieldgate (signed A169), uphill, fieldgate on right and immediately left, stile to walled path.

3. Ladderstile near road, right, 25 yards, fieldgate which was chained up(no waymarks from here until Direction No 6), pass between sheep pens, uphill, 100 yards, fieldgate and keep up by wall/fence to right on old grassy track which fades. Watch out for half buried wire fence.

4. Fieldgate 100 yards after second conifer copse on right. Track has now disappeared so head 1 o'clock across grass field (do not follow fence on left) heading for fieldgate by corner of copse (large concrete trough at far side of gate). The compass bearing is 35( mag.

5. Track fades, stay by fence to your right, fieldgate, 25 yards, sheep hurdle in a second, parallel fence. Keep by fence to your right, grassy track appears but at end it is planted over with saplings, so leave field via handy sheep hurdle to their left.

6. Right to stone track, 100 yards, straight on (i.e. leave stone track on bend) to grassy track (National Trust sign and waymark).

7. Stile on right in wire fence (opposite stone gate post, signed) 10 o'clock across field, stile near wood, stile, skirt pond, left to track uphill.

8. Stile on right before barns (waymark), 200 yards, left, 200 yards, diagonally downhill and cross stream where wood on right ends. Stile and diagonally across field uphill towards farmhouse, left by fence.

9. Right to road.

Fact file:

Distance: Five miles.

Time: Three hours.

General location: North York Moors eastern area.

Start: David Lane at GR 854 908.

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

Date walked: February 9, 2002.

Road route: From Pickering the A169 for 5 miles. David Lane is signed 'Cul-de-Sac only' and is 200 yards further along the A169 after the second road to Lockton (signed Lockton and Levisham only).

Car parking: Roadside on David Lane. Also marked on map the nearby lay-by on the A169.

Lavatories: None.

Refreshments: Inn at Saltersgate two miles north of start on A169.

Tourist & public transport information: Pickering TIC 01751 473791.

Map: Based on OS Outdoor Leisure 27. Note small differences between OS map and actual line of paths and position of some woods.

Terrain: Grass moorland, and small valleys.

Points of interest: Old quarries. Cat-flap type things in fences.

Difficulty: Moderate in clear weather.

Dogs: Suitable.

Weather forecast: Evening Press and recorded forecast 0891 500 418

Please observe the Country Code and park sensibly. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, walkers set out at their own risk.

Click here to view a map of the walk

Updated: 09:15 Saturday, February 16, 2002