VICTORIA Ellis recently did an Evening Press walk on the North York Moors near the Hole of Horcum. There has been a fuss about it. A walker has phoned the paper complaining that her party was turned off the route; farmers have phoned the paper complaining about walkers, and that the published route was wrong.

Victoria and me felt obliged to check this out. So here is the contentious track again, wedded this time to a sashay around the Bridestones.

I have discovered that the track is called the Newgate Road. The direction of the road is the same on Highways Department maps as on the last two editions of the OS maps.

We found the start of Newgate Road still obstructed, the heavy gate padlocked and not on its hinges. I would not complain about the padlock if there were a side gate. Worse was the redundant fence that, abandoned on the track, has become half buried like loop after loop of trip wire. There were sheep hurdles rather than gates. The northern end was obstructed and planted over with saplings.

But humble pie rather than sandwiches today for Victoria because her route was a little wrong in the middle of Lockton Low Moor. She sent you to a gate 100 yards to one side, then took you back, a kink. She stayed in the right fields. Apologies are due. A compass helps, as would the brand new OS map. As would some waymarks!

I was pleased to have done the Newgate Road, though it was bleak. At the Old Wife's Way we hurried on to seek out the Bridestones. Though even in the stinging hail we couldn't help but stop along Newgate Brow to look out to a lovely National Trust valley, to Blakey Topping, and Fylingdales.

Next, the best part of a mile between woods and heather moorland. The non-intensive moor was lovely with some hazy silver birch, vivid green mosses, rushes, bilberries, bleached and tufted grasses and a touch of gorse. Soft and pale green epiphytic lichens draped the heather.

We turned into the moor for a Bridestones hunt. Our route looked little trod but brushed past a fair line up of the famously shapely stones (old wives?). At the last pair we turned down steeply into Dove Dale, take care descending.

Dove Dale is very pretty and managed now for this. Its crystal stream joins Staindale Beck. We forded this and climbed past some fine looking farms to the back lane home.


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. Fork right 50 yards before wood to fieldgate and track between moor and wood. Check National Trust info plaque here for path options.

8. In dip with a few mature birch trees to right, grassy track on right, 25 yards, fork left to narrowing path through heather. Contour.

9. Down 20-foot bank to engineered path. Left.

10. At last two large Bridestones (a path joins from the left here, and woods start about 200 yards further on), turn right between these Bridestones and go downhill, it is quite steep and there was no visible path. Do not veer to the left as steep drop at bottom, angle to the right a little towards gully on opposite side of valley.

11. Valley bottom. Cross stream and left to path.

12. Snickelgate into field (NT info plaque) 100 yards, right to track, large stepping stones or ford. Front of farm.

13. Right to good track (bends left then up through woods) and stay on it to road (through one farmyard).

14. Right to road.

Fact file:

Distance: Six miles.

Time: Three to five 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 and permissive paths.

Date walked: Friday, March 15, 2002.

Road route: From Pickering the A169 for five 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 the new (with orange cover) OS Explorer OL27 North York Moors eastern area. Please note, some copses to east of route across Lockton Low Moor not as on OS map.

Terrain: Grass moorland, heather moorland and valley.

Points of interest: Bridestones, Newgate Road, National Trust Land, old quarries.

Difficulty: Moderate in clear weather.

Dogs: Suitable, but note lambing time, so leads are best because they reassure the sheep. The National Trust require leads on their permissive paths.

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: 11:37 Saturday, March 23, 2002