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Route No 20 - 21 November 2001
East Moors, Pockley Moor, Hodge Beck,
Little Roll Gate circuit - 9 miles
Bransdale, North York Moors . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

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

Old style red telephone box, a familiar landmark at East MoorsLast Saturday I didn't go walking, instead a car load of us went to the Reebok stadium in Bolton to see the Australia v. Gt. Britain rugby league test. It was a bad decision. I should have gone walking. With 14 minutes to go the score-line was Australia 40, Gt. Britain 0 and the final score at 40-12 wasn't much better. To-day four of us went to East Moors a few miles north of Helmsley on the road to Bransdale. The weather was overcast with occasional light showers and a strong but mild breeze. We drove through Helmsley to Cowhouse Bank and on to Church Plantation where we parked opposite an old style red telephone box. From there we walked about a hundred yards back along the road to a stoney track which led us to a ford with a footbridge beside it.Stoney track leading to the first ford Over the footbridge we followed a farm track across a field to the edge of East Moor Wood. Once through the gate into the wood there were three forest tacks ahead of us and we took the right hand track around the edge of the wood for about a mile. At this point there is a path that we have used often in the past but not since the start of the foot and mouth epidemic in February this year. The path was quite overgown and we walked straight past it and had to double back after about 50 yards to look more closely for it. We quickly found it and turned right onto the footpath which leads to a farm (marked as 'Old Kiln' on the map).Approaching a derelict farm overlooking Bransdale On the way to the farm the path crosses a stream which used to have some large stones in the bed which made it easy to cross but these had gone and we crossed a few yards upstream to keep our feet dry. From the farm the path took us out onto the road about a mile and a half from where we had parked. We crossed the heather moor to the ford at Cinderhill Wath across Bonfield Gill. Again the stones that used to make the crossing easy had gone. We continued for about a mile across the moor towards Bransdale on a stone track. The public right of way is a bridleway which runs about 400yards from the grouse shooting track and parallel to it.Fine quality stonework in a derelict farm overlooking Bransdale We have looked for it several times in the past but there is no sign of the bridleway on the ground and everyone seems to walk on the track which has recently been resurfaced with stone quarried from the moor locally. At the edge of the moor overlooking Bransdale we came to a large ruined farmstead. Judging by the quality of the stonework it must have been a very prosperous farm at one time and it's a shame to see it slowly disintegrating over the years. From the ruined farm we followed the footpath through the woods across Hodge Beck and up the oposite side of the valley to a farm called 'Ankness'. This has been very well renovated over the last few years and work is still progressing on the huge range of outbuildings, some of which had been near to collapse. The owners have made a really fine job of it.Sheep at Arkness We followed the path along Ankness Ridge until it dropped down back to Hodge Beck where we noticed a wooden summer house type of building under construction near the ford. We assumed it must be a shooting hut for the pheasant shoots in the woods, but it did look a bit odd with its small paned Georgian style windows in the middle of the woods. We crossed Hodge Beck and climbed up an old sunken track to the edge of the woods and then followed a path across some rough pasture over Otterhill Common to a track called Little Roll Gate along the ridge. After about half a mile on this track we turned left onto a footpath down the moor towards a farm called Throstle Nest about a mile away. About 200 yards before the farm we cut down the hillside to re-cross Bonfield Gill at a ford where again the stepping stones have gone following work on the ford to improve it for vehicles. We followed the path up to Lund Farm and round Church Plantation back to the cars. The whole route is around 9 miles and took us about four and a half hours including a couple of short refreshment stops.

Sheep creep through a dry stone wall at Arkness

Purple sheen on the birch ready for the spring
Above:- Purple sheen on the birch ready for the spring
Left:- Sheep creep through a dry stone wall at Arkness