A carpet of wild daffodils by the river Dove near Lowna, Farndale
A carpet of wild daffodils by the river Dove near Lowna, Farndale

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Route No. 288 - Saturday 4 April 2009
Lowna, River Dove, Low Mill,
Harland Moor circuit - 11km
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


Looking down Farndale from Lowna with The Nab on the left
Looking down Farndale from Lowna in the morning mist with The Nab on the left

Our first daffodils at Lowna Bridge
Our first daffodils at Lowna Bridge

There is an official 'daffodil walk' from Low Mill to Church Houses and back which is about 4km, pretty flat, cafe at the Church Houses end, toilets and WI tea room at Low Mills so it's very popular.

This morning we met our usual group of friends for our monthly walk together. We all parked at the little car par off the Gilamoor to Hutton-le-Hole road at Lowna, map ref. SE685910. The wild daffodils in Farndale are a huge attraction at this time of year.

Don't pick the daffodils

The track from Lowna Bridge
The track from Lowna Bridge

He tipped me off that the daffodils in the woods by the river Dove upstream from Lowna are excellent this year. That's why we're here for our alternative Farndale daffodil walk. We set off just after 10.30 and walked down the road from the car park over the river Dove towards Hutton-le-Hole.

A large field is used as a temporary car park for the short daffodil season. We did not want to get embroiled in all of this. My walking companion last Wednesday, Max, is a volunteer ranger with the North York Moors National Park.

Woodland daffodils
Woodland daffodils

Woodland daffodils
Woodland daffodils

For the next kilometer the woods and river bank were full of wild daffodils all in full flower. There were probably more flowers than on the official daffodil walk and to my eye they make a prettier show in the woodland setting.

About 100m beyond the bridge, on the crown of a bend in the road we turned left at map ref. SE688909 onto a track heading up the valley. After about 200m we took the left fork in the track signposted to Low Mill.

Woodland daffodils
Woodland daffodils

Woodland daffodils by the river Dove in Farndale
Woodland daffodils by the river Dove in Farndale
A carpet of wild daffodils in the woods
A carpet of wild daffodils in the woods

Wild daffodils in the woods
Wild daffodils in the woods

Then on to Ewe Cote and Underhill Farm and out to the road near Tenter Hill at map ref. SE681944.

We continued along the same track past Birch Hagg House and Hagg End Farm.

The track up to Ewe Cote farm
The track up to Ewe Cote farm

Looking up Farndale from the track near Ewe Cote farm
Looking up Farndale from the track near Ewe Cote farm
A lovely old oak tree by the track
A lovely old oak tree by the track
Hens at Ewe Cote farm
Hens at Ewe Cote farm
A pack of fox hounds
A pack of fox hounds

A creche of lambs
A creche of lambs

At the village we made use of the public toilet facilities and had a very nice cup of tea and a cake at the WI tea shop in the village hall.

At the road we turned left to follow the road for about 700m to a junction where we turned left across the River Dove to Low Mill.

Not the prettiest daffodil we saw
Not the prettiest daffodil we saw

Low Mill in Farndale
Low Mill in Farndale

Horn ridge from the road above Low Mill
Horn ridge from the road above Low Mill

Then across a lane and some pasture, then through a small wood to map ref. SE665946. Here at the top edge of the wood we turned left to follow a path climbing up the rocky hillside to the open moor.

From Low Mill we followed the road up the western side of the valley to Kneysbeck, map ref. SE669948. Here we took the path on the left straight up the hillside, through a cottage garden.

