Winter landscape above Pickering
Winter landscape above Pickering

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Route No. 276 - Wednesday 3 December 2008
Pickering, Howl Dale circuit 9km
North York Moors. . .

Ordnance Survey route map on the Landranger series map base.
View the route in Google Earth

Map: Ordnance Survey Explorer OL27 North York Moors Eastern area at 1:25000


Leaving Pickering along Ruffa Lane
Leaving Pickering along Ruffa Lane

I parked in the 'pay-and-display' car park by the roundabout at the junction of the A169 and the A170. Much of my walk today would follow the boundary of the North York Moors National Park.

This morning I drove to Pickering, mainly because I could get there on main roads via York and Malton and avoid the minor roads which are still very icy after the recent snowfall.

The lane heading east out of Pickering
The lane heading east out of Pickering

Path across farmland towards Howl Dale
Path across farmland towards Howl Dale

Path through the woods in Howl dale
Path through the woods in Howl Dale

After a few hundred metres the track ended at map ref. SE812836. There was a stile to continued along a path between fences at the edge of a field. At the end of the field the path turned left around the edge of the field and entered the woods in Howl Dale at map ref. SE815836.

From the car park I took the A169 towards Whitby for about 100m to Ruffa Lane on the left. I walked along Ruffa Lane for just over 1km until the houses came to an end and the track continued between the fields.

Path through the woods in Howl dale
Path through the woods in Howl Dale

Path through the woods in Howl dale
Path through the woods in Howl Dale

The seed heads of giant hogweed covered in snow
The seed heads of giant hogweed covered in snow

Every so often the ice would break through into the water below. I followed this track along the bottom of Howl Dale for over 2km to map ref. SE828849.

The track along Howl Dale was full with water filled ruts covered with ice and a layer of snow. It was rough and awkward underfoot.

Path through the woods in Howl dale
Path through the woods in Howl Dale

Rabbit tracks coming towards the camera
Rabbit tracks coming towards the camera

Deer tracks heading towards the camera
Deer tracks heading towards the camera

Fox tracks heading away from the camera
Fox tracks heading away from the camera

Scots pine against the clear blue sky
Scots pine against the clear blue sky

Here I turned left to follow a path up the side of the valley along a field edge. After crossing another field I came to a small wood and the path led me through it to the A169 at map ref. SE823855.

The track up out of Howl Dale
The track up out of Howl Dale

The track up out of Howl Dale
The track up out of Howl Dale

Looking back down the track out of Howl Dale
Looking back down the track out of Howl Dale

Sheep picking a living from below the snow
Sheep picking a living from below the snow
Heading for a small wood near the A169
Heading for a small wood near the A169
Looking east across Howl Dale
Looking east across Howl Dale
Stile on the National Park boundary
Stile on the National Park boundary
Small wood by the A169 on the National Park boundary
Small wood by the A169 on the National Park boundary

Small wood by the A169 on the National Park boundary
Small wood by the A169 on the National Park boundary

I turned left in the wood to follow a path in the fields along the top edge of the woods above the valley of Pickering Beck.

I crossed the road by the North York Moors National Park Boundary sign and continued down the side of a field to Little Park Wood.

National Park boundary marker on the A169
National Park boundary marker on the A169

My lunch stop on a convenient wall
My lunch stop on a convenient wall

Path around the top edge of Little Park Wood
Path around the top edge of Little Park Wood

Sheltered spot under a hedge where two deer sheltered
Sheltered spot under a hedge where two deer rested safe from the bad weather. There were plenty of droppings to confirm their identity
Beautiful pink fruits of the Spindle Tree
Beautiful pink fruits of the Spindle Tree . . .
Beautiful pink fruits of the Spindle Tree
. . . they split open revealing yellow seeds which are soon eaten by birds
Heading back to Pickering around the top edge of the woods
Heading back to Pickering around the top edge of the woods
The hollow bowl of an old ash tree
The hollow bowl of an old ash tree
The path leaves the edge of the woods to cross the field heading towards Pickering
The path leaves the edge of the woods here to cross the field heading towards Pickering

About to join the track into Pickering
About to join the track into Pickering

This track leads into a housing estate on the edge of Pickering and continues in a straight line through the estate to the A169 at map ref. SE801843.

After about 2km, at map ref. SE803851, the path turns south away from the woods to cross the field and join a track called Lowe Lane.

Winter trees against the blue sky
Winter trees against the blue sky - every season has its own magic

Lowe Lane - track into Pickering
Lowe Lane - track into Pickering

I had just enough time to drive home and collect my grand daughter from her nursery. It had been a very pleasant walk in the snow on a bright clear winter's day.

From there I walked along the A169, back down the hill to the car park where I had started. The whole route had been about 9km and had taken me three and a half hours to walk including a stop for a drink and a sandwich.

Lowe Lane heading back into Pickering
Lowe Lane heading back into Pickering