Looking north from the ridge of Hawnby Hill
Looking north from the ridge of Hawnby Hill

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Route No. 302 - Wednesday 15 July 2009
Hawnby, Easterside Hill,
Hawnby Hill 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


Road junction where we started our walk
Road junction where we started our walk

We parked off the road on a little gravel area next to the junction at map ref. SE543898. We started walking at about 10.00am and it was already starting to rain.

The weather forecast for today was not good. Showers, some heavy and a few bright intervals. Jim, my neighbour, and I drove to Hawnby in the North York Moors north of Helmsley.

Sheltering under a tree in Hawnby village
Sheltering under a tree in Hawnby village

A weather station - the rain gauge was very useful today
A weather station - the rain gauge was very useful today

We sheltered under a tree by the road for a few minutes and then continued down the hill to the road junction at map ref. SE542894.

We had only walked a few yards down the hill in the village towards the lower part of the village by the River Rye when the rain became very heavy.

Start of the path at Hawnby Bridge
Start of the path at Hawnby Bridge

Path from Hawnby Bridge up to Easterside Farm
Path from Hawnby Bridge up to Easterside Farm

A substantial oak tree by the path to Easterside Farm
A substantial oak tree by the path to Easterside Farm

Here we turned off the road to follow a path heading east across the fields and then up the hillside to the road next to Easterside farm at map ref. SE551896.

Path up to Easterside farm
Path up to Easterside Farm

A ground Ivy flower looking almost like an orchid
A Ground Ivy flower looking almost like an orchid

Looking up Ryedale from the road at Easterside Farm
Looking up Ryedale from the road at Easterside Farm

A Texel tupp at the foot of Easterside Hill
A Texel tupp at the foot of Easterside Hill

There was a stile from the field to the moor and we continued to climb up on to the moor top along a well worn footpath.

We crossed the road and followed a public footpath along the field edge up to the edge of the open moor.

Foxgloves by the path
Foxgloves by the path

Looking down Ryedale as we began to climb up Easterside Hill
Looking down Ryedale as we began to climb up Easterside Hill
Looking across to Newgate Bank from the top of Easterside Hill
Looking across to Newgate Bank from the top of Easterside Hill

An Emperor Moth caterpillar, feeds on heather
An Emperor Moth caterpillar, feeds on heather

Newgate Bank was still topped with low cloud, and the view along Bilsdale indicated that it was still raining there.

The rain had stopped and a few patches of blue sky were starting to appear so we sat in the heather by the path with a view across to Newgate Bank.

Path around the foot of Easterside Hill
Path around the foot of Easterside Hill

Looking north East to Billsdale from the foot of Easterside Hill
Looking North East to Billsdale from the foot of Easterside Hill

Dropping down from the moor to Ladhill Beck
Dropping down from the moor to Ladhill Beck

We followed this path around the base of Easterside Hill for over a kilometer to a track at map ref. SE547917. At the track we turned left and followed the track for about 250m.

After our break we set off again along the path dropping down from Easterside Hill to join another footpath at map ref. SE556908.

Footbridge over Ladhill Beck
Footbridge over Ladhill Beck

Ladhill Beck
Ladhill Beck

The muddy path led us to a footbridge over the beck. This is yet another of the bridges replaced after the flash floods in this area a few years ago.

At this point we turned right to follow an increasingly muddy cattle path across a field to some very boggy woodland beside Ladhill Beck.

Looking up to Hawnby Hill
Looking up to Hawnby Hill

Looking back to Easterside Hill
Looking back to Easterside Hill

Setting out to climb Hawnby Hill from Moor Gate
Setting out to climb Hawnby Hill from Moor Gate

We had a drink and gathered ourselves to climb Hawnby Hill. After our break we followed a permissive path on to the ridge of Hawnby Hill. It's well worth the climb with lovely views in every direction.

From the footbridge we climbed up to the track at Moor Gate, map ref. SE539916. Near the road we sat under a large ash tree with a nice view of both Hawnby Hill ahead of us and Easterside Hill away to our left.