Heading up the hillside through the woods
Heading up the hillside through the woods above Low Mill

Path up to the moor above Low Mill
Path up to the moor above Low Mill
Car park at Low Mill for the offical daffodil walk
Car park at Low Mill for the offical daffodil walk
Looking up Farndale from our path above Low Mill
Looking up Farndale from our path above Low Mill
Setting off again after our lunch in the heather
Setting off again after our lunch in the heather
Path across Harland Moor
Path across Harland Moor
Path across Harland Moor
Path across Harland Moor
Path across Harland Moor
Path across Harland Moor
Looking up Farndale from the road over Harland Moor
Looking up Farndale from the road over Harland Moor

Path back down to the river Dove
Path back down to the river Dove

We walked along the road for about 100m and turned left off the road to follow a path down the valley side to the river Dove at map ref. SE682925.

We continued along this path across the moor for about 1.5 km to join a track at map ref. SE671930. We walked along the track for about 400m to the road at map ref. SE674928.

Path back down to the river Dove
Path back down to the river Dove

Path by the river Dove heading back to Lowna
Path by the river Dove heading back to Lowna
River Dove near Lowna
River Dove near Lowna

Wood anenomies by the river Dove
Wood anenomies by the river Dove

We were very pleased with our alternative Farndale daffodil walk. Thanks for the tip Max - it was a great day out. The whole route had been 11km and had taken us four and a half hours to walk including our stop in Low Mill and our lunch stop on the edge of the moor.

From here we walked along the riverside path for about 1.5km back to the car park. This final part of the walk was through woodland full of daffodils. It was an amazing sight.

Track back to the car park at Lowna
Track back to the car park at Lowna

More woodland daffodils by the river Dove near Lowna
More woodland daffodils by the river Dove near Lowna

Background Notes:
This route is a circular route of about 11km (7 miles) from a little parking area at Lowna near the River Dove in lower Farndale off the road between the villages of Hutton-le-Hole and Gillamoor. There's room for perhaps a dozen cars. It's daffodil season and at this time of year around 40,000 visitors come to Farndale to see the wild daffodils beside the River Dove, The official daffodil walk is a 'there and back' walk from Low Mill to the Daffy Cafe near Church Houses, a round trip of about 5km (3 miles), and it's very busy. So my suggestion is to walk the lower reaches of the River Dove from Lowna up stream to Low Mill returning over Harland Moor which involves a good climb out of Low Mill. It's said that the daffodils were introduced by the monks of Rievaulx Abbey, the old name for daffodils is the lenten lilly because it blooms in lent so maybe there's a connection there. Walking up river from Lowna the woods by the river are just full of daffodils, just as many if not more than the official daffodil walk, but this is a longer more strenuous route. The walk follows an old public right of way along a farm access track climbing up away from the river to the road above Low Mill. You then follow the road down into Low Mill where there are toilet facilities, a tea room in the daffodil season and an information caravan manned by the National Park Ranger Service, many of them are volunteers. I'd like to give them a pat on the back here because a friend of mine walked this route in February only to find the path obstructed in several places by fallen trees. He reported this to the ranger service and checked the route again this week and found to his delight that all the fallen trees had been cleared. (of couse I don't know for certain that it's a case of cause and effect but in any case the ranger service do a great job) From Low Mill the route climbs up on to Harland Moor. The steep path cut into the rocky heather hillside passes a disused quarry and gives some wondeful views over Farndale to Blakey Ridge on the far side. It's worth the climb just for the views. If you look carefully at the valley sides as you climb you can see the spoil heaps of the ironstone mining industry that filled this valley and other parts of the North York Moors until the end of the 1800's. The ironstone was burnt in huge kilns in Rosedale (calcination) to reduce its wieght & bulk and then it was transported by railway to Ingleby Incline and down from the moors to be smelted in the blast furnaces of the growing steel industry on Teesside. Nature has reclaimed that stark industrial landscape and given us the beautiful valley that is such a joy to walk in now-a-days. Harland Moor is quite a contrast to the soft scenes of the riverside with its daffodils but I like the open moor. It's our English version of "Big Sky Country". After a while the route drops down the valley side from the moor back to the river and follows a lovely path along the western bank of the river back to the car park. I do hope the photos on the web site convey the scale of the daffodil carpet along this part of Farndale or better still, go see it for yourself.

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