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View from the level above the railway where the miners cottages stand, along the old ironstone railway to the calcining kilns
View from the level above the railway where the miners cottages stand, along the old ironstone railway to the calcining kilns

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Route No 25 - 15 December 2001
Blakey Ridge, Rosedale
Ironstone Railway circuit - 9 miles
North York Moors . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer OL26 North York Moors Western area


Looking down Rosedale from the old ironstone railway at the start of my walk
Looking down Rosedale from the old ironstone railway at the start of my walk

I felt about as gloomy as the weather this morning. It was overcast and drizzly. What I needed was a good walk. I drove to the top of Blakey Bank on Blakey Ridge. It's about 6 miles north of Hutton-le-Hole and about a quarter of a mile south of the Lion Inn. There is a stoney area that provides a popular walkers car park just opposite the Blakey Bank turning for Farndale. I parked in what little space was left after the Council had dumped a huge heap of road stone whilst we were all banned from the countryside. I crossed the 100 yards of moor to the track of the old ironstone railway that runs all around the head of Rosedale from the old kilns on the opposite side of the valley to Rosedale chimney. The railway crosses Blakey Ridge, where the car park is, and continues round Farndale to Blowarth crossing and on to Ingleby Incline (see walk on 27 November 2001) and from there on into the blast funraces of Teesside. The entire valley sides of both Rosedale and Farndale have been mined & quarried for ironstone in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Pond near the ruins. Always plenty of frog spawn in the Spring
Pond near the ruins. Always plenty of frog spawn in the Spring


Only one corner of a railway building still standing where I turned left off the railway to walk down to Thorgill Farm

Yet today nature has reclaimed all that industrial devastation and we have the two very attractive valleys of Rosedale & Farndale. By now the drizzle had stopped and the cloud lifted a little as I walked along the cinder track bed for about two miles. Here I turnd left off the railway onto a footpath opposite the last fragment of a railway building to cross the moor down to Thorgill.

Looking back down to Thorgill & Rosedale as we neared the old ironstone railway on the west side of Rosedale
Looking down towards Thorgill Farm in Rosedale

From Thorgill I took the path through Low Thorgill farm and up to Hill Cottages on the Daleside Road. Much of this path is on an old paved pannier way but the paving is slowly disapearing into the mud. I crossed Daleside Road and continued up a track passed a farm where there are dozens of hens and cockerels of all kinds and various duck including a flock of muscovy ducks, but only one cockerel would pose for a photo.

The hillside as we climbed up from Thorgill
The hillside as I made my way down to Thorgill Farm

Remains of an arch amongst the ruins above the kilns
Remains of an arch amongst the ruins above the kilns

Looking across to Gill Bank at Thorgill
Looking across to Gill Bank at Thorgill

The only cockerel at the farm to pose for a photo
The only cockerel at the farm to pose for a photo

Just above this farm is the start of the railway track on this side of the valley. I followed the track again passed a row of huge calcining kilns which indicate the vast scale of the industry here. The kilns were used to reduce the bulk of the ore for transport by rail to Teesside where the actual smelting took place. There are the ruins of workers' cottages and rail tracks at many levels it's well worth a wander round if you like that kind of thing. By now the weather had turned foul again and heavy mist and drizzle had returned so there was no chance of any more photos, even the ones I had taken so far were in very poor lighting. I carried on for another hour and a half through the mist round the head of the valley back to the car park and saw only one other person, a runner who made me jump out of my skin as he jogged by with a cheery "Hello". (I'm deaf and I had taken my hearing aid out because it was getting too wet). The whole route was about 9 miles and took me four and a half hours including a potter round the ruins of the cottages near the kilns. Even though the weather was awful it was a good day and I felt much better for some exercise in the fresh air.


Vast array of Calcining Kilns by the old ironstone Railway

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