Cascade on the River Rye in Duncombe Park
The River Rye cascading over a weir in Duncombe Park

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Route No. 300 - Wednesday 1 July 2009
Helmsley, Duncombe Park, River Rye circuit - 8km
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


Helmsley market place at the start of our walk
Helmsley market place at the start of our walk

Sheep in the shade by the drive as we approached Duncombe House
Sheep in the shade by the drive as we approached Duncombe House

We drove to Helmsley and managed to find a parking place on a street near the market place. We set off along a little street from the market place where there are some public toilets.

It was exactly the scorching hot summer's day that had been forecast to day. Jim and I decided on a short walk not too far away and with a good supply of coffee shops.

Helmsley Castle from the Drive into Duncombe Park
Helmsley Castle from the Drive into Duncombe Park

Helmsley Castle from the Drive into Duncombe Park
Helmsley Castle from the Drive into Duncombe Park

Setting off across the parkland from the tea rooms
Setting off across the parkland from the tea rooms

So far it had been a very pleasant walk in the sunshine. After our coffee we planned to walk the two way-marked routes around Duncombe Park out across the parkland and through the woods and back to the park entrance along the River Rye.

We continued to the gates into Duncombe Park and walked up the steady climb along the drive through the parkland for almost 1.5km to the tea rooms. We collected our "grounds only" tickets and a leaflet showing the "parkland Walks" before sitting in the shade for a large coffee.

The gate from the parkland into the woods
The gate from the parkland into the woods


As we crossed the parkland, Jim was feeling rather exuberant in the hot summer sunshine

White tailed bumble bee
White tailed bumble bee

We followed the path through the woods skirting around the edge of the open parkland where a large number of sheep and a few highland cattle were grazing.

We left the tea shop and walked across the open parkland for about 600m to a little gate into Black Howl Wood (the woods are named on the leaflet about the walks).

Path through the woods around the parkland
Path through the woods around the parkland

Path between the woods and the parkland
Path between the woods and the parkland

Traction engines assembling for the steam rally this weekend
Traction engines assembling for the steam rally this weekend

There is to be a large steam rally at Duncombe Park this weekend and traction engines and their owners' caravans were beginning to assemble around the edge of the parkland.

The route had been climbing gently until at the top we could look across the parkland to a splendid view of Duncombe Park House.

Traction engines assembling for the steam rally this weekend
Traction engines assembling for the steam rally this weekend

Duncombe House seen across the parkland from the woods
Duncombe House seen across the parkland from the woods

Entering the meadows by the River Rye
Entering the meadows by the River Rye

Here we left the "Parkland Walk" and joined the "Riverside Walk". We turned right to follow a broad track down the hillside to the meadows beside the River Rye.

We continued on the broad access road through the woods until we met the drive coming up from Duncombe Park House at map ref. SE602826.

Rock Roses by the crushed limestone track
Rock Roses by the crushed limestone track

Path down through the woods to the River Rye
Path down through the woods to the River Rye

River Rye at Duncombe Park
River Rye at Duncombe Park

We came to a bench by a weir on the river known as "The Cascade" and it made a very pretty setting for a stop by the river for a drink in the shade of the trees.

The last time I was here was about 40 years ago when there was a North Riding County Scout Rally and the Meadows were covered in a tented village. It was an excellent site by the River Rye. Well that's how I remember it!

A pleasant spot for a drink in the hot sun
A pleasant spot for a drink in the hot sun

Path by the River Rye
Path by the River Rye

From here we continued along the track away from the river to rejoin the main drive near the main gate. We walked down the drive and out of the gate into the streets of Helmsley.

From the bench by the weir we followed the river bank path for another kilometer to the edge of the woods by the river at map ref. SE610832.

One of a group of Highland Cattle lying in the shade
One of a group of Highland Cattle lying in the shade

Path from the River Rye back up to the gates of Duncombe Park
Path from the River Rye back up to the gates of Duncombe Park
A stream between the houses in Helmsley
A stream between the houses in Helmsley

We made our way to a cafe to round off the walk with a bacon sandwich only to find that we were too late in the day and had to make do with a toasted teacake. The whole walk had been about 8km and it had taken us just under 3 hours to walk including our first coffee stop, on this scorching hot day.

Heading back to the market place in Helmsley
Heading back to the market place in Helmsley

A last look at Helmsley Castle as we left Duncombe Park
A last look at Helmsley Castle as we left Duncombe Park