IT was tanking down on the North York Moors, stair rods. A lonely long-distance runner splashed past the car park on the edge of Wykeham Forest, everyone else was sensibly indoors, we tried to get our waterproofs on without a soaking. Then came some hanging around in the rain, messing with some deep furrows in a failed hunt for a disappeared track. Never mind, we salvaged a shorty, steep but not savage.

The first half-mile was flat track. Great dollops of water sluiced the very long glossy leaves of the sweet chestnuts. These were a favourite tree of the Romans who made flour from the fruits, and their wood is good for underwater use.

Mostly here it is pines but there were some maples and the understory verge was thistle and burr shoulder to shoulder with thistle-like knapweed.

We found a path down, a descent into Troutsdale that was quite dramatic. Steep, the forest trees stretching through the gloom, the path picking up temporary rivulets and turning into stream itself, the heat, the rain, the rainforest effect. We passed but did not see Jenny Thrush Spring and we saw but couldn't walk for much distance a contouring grassed-over track.

So we had to keep going down, and the rain came down, heavier and heavier. Then it switched off as quick as a tap and in the same minute we landed on a good and level stone forestry track, though this had half washed out in one place.

We used the track to contour, the bright vaporous light was lovely, a plaintive bird of prey circled and mewed loud and repeatedly, and every now and then there was a stunning specimen tree. The forest is at its prime.

Until now we hadn't seen the landscape for the trees, so were pleased to get a glimpse into the wide valley of Troutsdale, and this told us exactly where we were.

We had intended a longer route past the Three Tremblers (ancient tumuli) but chickened out because we didn't fancy unknown paths with all the rain and wondered about flooded roads. Indeed it was the day Filey ten miles away was window deep and the drains in Scarborough were fountains.

So we climbed out on forestry tracks, saw a couple of walkers (it's quieter here than nearby Dalby) and came upon a sign that announced 'Wykeham Nursery: Plant and Seed Supply Branch, Forestry Commission' and, like Gulliver on his travels, strode past acres bristling with three inch conifers in thousands of neat rows and swiftly finished the walk.

Fact file

Distance: Three and a half miles.

Time: Two hours.

General location: Near Scarborough.

Start: Troutsdale Brow, GR. 915868.

Right of way: The complete route is along public rights of way and in open access areas.

Date walked: Saturday, August 10, 2002.

Road route: From the A170 at Stainton, north on Nettledale Lane. Signed Troutsdale.

Car parking: Free parking area (no sign) a few hundred yards after cattlegrid and farm (Cockmoor Hall).

Lavatories: None.

Refreshments: Snainton.

Tourist & public transport information: Pickering TIC 01723 473791.

Map: Based on OS Explorer OL 27, North York Moors western area.

Terrain: Steep forested valley.

Points of interest: Open access forest.

Difficulty: Moderate.

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.


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

1. From parking area at top of hill, track away from road and to wood (sign at fieldgate into wood 'Link').

2. Pass steel bar gate on right (opposite farm which is other side of field), 35 yards, take path on left 10 o'clock downhill. Is slightly overgrown for first ten yards then opens out to path/track. Ignore side turns.

3. Right at T-junction with main stone/dirt forest track.Unless repaired, skirt track landslip by stream. Track feeds right to another track, uphill.

4. At waymark arrow on left and triangular tracks junction, turn right to track uphill.

5. Right at top of hill just before road to track (signed 'Link')

Click here to view a map of the walk

Updated: 08:50 Saturday, August 10, 2002