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Looking to Hasty Bank at the head of Bilsdale from the moor above William Beck farm
Looking to Hasty Bank at the head of Bilsdale from the moor above William Beck farm

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Route No 13 - 10 October 2001
Fangdale Beck, Tripsdale,
Chop Gate circuit - 10 miles
Bilsdale, North York Moors . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer OL26 North York Moors Western area at 1:25000


A quick boot adjustment at the start of our walk
A quick boot adjustment at the start of our walk

Footbridge over the beck in Fangdale Beck
Footbridge over the beck in Fangdale Beck village

The cattle were all clearly used to being fed - just another symptom of the disruption caused by the foot and mouth epidemic.

The weather forecast for today was not good but at least it wasn't raining when my two friends and I set off for Fangdale Beck in Bilsdale this morning at about ten to nine. We parked in the village opposite a cottage To-Let and walked across the fields past Stone House towards a farm called Coniser. Just before this farm we turned right and after 3 fields turned left to the access road to Bilsdale mast and then past The Grange to the main Helmsley to Stokesley road. We crossed the main road and walked up the farm road to Hill End Farm. All the way from Fangdale Beck to here we had passed through and beside fields of beef cattle. The cattle had all reacted to us by running towards us and following at that disconcerting distance of about 5 yards. The cattle stopped if we turned round - just like playing grandma's footsteps.

Beef cattle expecting to be fed
Beef cattle expecting to be fed

Beef cattle expecting to be fed
Beef cattle expecting to be fed

The path in Tripsdale was rather overgrown
The path in Tripsdale was rather overgrown

Oak woods in Tripsdale
Oak woods in Tripsdale

When we reached the bridle way we turned left down into Tripsdale to cross another ford only to find two workmen and a JCB busily turning it into a culvert - nothing like as picturesque as the ford used to be. I suspect we will find all manner of such improvements to the countryside as we start to rediscover our old haunts in the next few months.

We followed the path into Tripsdale and crossed the ford which had far too much water in to cross without getting our feet wet. We took the path up the hill and turned off along an unmarked but well walked path (OK - it was well walked before last February!) along the top of the cliffs called Kay Nest with good views down Tripsdale.

View over Tripsdale from Kay Nest
View over Tripsdale from Kay Nest

Oak woods in Tripsdale
Oak woods in Tripsdale

Following the path down from the moor to William Beck farm
Following the path down from the moor to William Beck farm

We followed the bridle way and footpaths to William Beck farm. This farm is always immaculately kept with everything in its place and everything cut, painted and stacked in apple pie order. From William Beck farm we recrossed the main road to the Chop Gate village hall and began to climb the hill to Cock Howe. It started to rain. We could see it coming in swirling clouds of drizzle sweeping along the valleys until it engulfed us too. At least it gave us time to put our cagouls on before we were soaked. We sat in the shelter of a stone wall for a drink before completing the climb. At Cock Howe we turned left along the stoney track on the ridge towards the Bilsdale TV transmitter mast.

Heading along the ridge from Cock Howe towards the TV transmitter mast in the driving rain
Heading along the ridge from Cock Howe towards the TV transmitter mast in the driving rain

Just beyond the TV transmitter mast we passed a live rabbit beside the path. It did not seem to be diseased but was just frozed with fear, its eyes wide open and breathing very fast. There were some recent stoat prints in the mud on the path a few yards away but no sign of the animal that I could see. It seemed likely that the rabbit had been attacked by the stoat but it was soon out of sight and we will never know. About a quarter of a mile beyond the mast we turned left again to follow the bridle way back into Fangdale Beck. As the path descended the hillside it became more and more overgrown with bracken and it was quite hard to force a way through. It's going to take some time to re-establish our access to the countryside. The whole route was about 10 miles and took us 5 hours including a couple of stops for a drink and a sandwich.

Tripsdale
Tripsdale

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