We are back in 'Heartbeat Country', TV land Goathland, on the beaten track, but with a hill or two to make the heart beat faster and plenty of fun.

I joined the unchained army of amblers (just got a car park place) and set off down an abandoned railway incline, grass and track and path through scrubby woods, oak and ash and fruit trees, it's a rich year for sloes, there are tunnels under branches, a stream and a view ahead to a forested and moor-topped valleyside.

At the bottom of the incline is Incline Cottage. Our main route is signed to the south but first a little diversion to the Birch Hall Inn at Beck Hole. Luckily there wasn't a shower because the pub is as tiny as could be so I got my half from a man wearing a Palm Springs tea shirt and sat outside and eavesdropped on the mainly numerical conversation of the hybrid trainspotter-walker-beer drinkers, 'the 814... the 268... the Blue Peter'.

Eller Beck, almost a river, is by the pub; we cross the bridge for a look at the pleasant hamlet. At the site of the old Beck Hole station are plaques explaining the original Pickering to Grosmont line was built in 1836 by George Stephenson as a horse drawn tramway and then bought by George Hudson, 'York's railway king', in 1845 and improved for steam locos and used until 1865.

Returning to Incline Cottage we take a riverside path, this time by West Beck. The summer's overgrown undergrowth was already trampled down, a park ranger trimmed branches with secateurs.

There seemed more walkers than sheep. It was nice to see dogs stretching their hairy legs. I climbed, a hundred steps take you above the beck, the steep narrow valley glistened with wet sunlit oaks, there was the sound of thunder and of game shooting and the hoot and whistle of steam trains.

We descend to riverside duckboards and another diversion, to the Mallyan Spout waterfall.

Picking my way over the waterside rocks I got chatting to a local lass visiting from her adopted Australia. Her Queensland boyfriend/partner/husband had never seen a waterfall, and stood in the spray obviously impressed by the thin and delicate 70-feet shower.

A sharp but ergonomic climb brings you back to Goathland, to the far end of the village from your start. Some of the guesthouses had 'no vacancies' signs and the tea shops were busy again. As a final plus I joined a throng of photographers setting up tripods and checking their watches and captured a 'double headed' steam train.


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

1. From car park, left to road, 100 yards, left at gate to grass track (signed 'Grosmont Rail Trail'). Down incline track, cross road, track narrows, (snickel-gates).

2. At bottom 'Incline Cottage', continue 100 yards to four-way fingerpost, right (signed 'Bridleway to Beck Hole'), short length of gated track to road, left and immediately the inn.

3. From inn, over road bridge, 20 yards, left after house to short length of gated track (signed). At three-way fingerpost (info plaques here) left (signed 'Goathland Rail Trail'), over beck and back to Incline Cottage (direction 2). Right opposite cottage to gate (signed 'to the Mallyan Spout'). Steps, gates and then duckboards.

4. After duckboards straight on at fingerpost (signed Mallyan Spout), a few hundred yards. Return to direction 4, right (signed 'Goathland') uphill. At road left to pavement through village.

Fact file:

Distance: Three miles

Time: Two hours.

General location: North York Moors.

Start: The village of Goathland.

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

Date walked: Saturday October 6, 2001.

Road route: Goathland is signed off the A169 north of Pickering.

Car parking: Car park £1.50, and (normally) verge near Mallyan Spout Hotel.

Lavatories: Car park.

Refreshments: Cafs and inns in Goathland.

Tourist and public transport

information: Pickering TIC 01751 473791.

Map: Based on OS Outdoor Leisure 27, North York Moors Eastern Area.

Terrain: Valley side.

Points of interest: Disabled access along track bed from Beck Hole.

Difficulty: Moderate/easy.

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