white horse logo

Hasty Bank seen from Urra Moor
Hasty Bank seen from Urra Moor

Menu:

National Parks

| 2001 walks | 2002 walks | 2003 walks | 2004 walks |
| 2005 walks | 2006 walks | 2007 walks | 2008 walks |
| 2009 walks | 2010 walks | 2011 walks | 2012 walks |
| 2013 walks | 2014 walks | 2015 walks | 2016 walks |
| 2017 walks | 1993-2000 library | Find a Route |
| A few Routes to print out | Request a Route... |

Route No 138 - Wednesday 11 May 2005
Clay Bank, Ingleby Incline, Botton Head circuit - 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

Looking out to Roseberry Topping from Greenhow Plantation
Looking out to Roseberry Topping from Greenhow Plantation
This morning I drove with three friends to the car park at the top of Clay Bank overlooking Teesside at map ref. NZ 572035. It was a perfect sunny day with a cool breeze, just right for walking. From the car park we walked along the road towards Chop Gate for about 100m to map ref. NZ 572034 where we turned into the woodland. We followed a forest track for over 3km around the top edge of the woodland to a shale cliff exposed by a large landslip at Botton Head, map ref. NZ 595020. From here we continued on the path through the trees until we emerged onto the stony track at the bottom of the forest slope at map ref. NZ 601026. This last 500m of the path was through a recently felled area and the pretty woodland path I remembered had gone and we had to pick our way through the tangle of branches left by the loggers.
About 200m further along we passed a large oak tree. The original trunk has long since gone but the shape of it can still be seen on the ground, about 3m in diameter. There are three new trunks growing splintered off from the original tree bowl and I believe the tree must be well over 500 years old. We continued on the track to the foot of the Ingleby Incline at map ref. NZ 600035. This was part of the old iron stone railway that transported iron ore from the workings in Rosedale and Farndale to the blast furnaces in Middlesborough in the 19th Century. We climbed up the 1.5km incline with its gradients of upto 1 in 5 and continued along the old railway track to map ref. NZ 608020. From here we followed the path across the moor to join the Cleveland Way route which we followed to the trig point at map ref. NZ 594015 above Botton Head.
Shale cliff face at Botton Head
Shale cliff face at Botton Head
Ancient oak tree
Ancient oak tree - these two trunks are splinters from either side of the original trunk which became hollow and rotted away
This is the highest point on the North York Moors with great views down Bilsdale and over Teesside. From the trig point we walked along the Cleveland Way for about 100m before turning left to follow a track for about 1km to map ref. NZ 582014. From there we made our way along an old path to map ref. NZ 575018 on an ancient earthwork running round the edge of the moor. From the earthwork we took the bridleway down to the village of Urra. At the road in the village we turned right to follow the road to map ref. NZ 570020 where we turned right off the road to follow the path across the fields to the edge of some woods at map ref. NZ 572022. Here the path descends a steep bank into a lovely wooded little valley. At this time of year it is magical with the fresh greens of the new leaves, the lush grass and a wonderful variety of wild flowers, bluebells, violets, stichwort, celandines, primroses etc etc. ( you can probably tell that I quite liked it)

We walked through the valley to a lovely green track at map ref. NZ 571027, and here we turned right to follow the track up the hill to the road at map ref. NZ 573033. We walked along the road for about 200m back to the car park. The whole route had been about 14km and had taken us 5 hours including a couple of stops.

Right: the "Face Stone" on the Cleveland Way

Below: the "Hand Stone" on the Cleveland Way

Very pretty wooded valley near Urra


Very pretty wooded valley near Urra


Very pretty wooded valley near Urra

Looking across to Ingleby Incline and Greenhow Bank from Greenhow Plantation
Looking across to Ingleby Incline and Greenhow Bank from Greenhow Plantation
(the black dots show the line of Ingleby Incline)

Looking across to Botton Head and Greenhow Plantation from Ingleby Incline
Looking across to Botton Head and Greenhow Plantation from Ingleby Incline

Background Notes:
This walk starts at the car park at the top of Clay Bank on the road running south from Stokesley through Bilsdale to Helmsley. There is a great view from the car park across Teesside to the Tees estuary and the distinctive shape of Roseberry Topping. The shape was formed by a massive landslide in the early 1900's caused by natural faults in the rocks and possibly triggered by mine workings. The route is a bit longer than usual at 16km around 10 miles. From the car park we follow a path climbing up around the top edge of Greenhow Plantation, a Forestry Commission woodland. The path leads to a striking shale rockface below Botton Head and then drops down to a stone forest access road along the bottom edge of the plantation. Here there's a really ancient oak tree. The original tree trunk measured well over 11m around its girth. The shape of the trunk is still there but most of it has long since rotted away leaving three new trees shooting up from the original base. I'm sure it must be between 500 & 800 years old. I find it facinating to think that this same living thing was growing here probably when the battle of Angincourt was being fought and possibly as early as the Crusades. A little way beyond this tree we reach the bottom of Ingleby Incline. This is part of the old railway that carried iron ore from the workings in Rosedale and Farndale, down from the moors to the blast furnaces of Teesside. The incline is a steep ramp where loaded trucks ran down the hillside using a pulley system to haul empty trucks up to the top of the incline. We climb up the incline and at the top there is still the base of the building, called the drum house, that used to house the great pulley wheel. From the top of the incline we follow the old railway bed to join the Cleveland Way route. The same track is used over this part of the moor by the Lyke Wale Walk and by Wainwright's Coast to Coast route, all leading from the trig point on Round Hill above Botton Head, although I think most people just call it Botton Head. By the track are two old marker stones, one with a face carved on and one with a hand carved on it. The hand stone is on an ancient trackway from Kirkbymoorside to Stokesley. The face stone is a bit of a mystery as apparently it is mentioned in some deeds of the Duncome Estate in the mid 1600's and so seems to predate the other way mark stones scattered over the moors. The trig point at Botton Head is sited on top of an ancient burial mound and is the highest point on the North York Moors at 454m above sea level, a little under 1500 feet. There is a quick descent from here back to the car park along the Cleveland way route, but our route takes us along a bridleway to a long prehistoric earthwork around the edge of the moor. From the earthwork we drop down to the village of Urra, which probably dates from the early Viking settlements in Bilsdale and from Urra we cross the fields and a very pretty wooded valley full of spring flowers, to climb up a track near the Bilsdale road back to the car park and the end of our walk.

top of page