Looking west to the Yorkshire Dales from the path approaching Felixkirk
Looking west to the Yorkshire Dales from the path approaching Felixkirk on the western edge of the North York Moors

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Route No. 312 - Saturday 13 September 2009
Boltby, Felixkirk,
Kirkby Knowle 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


Large sycamore tree at our parking spot near Boltby
Large sycamore tree at our parking spot near Boltby

We started walking at about 9.30am back into the village. Where the village street crosses Gurtof Beck there is a little stone footbridge over the beck and we turned left there to follow a footpath between the houses and out across the fields alongside Gurtof Beck.

The weather forecast today was for a grey overcast day but no rain. This morning my wife and I drove to Boltby, a village on the western edge of the North York Moors about 7km from the centre of Thirsk. We parked off the road on a little gravel area on a bend in the road at the eastern end of Boltby at map ref. SE494865.

Start of the path out of Boltby at Gurtof Beck
Start of the path out of Boltby at Gurtof Beck

Looking back to Boltby from the path by Gurtof Beck
Looking back to Boltby from the path by Gurtof Beck

Path from Boltby by Gurtof Beck
Path from Boltby by Gurtof Beck

This was the left-hand fork in the path to Tang Hall at map ref. SE495850.

After almost a kilometer we crossed a footbridge over the beck.

Horses by the path from Boltby
Horses by the path from Boltby

Blackthorn bushes laden with sloes
Blackthorn bushes laden with sloes
Path by Gurtof Beck
Path across the fields by Gurtof Beck

The lane at Tang Hall
The lane at Tang Hall

Mountain Ash full of berries
Mountain Ash full of berries

Sheep grazing by the farm road towards felixkirk
Sheep grazing by the farm road towards Felixkirk

At this bend in the road at map ref. SE489850 we left the road to continued straight on along a farm access road for about 1.5km to a road near Felixkirk.

At the lane at Tang Hall we turned right and walked along the lane for about 500m to a road where we continued along the road for another 250m to a bend.

Rose hips in the hedgerow
Rose hips in the hedgerow

Beef cattle coming to check us out
Beef cattle coming to check us out

The farm road towards Felixkirk
The farm road towards Felixkirk

Looking back along the farm road towards Tang Hall
Looking back along the farm road towards Tang Hall
The view acroos to the mouth of Wensleydale
The view across to the mouth of Wensleydale with Pen Hill on the left

Crossing the fields towards Felixkirk
Crossing the fields towards Felixkirk

There was an old log on the hillside which we used for a very comfortable seat for a break with an amazing view across to the mouth of Wensleydale in the far distance. After our break we followed the path out to the road at map ref. SE469850.

At the road we turned right and walked along the road for about 300m. Here we turned left off the road onto a path across the fields below the road heading into Felixkirk.

Our break on a comfy log near Felixkirk
Our break on a comfy log near Felixkirk

Looking towards the Yorkshire dales from the fields near Felixkirk
Looking towards the Yorkshire Dales from the fields near Felixkirk

The path down the side of "Mount View"
The path down the side of "Mount View"

The path from Felixkirk to Kirby Knowle was overgrown in places
The path from Felixkirk to Kirby Knowle was overgrown in places

We followed this path across the fields for about 1.5km to map ref. SE460864. Parts of this path are quite overgrown and it's a pleasant walk with more variety than is apparent from the map.

We walked down the road for about 250m to the junction on the edge of Felixkirk where we turned right away from the village. About 200m from the junction we turned left off the road onto a footpath down the side of a house called Mount View.

The path from Felixkirk to Kirby Knowle was overgrown in places
The path from Felixkirk to Kirby Knowle was overgrown in places

The path from Felixkirk to Kirby Knowle was overgrown in places
The path from Felixkirk to Kirby Knowle was overgrown in places

The path from Felixkirk to Kirby Knowle was overgrown in places
The path from Felixkirk to Kirby Knowle was overgrown in places
The path from Felixkirk to Kirby Knowle
The path from Felixkirk to Kirby Knowle
A Speckled Wood butterfly
A Speckled Wood butterfly - climate change must suit them
Sunflowers -probably pheasant cover
Sunflowers -probably pheasant cover
Stubble field after the harvest
Stubble field after the harvest

Stepping stones over a beck
Stepping stones over a beck

We pushed our way through the shrubbery and the path opened out into a field. We followed the field edges for about 700m to a road at map ref. SE465871.

At map ref SE460863 the path crosses some stepping stones over a small beck and about 40m beyond the beck there is a marker post by a high thicket with hardly any gap to enter, but this is the path off to the right towards Kirby Knowle.

Turning to Kirby Knowle - hardly visible
Turning to Kirby Knowle - hardly visible

Free range hens
Free range hens

Free range hens
Free range hens

Lorry load of timber in Kirby Knowle
Lorry load of timber in Kirby Knowle

We continued to a bend in the road at map ref. SE469873.

We walked along the road into Kirby Knowle and sat on a seat opposite the church for our lunch.

