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Looking across the valley to Cropton from the lane below High Askew farm
Looking across the valley to Cropton from the lane below High Askew farm

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Route No. 202 - Monday 6 November 2006
Cropton, Cropton Forest, Hartoft End
R. Seven, Cropton Banks circuit - 15km
North York Moors

Map: OS Explorer OL27 North York Moors Eastern area at 1:25000
Route Map on 'Landranger' base from OS Open Space service
Open this route in Google Earth


Finger post for the Tabular Hills Walk on the edge of Cropton village
Finger post for the Tabular Hills Walk on the edge of Cropton village

Here I kept straight on as the road turned right and walked along a lovely path on a carpet of beech leaves.

The weather was fine this morning as I drove out to the little village of Cropton on the southern edge of the North York Moors. I parked in front of the village hall in the main street (map ref. SE757891) and started walking at about 8.45am. I headed northwards out of the village to a sharp right hand bend in the road at map ref. SE 759896.

Beef cattle on the edge of Cropton village
Beef cattle on the edge of Cropton village

Path through the beeches to the southern edge of Cropton forest
Path through the beeches to the southern edge of Cropton forest

I followed the path down the bank and between two fields to the edge of the forest.

After about 150m the path emerged from the beech trees to reveal a view over the Cropton Forest.

Path through the beeches to the southern edge of Cropton forest
Path through the beeches to the southern edge of Cropton forest

View north over Cropton Forest from the end of the path through the beeches
View north over Cropton Forest from the end of the path through the beeches

I continued on the path through a block of forest to approach the back of a smallholding across a small field. The path led me through the smallholding yard and out onto their access road. A lady had just taken a sack of rubbish out to the 'wheelie bin' and was returning to the yard as I came out and we exchanged comments about how good the weather was for the time of year. I followed the access road past several other dwellings to come out onto the main access road into this part of the forest called the Sutherland Road at map ref. SE 767906.

Autumn colours in the Cropton Forest by the Sutherland Road
Autumn colours in the Cropton Forest by the Sutherland Road

I turned left onto the Sutherland Road. I kept straight on along this forest road for just over 2km to a 'T'-junction in the forest roads at map ref. SE 763928. Here I kept straight on across the road to a muddy path through the forest for about 700m to map ref. SE 765935.

Footpath through the Cropton Forest from the end of the Sutherland Road
Footpath through the Cropton Forest from the end of the Sutherland Road

Here the path came out onto a bend in another forest road. I turned left off the road immediately after the bend onto a path down the valley side into Hartoft Dale. The start of the path is a bit awkward to spot, but it follows a broken down dry stone wall to the right (north) of the path. The wall is not obvious at the start but appears after about 30m. The path heads straight down the bank and crosses two forest roads to finish at the bottom on a third forest road at map ref. SE 759934.

Car rally warning in the Cropton Forest
Car rally warning in the Cropton Forest

At the junction was a warning sign about a car rally in the forest and that it dawned on me that that was the explaination of the fine particles of the road surface that I had noticed thrown to the edges of all the forest roads I had walked along so far.

Unfortunately I was day dreaming as usual and thought I had reached the bottom when I got to the second road, not the third. After a few hundred metres I came to a junction in the road which should not have been there, and I realised I was too high up the valley side.

Debris thrown to the side of the forest road by the car rally
Debris thrown to the side of the forest road by the car rally

Old platic drum used as an owl nesting box
Old platic drum used as an owl nesting box

At the road I turned right down the hill to cross Hartoft Beck on the road bridge.

I continued along the road at this level for a few more hundred metres until I noticed the start of a path down to the road at the bottom level. At first it looked like an animal track but as soon as I got into the trees it became quite a good path which I followed to the bottom level and was glad to be back on the right route. I followed this road out to the Rosedale road at map ref. SE 749924.

Stepping stones over the River Seven
Stepping stones over the River Seven

Hartoft Beck joins the River Seven
Hartoft Beck joins the River Seven

Immediately over the bridge I turned left off the road onto a path along the bank of Hartoft beck for about 100m to the confluence with the river Seven flowing down Rosedale (map ref. SE 748924). Here the path crosses the river Seven via some stepping stones which are too low to be of much use most of the time. It's only when the river is quite low that you can safely cross on the stepping stones as the continual damp has made them very slippy with green algae. I tried to cross but only used a few of the stones before I decided it was too risky and I simply waded across. I had some spare socks and sat on the far bank in the sunshine for my lunch break and to change my socks.

Path beside Hartoft beck leading to the stepping stones over the River Seven
Path beside Hartoft beck leading to the stepping stones over the River Seven

Autumn colours in Rosedale looking toward Hartoft End
Autumn colours in Rosedale looking toward Hartoft End

After lunch I followed the path up the hill to join a bridleway which runs down Rosedale, and I followed the bridleway for about 1km to High Askew farm and continued for another kilometre to the road at map ref. SE 743900 near Low Askew farm.
The open moor near High Askew farm in Rosedale
The open moor near High Askew farm in Rosedale

I walked south down the road past Low Askew to map ref. SE 743897 where I kept straight on as the road turned sharp right and followed the footpath across the fields and through the woods to map ref. SE 746879 at Appleton Mill Farm.

Red Admiral butterfly on the path
Red Admiral butterfly on the path
The stream at Low Askew farm
The stream at Low Askew farm

Looking across the valley toward Cropton from the path near Appleton Mill Farm
Looking across the valley toward Cropton from the path near Appleton Mill Farm

From the farm where there were a couple of charcoal burning kilns, I followed the path round the river bank to a footbridge at map ref. SE 747880.

Waste from a charcoal kiln
Waste from a charcoal kiln - logs that haven't burnt through
Log stack and charcoal kilns at Appleton Mill Farm
Log stack and charcoal kilns at Appleton Mill Farm
River Seven near Appleton Mill Farm
River Seven near Appleton Mill Farm
Footbridge over the River Seven near Appleton Mill Farm
Footbridge over the River Seven near Appleton Mill Farm

Cattle on the path  at Cropton Banks
Cattle on the path at Cropton Banks

Red Admiral butterfly by the path
Red Admiral butterfly by the path

From the footbridge I followed the path through the fields and up the hill for about 500m. to map ref. SE 752881. Here the path joined an old track running between hedges with a good view up the valley, and I walked along this track back into Cropton village. It had been a very pleasant walk in the autumn sunshine. The whole route had been 15km and it had taken me just over five hours to walk including my breaks, but still quite a slow pace.

Looking back down the path from the top of Cropton Banks
Looking back down the path from the top of Cropton Banks

The old lane back into Cropton village
The old lane back into Cropton village
Autumn colour in Cropton village
Autumn colour in Cropton village