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The Hambleton drove road descending from Black Hambleton along the edge of Silton Wood
The Hambleton drove road descending from Black Hambleton along the edge of Silton Wood

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Route No 52 - 30 July 2002
Silton Woods, Kepwick
Hambleton Drove Road circuit - 14 km
North York Moors . . .

Route map from OS Open Space service

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


Bee hives in a quiet corner of a clover field The weather forecast promised heavy thunder storms to-day. Jim and I set off early and drove a few miles up the A19 to a Forestry Commission car park in Silton Woods (map ref. SE 467937) about 2km from Nether Silton and we started walking at about 9.30am. It was a very hot humid day not suited to a lot of activity. We headed south west on Moor Lane for 300m to a footpath across the fields between Honeykiln Farm and Thwaites Farm for about 1.5km to Bridge Beck Lane. Near Honeykiln Farm we met the farmer carrying a large bucket of calf nuts out to feed his stock. As he approached about 30 calves came trotting over the rise to meet him at the gate. When we explained our route, he told us he spent one or two days a week rebuilding dry stone walls for the landlord alongside the Hambleton Drove Road and we promised to look out for his work.Recently rebuilt dry stone wall We do some hedgelaying in the winter, just for a hobby, and it turned out that he knew the farmer we plan to do some work for when the season starts again in the autumn. As you can see we had a good gossip before resuming our walk. At Bridge Beck Lane we turned left onto the lane for 200m to a path across the fields to a dismantled tramway - just a green track now. I believe it was used to haul stone from quarries on the edge of the moor. Across the tramway there is a path across the fields that we have used in the past but to-day we walked up the lane past the entrance to Kepwick Hall, though Kepwick village to a bridleway on our left at map ref. SE 466908. We followed the bridleway up the hill for over 2km to map ref SE 485899. Near the top there was a length of dry stone wall that had been rebuilt recently, maybe this was some of our farmer friend's work? Here we turned left on to another bridleway leaving the woods behind and climbing up to the open moor.Redundant bracken crusher? Beside the path is a ridged roller used to crush young bracken - it's a very difficult pest to control, even though it can look quite attractive. This machine was placed here 8 or 9 years ago and at that time it looked new with fresh paint. It does not seem to have been moved since and is just quietly rusting into the ground. At the top of the climb we joined the Hambleton Drove Road. We exchanged a few words with a group of four men who joined the drove road from the path out of Thorodale - it's a steep climb and they all looked very hot and bothered and ready for a rest and a drink. We followed the drove road for about 4.5km to map ref. SE 479952.Looking towards Nether Silton from the Hambleton Drove Road Here we turned left into the woods on a bridleway that led us back to our starting point. We had three breaks for a long drink on this sultry day and had used all our supplies by the time we got back to the car. I had taken 2.5 litres but it was barely enough. The whole route was about 14km and took us four and a half hours. There were rumbles of thunder in the distance all day and a few spots of rain as we approached the car on our return but no thunder storms, just very hot and humid.

Sculptured sign post on Cycle route 65 in Silton Woods
Sculptured sign post on cycle route 65 in Silton Woods

Looking south over Kepwick from the drove road on Black Hambleton
Looking south over Kepwick from the drove road on Black Hambleton