I broke my rule of 'never try to get anywhere on a Bank Holiday' to do a route recently recommended by the North York Moors Authority. This is useful for me as I don't have to worry about it too much and I think will be nice for you as it's a pleasant walk.

My instant reward for braving the traffic was the view from the bench at the start. You can see over Harwood Dale, a wide, undulating, cultivated valley and beyond to dark woods. Then we take a fillet of forest that runs parallel to, and a few miles from the coast north of Scarborough.

I decided on the wiggly edge of the woods first along Surgate Brow, Silpho Brow to Coomboots Brow, where there is a trig point unfortunately somewhat obscured by trees. Inappropriate trees are too common; many time one wishes for a chain saw. Along the way I caught slashes of blue sea and Scarborough Castle, and underfoot, in and amongst the birch and pine trees there are splashes of purple heather. My outward leg was quiet, apart from someone calling for a recalcitrant dog and the hum of a grain drier. There is very little gain or loss of height on the whole route, a lazy walk.

The return leg follows the road, but you are separated from it by a bank of shrubs and such, including refreshing brambles. Broom seedpods popped in the heat. I don't normally harvest highway brambles, a concern going back to the days of exhaust fumes from lead petrol being soaked up by the berries, but anyway here there is hardly any traffic; this is a loop road off a back road. To the left you can see the hamlet of Silpho surrounded by farmland and also the village of Hackness which radiates a handful of finger-like woods.

Half-way back we come to Noddle End that is wooded, and an area called Turkey Carpet that has a carpet of grass, and then near Thieves Dikes I inadvertently stole up on a couple who would have been more comfortable on the carpet. I was thereafter somewhat distracted from the birds and bees, but did notice a lot of butterflies. A family was having an innocent barbecue at a picnic spot. In all, the few visitors to the woods, myself included, all seemed to be having a good time.


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

1. From car park to east of road, track around edge of hill (signed bridleway, not the path which descends).

2. To road, right, 10 yards, left, 25 yards, path on left (signed public footpath).

3. Path is beside road for 20 yards then fork left (no sign) to path, 100 yards then path swings right (i.e. ignore grassy path on left downhill.

4. Right to path alongside road. Cross over at junction to grassy area at edge of Turkey Carpet (wood) and to path which loops around woods (many minor options). Cross road to continue on path parallel and close to road (signed bridleway) but within trees back to car park.

Fact File:

Distance: Five and a half miles.

Time: Three hours.

General location: Eastern edge of North York Moors, near Scarborough.

Start: Reasty Hill Top. Grid Ref: 965944.

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

Date walked: Monday, August 27, 2001.

Road route:Five miles north of Ayton which is on the A170 near Scarborough.

Car parking: North Riding Forest Park car park. Free and large.

Lavatories: None.

Refreshments: Pubs etc in nearby villages.

Tourist & public transport information: Pickering TIC 01751 473791

Map: Based on OS OL27 North York Moors Eastern Area.

Terrain: Forest edge.

Points of interest: Views. Trig point.

Difficulty: Easy/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.

Click here to view a map of the walk