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Board walk by the river Rye
Board walk by the river Rye

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Route No. 162 - Saturday 7 January 2006
River Rye, Murton Grange, Caydale, Nettle Dale
Hambleton Hills, North York Moors . . .

Maps: OS Explorer OL26 North York Moors Western area at 1:25000
Route Map from OS Open Space service
See also Walk No. 1 to print out

Misty view from the car park at our starting point
Misty view from the car park at our starting point

This morning a group of seven of us met at a little muddy parking area at map ref. SE 563845 on the road from Scawton to Rievaulx at about 10.30 As we arrived a pheasant shoot was being set up. One of the sportsmen took his position in the car park and explained that we were quite safe. He seemed quite pleasant but the conversation was limited by the fact that he was wearing ear plugs.

Guinea fowl near Ashberry Farm
Guinea fowl near Ashberry Farm

Cockerel crossing the road
Cockerel crossing the road

The drive was pushing the birds from south to north across the road and they were flying over at a height of almost 30m. and so presented a difficult target. Apparently this is what the sportsmen like. Unfortunately the inevitable side effect of this is that few birds are killed outright and we were treated to the sight of injured birds running across the fields to be retieved by the gun dogs and finally dispatched by the sportsmen.

We set off along the road for just over half a kilometer to Ahsberry Farm at map ref. SE 571844. Here we took the footpath to the right up through the woods above the River Rye and overlooking the ruins of Rievaulx Abbey. There was another pheasant shoot in progress in from the fields below us and the birds were flying in across our path. Again we were able to watch the gundogs searching for the injured birds and carrying them back to their handlers.

Old English long horn cattle near Ashberry Farm
Old English long horn cattle near Ashberry Farm

Gnarled oak tree by the river Rye
Gnarled oak tree by the river Rye

We continued along the path beside the river Rye for about 3km. to Tylas Farm at map ref. SE 565867 where we continued on the farm track to Barnclose Farm. Here we took the path up the hill to the barn at map ref. SE 559875.

Board walk by the river Rye
Board walk by the river Rye

Farm road heading for Tylas Farm
Farm road heading for Tylas Farm

Part way up the hill we stopped for a break and a drink with a view of Hawnby Hill and Easterside hill through the mist. It had been a dull overcast drizzly day so far with pockets of mist hanging around in the valleys. From the barn we followed the path Murton Grange at map ref. SE 536879.

Riding school ponies in their winter quarters
Riding school ponies in their winter quarters
Lunch break at the Captains Seat

At Murton Grange we turned left on to a minor road, heading southwards towards Caydale. At a left hand bend in the road (map ref. SE 535874) we turned right on to a bridleway and across Caydale. As we went down into the valley we passed a convoy of four wheel drive vehicles carrying yet another shooting party and their dogs (see photo). Near the top of the climb out of the valley in "The Captain's Seat" The current seat was installed about 18 months ago to replace one that simply collapsed into a heap of matchwood. We stopped at the seat for another break and to admire the view. From the top of the valley we continued across the fields to the minor road at map ref. SE 531852.

Left: Lunch break at the Captain's Seat

Below: View across Caydale from the Captain's Seat

View across Caydale from the Captain's Seat
Retired tractor by the road
Retired tractor by the road
The track down Nettle Dale
The track down Nettle Dale

At the road we turned right along the road for a few hundred metres to map ref. SE 535852. Here we turned right off the road to follow a track down Nettle Dale. There are some stepping stones over the stream and just beyond them we noticed numerous small burrows in the bank with well wron tracks running between them.

Stepping stones in Nettle Dale
Stepping stones in Nettle Dale

Rat colony in Nettle Dale
Rat colony in Nettle Dale

The burrows were much too small for rabbits and were in fact a huge colony of rats who were being well fed on the liberal amounts of corn strewn everywhere for the pheasants. A little further on we saw more evidence od this mornings shoot in the shape of an injured female pheasant cowering on the bank beside the path.

I went to finish it off but was restrained by my sister and my wife who were too squeemish - I regret that I allowed myself to be put off (It's a job I can do as I used to keep a few hens and killing them for the pot is part and parcel of it.)

Rat colony in Nettle Dale
Rat colony in Nettle Dale

One of the ponds in Nettle Dale
One of the ponds in Nettle Dale

We followed the track down Nettle Dale past the ponds back to our starting point at the car park. The whole route had been about 15km and had taken us just over four and a half hours to walk including our stops.