Bell heather in flower
Bell heather in flower

Looking NW across Ryedale from the foot of Hawnby Hill
Looking NW across Ryedale from the foot of Hawnby Hill

Looking North West across Ryedale from the top of Hawnby Hill
Looking North West across Ryedale from the top of Hawnby Hill
Looking North East  across Ladhill Beck from the top of Hawnby Hill
Looking North East across Ladhill Beck from the top of Hawnby Hill

Walking the ridge of Hawnby Hill
Walking the ridge of Hawnby Hill

There were lots of small orange and cream butterflies darting by but never settling long enough for a picture.

We were having another bright sunny spell at this stage and it was a very pleasant walk along the ridge in the sunshine.

Thistles in bloom on Hawnby Hill
Thistles in bloom on Hawnby Hill

Looking over Hawnby across Ryedale from Hawnby Hill
Looking over Hawnby across Ryedale from Hawnby Hill

The footpath back into Hawnby village
The footpath back into Hawnby village, just a bit overgrown

This path took us into Hawnby village a a 'T'-junction by the bus stop and the pub. At the road we turned right and walked the last 150m back to the car.

We came carefully down the steep end of Hawnby Hill with my dodgy knees creaking a bit, to join a public footpath at map ref. SE541899.

The footpath back into Hawnby village
The footpath back into Hawnby village

Approaching the edge of Hawnby village
Approaching the edge of Hawnby village

It had taken us three and a half hours to walk including a couple of stops. We stopped in Helmsley on our way home but had to use another cafe as our favourite haunt has stopped doing bacon rolls after mid day, scandalous!

The rain started again and we had to hurry to get our boots off and get into the car to avoid getting soaked at the last minute. The whole walk had been about 8km.

An ancient mini awaiting an enthusiastic restorer
An ancient mini awaiting an enthusiastic restorer

Background Notes:
This is a circular walk of 8km, about 5 miles from the village of Hawnby in the North York Moors. From the village we set off down the hill opposite the bus shelter to the River Rye at the bottom of the slope. Here there is another part of Hawnby. Originally there was just the village at the top of the hill next to the pub. In the mid 1700's three men of the village heard John Wesley preach and were converted to Methodism. In Hawnby their landlord was scandalised by this turn of events and promptly evicted the men and their families from his property. Fortunately the families were given land next to the river by a supporter and a thriving Methodist community grew up there. These days the animosity between the Anglicans up the hill and the Methodists by the river has dissipated and the two churches work closely together. Just before the bridge over the River Rye we turn left off the road to follow a path across the fields. The stone road bridge here was badly damaged by a fierce flash flood in June 2005 and had to be completely rebuilt. Our path across the fields leads us to Easterside Farm at the foot of Easterside Hill. If you approach Hawnby by road from the south there is a lovely view across Ryedale to Easterside Hill and Hawnby Hill. Their shapes are similar and together they look to me like two giant creatures lying down side by side on the moor. There's another good vantage point to view these hills from and that is the viewing platform at the Forestry Commission car park at the top of Newgate Bank overlooking Bilsdale. You can probably tell that I quite like these two hills. From Easterside farm we cross the road and follow a path up onto Easterside Hill with lovely views out over Ryedale. The moorland path crosses the ridge of the hill and drops down to skirt around the base of the hill to the north. From the northern end of the hill we drop down to the ruins of Crow Nest farm. I always find this place so evocative of the past and try to visualise it as a working farm in the first half of the 1900's not so very long ago. From the ruin we continue down to cross the footbridge over Ladhill Beck and climb up to Moor Gate. At Moor Gate there is a cattle grid across the road where the open moor begins on the road from Hawnby to Osmotherley. There's a little parking area here and you could do this walk from here if you wish. We cross the road at the cattle grid and climb up a permissive path to the ridge of Hawnby Hill. It's a steep climb but the view from the top is worth it. There is a full 360 degree panorama across Ryedale to the south and west. To the east lies Easterside Hill whilst to the north there is the open moorland in a series of rounded hills and valleys as far as you can see. The path continues along the ridge with superb views all the way until it drops steeply down the end of the hill back into the middle of Hawnby and the end of this week's short but spectacular walk.

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