GEORGE WILKINSON takes a brisk walk by the sparkling River Esk then heads out on to the moors on a gloriously crisp, clear day

Iwondered if the car park at Egton Bridge was ever blessed with any North York Moors sunshine. The village huddles deep in the valley of the River Esk and the car park is sandwiched between Saint Hedda's, a huge Catholic Church, and five big empty sandstone coal cells.

These cells or bunkers were once topped up from the nearby rail line for the local farmers and others. Cold it felt, longjohn weather, but there was blue sky in the heavens and, once we had passed Egton Manor, the River Esk was sparkling through the beech trees and our spirits rose at the prospect of the moors.

Next came the climb, steep at first, made easier by the drives to pretty cottages, then a more gentle ascent through pleasant small stone walled pastures with fine old oaks and a vanishing stream. The lovely grassland terrain levelled out and for another mile we continued south. A steam train chugged away in a parallel valley, its smoke hanging like cotton wool and russet wet lands bordered a road with Roman connections.

Then we turned on to In Moor, penetrated the heather a bit and parked ourselves pointing east, guzzled our lunch and savoured the view through the cold super-clear air. The Fylingdales 'early warning station' stood sharp and isolated; Goathland, the comfort village, stretched out on the hillside a heartbeat or two distant, further south, Whitby way, a sea view panned out from the wooded Esk valley.

The path across the moor was clear and comes out at a road and an interesting patch where there is a small circle of stone and the OS map indicates cairns. A good bog with hummocks of club-mosses is worth noticing if you don't want that sinking feeling.

The descent was more grassy old track, gorse on the hillsides and little streams. A farm has a proud stone barn. Straight ahead and over the Esk Valley the village of Egton, the elevated neighbour of Egton Bridge, basked in sunshine.

A half-mile slithery and steep muddied our boots for the first time, and brought us back to Egton Bridge where we popped down to the river. A bench overlooks islands in the Esk and by a pretty white latticework bridge are sandstone stepping stones.

We declined the stones on account variously of cowardice (good sense), slippy boots and the rushing water and instead strolled the footpath crunching the remnants of a bumper conker harvest, heads lifted to the giant redwood trees.


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

1 Right from car park to road, 50 yards, track on left (various signs).

2 Snickelgate on right (signed), snickelgate beside white house, gated footbridge over River Esk, 100 yards by stream to left, cross it by sign, fieldgate into trees (waymark) and straight uphill. Fieldgate by cottage, fieldgate to drive, uphill.

3 Cross road, fieldgate (signed) and uphill by wall to right, fieldgate then by fence to left, fieldgate, pass house, join track.

4 Right to road, track on left after wood (signed) and straight on (fieldgates).

5 Left to road. Pass house on right, 100 yards, fieldgate on right (signed), stay by wall, fieldgate.

6 Gate to path up and on to top of heather moor, then ignore right fork where a track curves away to right and stay on path (which doubles) that stays level and roughly parallels grouse butts about 200 yards to left.

7 Left to road (bridleway sign), 25 yards, grassy track on right (footpath sign), 200 yards, right to path, wall to left, fieldgate in wire fence (waymark), 25 yards, gateway, stile/fieldgate to track, left-hand bend down to farm.

8 Through farmyard, track. At right-hand uphill bend turn left to grassy track (signed), fieldgate, path beside barn then between holly hedges, fieldgate to path beside wood, walled path.

9 Stile on left (waymarked), 1 o'clock across field, stile by trees, keep gully to right, steeply downhill. At upright railway sleeper post in field turn right, 50 yards, stile into trees, 50 yards, left to road. At junction path to optional stepping stones, otherwise right to pavement.

Fact file:

Distance: Five miles.

Time: Three hours.

General location: North York Moors National Park.

Start: Egton Bridge.

Right of way: The complete route is along public rights of way and a permissive track courtesy of Egton Estates Co.

Date walked: Saturday, October 19, 2002.

Road route: Via Grosmont or Castleton.

Parking: Free car park.

Lavatories: Conveniently near the stepping stones.

Refreshments: Pub.

Tourist and public transport information: The Moors Centre at Danby 01287 660540.

Map: Based on OS Explorer 27 North York Moors eastern area.

Terrain: Valley and moor.

Points of interest: St. Hedda d.705 was educated in Whitby and became a Bishop of the West Saxons.

Difficulty: Moderate, made easier by admirable and intelligent waymarking, 600 foot climb. Take compass and OS map for bad 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: 08:50 Saturday, October 26, 2002