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Looking back along Thorodale to Hawnby Hill and Newgate Bank
Looking back along Thorodale to Hawnby Hill and Newgate Bank

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Route No 125 - Tuesday 1 February 2005
Boltby Forest, Dale Town, Hawnby Church,
Arden Hall, Hambleton Drove Road - 16km
North York Moors

Map: OS Explorer OL26 North York Moors Western area at 1:25000
Route Map on 'Landranger' map base from OS Open Space service
Open this route in Google Earth

Murton Common
Murton Common
This morning two friends called about half past nine and we drove to the little car park on the Hambleton Drove Road at map ref.SE 509877. There is a small information board at the edge of the car park about Boltby Forest and I was surprised to see fallow deer listed amongst the wild life living in the forest. We quite often see Roe Deer but I have only seen fallow deer in the parks of country houses and in the New Forest. We set off along the road towards Hawnby and after just a few hundred metres we disturbed a large flock of lapwings in the field beside the road. I'm sure there were between 50 and 100 of them - the largest flock I've seen since I was a boy in Peak District of Derbyshire around 50 years ago. At map ref. SE 513881 we turned left off the road onto a path across the fields.
Ahead of us and to our left we saw a group of twelve fallow deer walking in single file across a stubble field away from us towards the drove road. We just couldn't believe our luck! They were about 400m away and we watched them cross the stubble field and disappear across the drove road. We continued on the path across the fields to map ref. SE 512894 where we turned right on to a permissive path down Gowerdale through the woods to a ruined cottage at map ref. SE 531886. On our way down the valley we met a shooting party making the most of the last day of the pheasant shooting season. They were all quite friendly as we passed along the track and exchanged "good mornings". We followed the path that passes close to Dale Town and then climbs up to Sunnybank Farm before dropping down the hillside to the footbridge over the River Rye next to Hawnby Church.
Arden Hall
Arden Hall
Start of the permissive path at map ref. SE 512894
Start of the permissive path at map ref. SE 512894
The metalled road petered out into a stoney track which climbed up around the edge of Thorodale. The track wound its way across the moor to meet the Hambleton Drove Road at map ref. SE 489915. There are wonderful views from here right across to the Yorkshire Dales. We turned left to walk along the drove road for almost 5km back to our starting point. As we walked through the top end of Boltby Forest there were many up-rooted and broken trees after the recent gales. The whole route was about 16km and took us around four and a half hours to walk including a short lunch stop.
We followed the road past the church to the bridge to cross back over the river Rye and turn off the road at map ref. SE 534899. We intended to follow the path round Coomb Hill but when we reached map ref. SE 531898 there was a notice detailing a permissive path that follows the stream and then a track around the hill to rejoin the path at map ref. SE 521902. We decided to take the permissive path and it proved to be a pretty route beside the stream. We continued on the path to the road and turned left along the road passing Arden Hall to our right.
Shooting party making the most of the last day of the season
Shooting party on the last day of the pheasant season
Looking down Gowerdale to Dale Town
Looking down Gowerdale to Dale Town
Ruined cottage in Gowerdale
Ruined cottage in Gowerdale
Abandoned combine at Sunnybank Farm
Abandoned combine at Sunnybank Farm
Hawnby Church
Hawnby Church
Bridge over the river Rye at map ref. SE 534899
Bridge over the river Rye at map ref. SE 534899
Start of the path round Coomb Hill
Start of the path round Coomb Hil
Looking up Thorodale
Looking up Thorodale
Storm damaged trees in Boltby Forest
Storm damaged trees in Boltby Forest