white horse logo

More bluebells in Collier Hag wood
More bluebells in Collier Hag Wood

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. 217 - Wednesday 2 May 2007
Helmsley, Riccal Dale, Carlton Grange,
Collier Hag Wood circuit -13.7 km
Helmsley, North York Moors . . .

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


Reaching the edge of the woods above Riccal Dale
Reaching the edge of the woods above Riccal Dale

The woods above Riccal dale are carpeted with a mixture of Dogs Mercury, wild garlic and bluebells
The woods above Riccal dale are carpeted with
a mixture of dogs mercury, wild garlic and bluebells

Anyway today started well because for the first time for ages both my neighbour, Jim, and my brother-in-law, John, were free of grandad duties and the three of us met in Helmsley on the southern edge of the North York Moors National Park at 10am. It looked like being a fine sunny day. We set off from map ref. SE 616839 and followed a footpath across the fields to Reagarth Farm at map ref. SE 627845.

My walk from Skipton on 23 April filled me with hope that the treatment for my heart condition had worked (They had reset my heart rhythm with an electric shock, under anaesthetic and everything was looking fine). But I knew that I had been feeling much less active in the last few days and I was a bit worried that my irregular heart rhythm was returning which apparently happens to about 40% of patients in the first year after treatment.

Bluebells by the path
Bluebells by the path

More Bluebells, a lot more than I remembered seeing  here before
More Bluebells, a lot more than I remembered seeing here before

A farm machinery store we came across in the woods
A farm machinery store we came across in the woods

My friends persuaded me that we should not drop down into Riccal Dale as I had intended, but we should follow the path around the edge of the woods above the valley.

The first little rise in the ground on the approach to Reagarth Farm told me that I was definitely not as fit as I had been just over a week ago at Skipton.

Cowslips by the path
Cowslips by the path

Looking across Ryedale to the Hambleton Hills
Looking across Ryedale to the Hambleton Hills
Taking a moment to enjoy the view  (and waiting for me to catch up)
Taking a moment to enjoy the view (and waiting for me to catch up)
Partridge in a ploughed field by the track
Partridge in a ploughed field by the track
Partridge in a ploughed field by the track
Partridge in a ploughed field by the track
We sat on the bank for a drink and a sandwich
We sat on the bank for a drink and a sandwich

Track through the woods above Riccal Dale
Track through the woods above Riccal Dale

From the old army camp we followed a conrete farm road to the public road at map ref. SE 612875. Here we crossed the road and followed the farm road to Carlton Grange, a farm that also has a small Caravan Club camping site. It looks to be a very pleasant place to stay.

We walked along the woodland path and farm track from map ref. SE 630846 for about 3km to map ref. SE 618872. At this point there are the remains of an old world war 2 army camp in the woods with the concrete bases for many Nissen huts clearly visible.

Farm track to Carlton Grange
Farm track to Carlton Grange

Footpath crossing the top end of Ash Dale
Footpath crossing the top end of Ash Dale

We continued on the footpath past the farm and across the little valley that is the upper end of Ash Dale to the road at High Baxton's Farm. At the farm we turned left to walk along the road for about 200m to map ref. SE 598876 where we turned right off the road to follow a path round the edge of the fields to map ref. SE 593877 on the edge of the woods.

A Scots Pine, a lovely tree
A Scots Pine, a lovely tree

Start of the path down to Collier Hag wood
Start of the path down to Collier Hag wood

Path down to the stream though Collier Hag wood
Path down to the stream though Collier Hag wood

Heading for the end of Collier Hag wood
Heading for the end of Collier Hag wood

Saw mill on the approach to Helmsley
Saw mill on the approach to Helmsley

About 250m beyond the saw mill we turned right off the track to follow a footpath over a wooden footbridge.

We followed the path down the valley, through the Collier Hag Woods for about 3.5km to the saw mill at map ref. SE 606843.

Gorgeous little path by the stream that emerges on the main road in Helmsley
Gorgeous path by the stream that emerges on the main road in Helmsley

Speedwells by the stream
Speedwells by the stream

The weather had been perfect and it had been a very pleasant day out with my friends. I was very disappointed with my level of fitness and will just have to see what the consultant has to say at my next appointment at the end of July.

From the footbridge we followed a little paved path beside the stream to emerge on the main road in Helmsley at map ref. SE 609840. From here we walked to the nearest coffee shop for our usual finish to the walk and then continued through the town back to our starting point.

The church in Helmsley
The church in Helmsley

Background Notes:
This walk is a circular route of almost 14km, about eight and a half miles, from Helmsley. Helmsley is a popular spot with lots of small shops, and visitor attractions that include the castle and Duncome Park. We leave the town on a path across the fields heading East to Reagarth Farm. Along this path there is an impressive old Ash tree just as we leave the town and some large old Oaks along the way. Beyond Reagarth Farm we reach the edge of Riccall dale and follow a path just in the edge of the woods. In the spring these woods are full of wild flowers including bluebells, wild garlic and dogs mercury and these plants indicate that this little valley has been wooded for at least several centuries. We follow the path through the woods for about 2.5km to some surprisingly well made roads in the woods. This is in fact the remains of the wartime army camp called Carlton High Woods Camp with roads laid out around the bases of many Nissen Huts. It seems that in this quiet corner of North Yorkshire in March 1944 there were hundreds of men of the 310th Armoured Brigade, part of the Guards Armoured Division, stationed here. They were some of the forces that took part in the Normandy landings just 3 months later at the beginning of June that year and in September they saw action in Operation Market Garden under Montgomery trying to secure a northerly crossing of the Rhine. How on earth did all these young men cope with such a sudden transition from the tranquility of the Yorkshire countryside to some of the bloodiest battles of the war? We follow the old army camp roads out to cross the public road from Carlton and head out to Carlton Grange Farm where there is a small caravan site. Beyond the farm we cross the head of Ash Dale, a wooded valley that runs all the way back to Helmsley. We continue to High Baxton's Farm on another minor road. We cross the fields south of the farm and come to the edge of another wooded valley. This part of the valley is a mature conifer plantation, quite open - not dense and an attractive piece of woodland. We follow a path along the rim of the valley amongst the conifers to a track that takes us down to the valley bottom next to a small stream. This tiny stream became a raging torrent in a thunder storm one July in the mid 1990's and reshaped the whole course of the stream down the valley. In this part of the valley the woodland is called Collier Hag Wood and the valley is managed for the rearing and shooting of pheasants. There are huge pheasant rearing pens stradling the valley bottom and the public footpath runs along the valley bottom too. Last time I walked here there were double gates operated like an air lock at both ends of the pheasant pen to prevent the pheasants escaping as you walked through, it's just a huge hen run really. When the pheasants are older the gates are just left open and the pheasants disperse into the woodland and there are feeding stations for them along the valley. It's a pretty valley and in the spring there are banks of bluebells by the stream. A little further down the valley we pass a large working sawmill. A few hundred metres further on we bear right off the stone track onto a pretty footpath over a footbridge across Borough Beck and along a narrow causeway by the beck that leads out onto the main road through Helmsley near the church and the end of our walk.

top of page