AT THE Lion Inn at Blakey, roadies were setting up sound equipment for outdoor midsummer music on the moors. Just down the road a few yards after Ralph Cross we drove into Westerdale and then to the lovely sheltered car park and picnic spot called Hob Hole.

Here is a ford and a bridge, that's all, and that evening the only other visitors were a man collecting sheep droppings for his tomatoes while his mum sat dreaming by the pretty Baysdale Beck.

We did a bit of back road to get up the south side of the valley and collected good views down on to the village of Westerdale a mile away, and passed four star bilberry clad grouse butts (sunken ones are five star) that point up the val-ley of Westerdale.

Then we contoured over Great Hograh Moor on track and path, once an ancient road; there are interesting stones. We headed into the sun. A frog by a pond jumped into the heather. A memorial to Alan Glegg 1936-1981 "who loved these moors" made for a cake stop and view time. Five miles northwest is the distinctive thousand-foot shape of Roseberry Topping; we had reached almost the same altitude.

At the next stream there is a tiny stone bridge and an old oak. Jack Keighley says this is as "near to a fairy glade as anything you're ever likely to see". We decided against Holiday Hill and turned down into Baysdale, a secluded valley of grassland, rabbits, stone walls and a farmstead B&B.

A little climb through a gap in the gorse set us up for our return on the north side of the valley, but not before ten minutes spent enjoying the view up Baysdale. The track back was quiet and comfortable. From old stone barns erupted pigeons, fields support lapwings and curlews, grouse chicks tumbled about in the heather.

If you tend to delay visiting the moors until the ling heather is purple then think again because the other heathers are out now, abundant and brilliant on this route, the bell heather on very dry areas and the similar cross-leaved heather by springs and seepages.

A fine walk finished with vicious midge attack at Hob Hole, so we beat a hasty retreat. At Blakey there were already hundreds of fans gathering to hear local guitar hero Prendo and others play the shortest night away.

Fact file

Distance: Five miles.

Time: Two or three hours.

General location: North York Moors.

Start: Hob Hole near Westerdale. GR. 652075. Or Baysdale, approximately at direction number 5

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

Date walked: Thursday 20 June 2002.

Road route: Take the Hutton-le-Hole to Castleton road. Turn left immediately after Ralph Cross (signed Westerdale 1 miles). Straight through the village of Westerdale, 1 miles to car park by ford. Or Baysdale which is accessed by a dead-end road that leads south from just west of the village of Kildale

Car parking: Hob Hole, free and signed. If shut - as near as reasonable to direction number 5 in Baysdale

Lavatories: None.

Refreshments: Castleton and Blakey nearby.

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

Map: Based on OS Explorer OL26 North York Moors western.

Terrain: Moorland valley.

Points of interest: For a bike ride, to keep on bridleways, extend the route from Direction No. 3 over and round Holiday Hill to Direction No. 5.

Difficulty: Moderate, easy navigation, no stiles, two gates.

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, right to road and bridge over beck, first road on right (dead-end).

2. Path/track uphill on right (signed bri-dleway). Stay on main path (cairns).

3. Stone footbridge over stream and immediately path on right, turns to track and curves left around hillside towards wood. Fieldgate to track between coni-fers, fieldgate on right before house and barn, left 50 yards.

4. Right to track/drive downhill.

5. After barn, track on right, fieldgate, bridge over Baysdale Beck, 1 o'clock up-hill 150 yards to barn, 11 o'clock up and through gorse, 50 yards, gate to moor.

6. Right to moor-edge path that stays by wall to right then continues across valley side after last field. Right to road, down-hill to car park.

Click here to view a map of the walk

Updated: 08:45 Saturday, June 29, 2002