The path through Robin Hood's Howl
The path through Robin Hood's Howl

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Route No. 283 - Wednesday 25 February 2009
Kirkdale, Hodge Beck,
Robin Hood's Howl 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 OL26 North York Moors Western area at 1:25000


This morning we made an early start, leaving home at about 8.30 am because Jim was on grandad duty to collect his grand daughter from nursery early in the afternoon and I had to collect mine a little later. We drove to the start of the lane leading to St Gregory's Minster at map ref. SE676855. This is at the bottom end of Kirk Dale between Helmsley and Kirkbymoorside. At the start of the lane there is room to park one or maybe two cars off the road where a bridleway goes off across the fields.

Western Red Cedar at St Gregory's Minster
Western Red Cedar at St Gregory's Minster

St Gregory's Minster, Kirkdale
St Gregory's Minster, Kirkdale

Site of footbridge over Hodge Beck
Site of footbridge over Hodge Beck

There was a notice attached to the bridleway marker post advising walkers that the bridge over Hodge Beck just beyond Gregory's Minster had been washed away and an alternative route using a ford was available.

We started walking at about 9.15 along the lane to St Gregory's Minster. From there we crossed a field to the ford across Hodge Beck and managed to cross with dry feet. The site of the bridge was about 150m upstream of the ford.

Ford across Hodge Beck
Ford across Hodge Beck

Woodland path along Kirkdale
Woodland path along Kirkdale

The wreckage of the bridge could be seem stranded at a bend in the beck about 100m downstream of the ford. It must have been quite a flood that was able to carry the substantial structure so far.

Woodland path along Kirkdale beside Hodge Beck
Woodland path along Kirkdale beside Hodge Beck
Caldron Mill on Hodge Beck
Caldron Mill on Hodge Beck

We followed the path up Kirk Dale for about 2km to Cauldron Mill.

Woodland path along Kirkdale
Woodland path along Kirkdale

Woodland path along Kirkdale
Woodland path along Kirkdale

From the mill we continued up the valley for another 2km to map ref. SE661880.

Woodland path along Kirkdale
Woodland path along Kirkdale
Looking across Sleightholmedale from Green Lane
Looking across Sleightholmedale from Green Lane

Here we followed the track up the valley side to join a tree-lined road called Green Lane on the map.

Climbing out of Kirkdale
Climbing out of Kirkdale

Our lunch stop at the end of Green Lane near Fadmoor
Our lunch stop at the end of Green Lane near Fadmoor

We walked along Green Lane for about 700m to the junction at map ref. SE672887.

Here we sat on a low bank under the trees for our lunch. We could see up the valley of Hodge Beck across the fields. From Green Lane northwards what was called Kirk Dale now becomes Sleightholme Dale.

Signpost at the end of Green Lane
Signpost at the end of Green Lane

Sign of spring - cuckoo pint shoots
Sign of spring - cuckoo pint shoots

A few kilometers further upstream the valley widens out and is there called Bransdale. It's all the same valley with Hodge Beck flowing through it all the way.

The path from Starfits Lane to Hagg Wood has been completely ploughed out
The path from Starfits Lane to Hagg Wood has been completely ploughed out

After our break we turned right at the road junction and walked along the road called Starfits Lane, past a farm called Woolah to a footpath on the left at map ref. SE673878. The path crosses a field to Hagg Wood. It is a large field and had been ploughed ready for this year's crop and there was no sign of the path across it except for the marker post at the road.

Path through Hagg Wood
Path through Hagg Wood

Approaching Hagg Road along Wattlemoor Slack
Approaching Hagg Road along Wattlemoor Slack

We tramped across the furrows to the edge of the wood and found the over grown and broken down stile into Hagg Wood.The path through the wood is marked by short posts that used to be white with a yellow band round the top, but are now very faded and covered with green algae. The path came out of the wood to cross a field, called Wattlemoor Slack, and a strip of new plantation.

We followed the path to Hagg Road at map ref. SE680876.

Stile into Wattlemoor Slack at Hagg Road
Stile into Wattlemoor Slack at Hagg Road

Leaving Hagg Road for Robin Hood's Howl
Leaving Hagg Road for Robin Hood's Howl

We turned right at the road to walk along the road for about 200m.

Path through Robin Hood's Howl
Path through Robin Hood's Howl

Deer tracks in Robin Hood's Howl
Deer tracks in Robin Hood's Howl

Here we turned left off the road to follow a path down a wooded valley called Robin Hood's Howl. The path down this valley led us to a road junction at map ref. SE681856.

Very large ivy stem growing up an ash tree
Very large ivy stem growing up an ash tree

At the junction we took the road opposite which went past the site of Kirkdale Cave to a ford across Hodge Beck.

Horses with their winter coats on
Horses with their winter coats on

Snowdrops on the road side
Snowdrops on the road side

There is a footbridge at the ford but we walked through the shallow water to wash our boots.

The ford across Hodge Beck on the road near the end of our walk
The ford across Hodge Beck just below Kirkdale Cave on the road near the end of our walk

The water depth here can vary from completely dry to too deep to risk your car through. We followed the road up the hill back to our starting point. The whole walk was 9km and it had taken us just over three hours including our lunch stop.

Sign of spring - celandine leaves
Sign of spring - celandine leaves

Sign of spring - wild garlic shoots
Sign of spring - wild garlic shoots

We even had time for a coffee and toasted teacake in our favourite cafe in Helmsley before returning home to collect our repective grand daughters.