The road into Kirby Knowle
The road into Kirby Knowle

The church at Kirby Knowle
The church at Kirby Knowle

Looking back to Kirby Knowle from our path across the fields
Looking back to Kirby Knowle from our path across the fields

Entering the woods near Kirby Knowle
Entering the woods near Kirby Knowle

Woodland path from Kirby Knowle to Boltby
Woodland path from Kirby Knowle to Boltby

We crossed the track to follow a narrow bridleway steeply up the hillside. After the first steep climb the path continued to climb more gently with very pleasant views across to our right.

Here we turned right to follow a path across the fields to the edge of a wood at map ref. SE471871. There is a broad track here that contours round the hill on the edge of the wood.

Woodland path from Kirby Knowle to Boltby
Woodland path from Kirby Knowle to Boltby

Woodland path from Kirby Knowle to Boltby
Woodland path from Kirby Knowle to Boltby

Looking south from the woodland path between Kirby Knowle and Boltby
Looking south from the Woodland path from Kirby Knowle to Boltby

Woodland path from Kirby Knowle to Boltby
Woodland path from Kirby Knowle to Boltby

Our path makes a sharp left turn to stay in the woodland and pass above Ravensthorpe Manor.

At map ref. SE478866 the path came to a pedestrian gate into a field. There is no right of way through this gate.

Woodland path from Kirby Knowle to Boltby
Woodland path from Kirby Knowle to Boltby

Woodland path from Kirby Knowle to Boltby
Woodland path from Kirby Knowle to Boltby

View from the seat near Ravensthorpe Manor
View from the seat near Ravensthorpe Manor

Path to the road near Boltby
Path to the road near Boltby

After our stop we carried on down the edge of a field beside Ravensthorpe Manor and then down a little wooded ravine, until we reached the road at map ref. SE485865.

At map ref. SE481869 the path makes a sharp right hand turn and at the turn there is a seat with a very nice view where we sat for a drink.

Little ravine leading down to the road near Boltby
Little ravine leading down to the road near Boltby

Climbing the stile to the road near Boltby
Climbing the stile to the road near Boltby

Entering Boltby heading back to the car
Entering Boltby heading back to the car

When we got back it was full with half a dozen vehicles there. Our walk had been 11km and it had taken us four hours to walk including our stops for refreshments and to admire the views.

We followed the road back into Boltby and along the village street to the little parking area where we had started. We had been the first to park there this morning.

Returning through Boltby back to the car
Returning through Boltby back to the car

Background Notes:
This walk is an 11km circuit, that's about six and a half miles from Boltby at the foot of the Hambleton Hills to the North East of Thirsk. There's a lay-by at a bend in the road at the eastern edge of the village with room to park and that's where our walk begins. We walk back into the village to Gurtof Beck. Here there's nothing on the road to indicate that it's crossing the beck, but the footpath at the side of the road crosses the beck on a lovely little stone arch bridge. The beck flows gently under the road and the little bridge and it's hard to imagine the destruction it caused in June 2005 when a flash flood occured after a storm on Boltby Moor and a great torrent of water tore down the beck flooding the village street to a depth of around half a metre and damaging buildings. It's the same watercouse that caused damage in Sutton-under-Whitestonecliffe in the same flood about 4km downstream. Just across the pedestrian bridge we turn left and follow a path across the fields following Gurtof Beck downstream for about 1.5km to a large farmstead called Tang Hall and an old mill beyond. Here our route turns West heading for the village of Felixkirk. We follow a farm access track gently climbing across the fields. All the way from Boltby there are lovely views of the Hambleton Hills rising to the east of our route. There is a hill above our track on the right called Mount St. John where there is a large country mansion. The mansion is on the site of a Preceptory of the Order of St John of Jerusalem. The Preceptory was built in the 11th century as the command centre for this area by the Knights Hospitallers. The Knight's Hospitallers of the Order of St. John began as an order of monks providing treatment and care for Christian pilgrims in Jerusalem at the time of the crusades. They started escorting pilgrims to offer them protection and quickly developed into a military order as well as the provision of care. After the dissolution of the monasteries in the 1530's, the Preceptory buildings passed to the Archbishop of York, and in 1720 the old buildings were demolished and the new country mansion was built. A modern day off shoot of the Knights Hospitallers is the St. John's Ambulance Brigade. Our route takes us to Felixkirk where the village church is in fact dedicated to St. Felix. He was a French monk who travelled across East Anglia in the 600's converting the Saxons to Christianity. From Felixkirk we follow a path northwards across the fields for about 2.5km to Kirkby Knowle. Our route enters the village past the church of St. Wilfrid. The present church was built in the 1870's on the site of a much older church. There are artefacts in the church going back to the 1100's. We follow a path across the fields from the village to Gurtof wood, a southern arm of Boltby Forest, and follow the path through the woodland around Ravensthorpe Manor. From the edge of the woodland the path drops down through a small gully to the road at the Western end of Boltby and we walk along the road through Boltby where many of the lovely stone and pantile roofed houses are grade 2 listed buildings. We pass the village church of the Holy Trinity and as in Kirkby Knowle this church was built in the 1850's on the site of an earlier church. We follow the road back to the lay-by at the end of our walk for this week.

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