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Route No 21 - 27 November 2001
Clay Bank, Cleveland Way,
Ingleby Bank circuit - 11 miles
North York Moors . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

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


Start of the climb from Clay Bank car parkThis morning my neighbour and I drove to Helmsley and up through Bilsdale to the forestry commission car park at Clay Bank. The weather forecast was for a cold wet windy front to pass through around midday and brighter afterwards, so not a good prospect, but being retired it's hard to fit in all the things we want to do and to-day was the only day we could both walk this week. As we left the car park we passed another group of hardy hikers putting their boots on. We climbed up the Cleveland Way to the highest point on the moors at 454m. where the cold wind gave us quite a buffeting Hasty Bank from the Cleveland Way above Urra MoorAbout half a mile farther on we kept left to join the old iron ore railway at the end of a cutting which provided good shelter for a quick drink and a sandwich before continuing to the top of Ingleby Incline. We rejoined the Cleveland Way and followed it for about two miles in driving rain and face-stinging hail. Here the track forks and we took the left fork descending to Ingleby Bank. Near the bottom of the bank we turned right into the shelter of the woods to follow a forest track for about two miles until it ran into the old railway track about a third of the way up the Ingleby Incline.Ancient oak near Ingleby Incline We stopped here for another quick drink and then descnded the incline to a stone track along the bottom edge of the forest. About a quarter of a mile from the incline we came across an ancient oak tree. The great bowl of the tree about ten feet diameter is mostly dead but a substantial oak tree has sprouted from each end of the bowl. Based on it's diameter the original tree must be at least 800 years old and could be well over a thousand. It's hard to imagine standing next to a living tree that was alive in that same spot in Norman Britain. The rain had stopped and the sky was starting to clear as we climbed a pretty track to the top of the forest and followed it back to the car park with lovely views across to Roseberry Topping and Captain Cooks monument and the industrial towers of Teesside. The whole route was about 11 miles and took us five and a quarter hours including a couple of stops.

Sunset from Wass Bank on the way home
Sunset from Wass Bank on the way home

Lodgepole Pines on the way back to the car park
Lodgepole Pines on the way back to the car park