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Looking south, across Rosedale from the old ironstone railway
Looking south, across Rosedale from the old ironstone railway

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Route No. 328 - Wednesday 17 March 2010
Blakey Ridge, Rosedale,
Ironstone railway circuit - 12km
North York Moors. . .

Ordnance Survey route map from Bing maps.

Map: OS Explorer OL26 North York Moors Western area at 1:25000


The road along Blakey Ridge seen from the little car park oposite the top of Farndale Bank
The road along Blakey Ridge seen from the little car park opposite the top of Farndale Bank

The old ironstone railway near the car park
The old ironstone railway near the car park

Looking down to Hollin Bush farm
Looking down to Hollin Bush farm

We set off from the car park on a little path through the heather for about 100m heading east to the old ironstone railway. We crossed the old railway bed and followed a path straight down the hillside for about 200m to join a rough farm track. We walked down this farm track to a point about 100m past Hollin Bush Farm on the farm access road at map ref. SE692988.

My neighbour, Jim, and I drove our to Blakey Ridge between Rosedale and Farndale this morning. We parked in a little gravel parking area opposite the top of Farndale Bank at map ref. SE683989. It's about 1km south of the Lion Inn and about 9km north of Hutton-le-Hole. Every where was still quite wet underfoot.

The track down to Hollin Bush farm
The track down to Hollin Bush farm

Our turning off the farm access road at map ref. SE692988
Our turning off the farm access road at map ref. SE692988

Following the track down to Hollin Bush Farm
Following the track down to Hollin Bush Farm

The track across the fields heading down Rosedale
The track across the fields heading down Rosedale

Looking back to High House Farm
Looking back to High House Farm

We followed the track across the fields for about 1.5km to High House Farm. This is a large collection of traditional buildings that seemed to have recently renovated with new red pantile roofs. From there we continued along the farm access track for about 100m to a stile on our left.

Here we turned right off the farm access road to follow a track across the fields. The track was very wet particularly in the gateways and we saw several small pools, just large puddles really, with large amounts of frog spawn in them.

Frog spawn in a puddle by the track
Frog spawn in a puddle by the track

Horses in a muddyfield by the track
Horses in a muddy field by the track

The access road from High House Farm
The access road from High House Farm

Our turning off the farm access road
Our turning off the farm access road

Looking back at the River Seven
Looking back at the River Seven

We crossed the footbridge over the river and followed the path up the fields on the other side for about 800m through Craven Garth farm and up to the Dale Side Road at map ref. SE707976.

There we turned left off the access track to follow a path down a field for about 150m to the River Seven in the valley bottom. The whole field was waterlogged and became much wetter as we approached the river.

Footbridge over the River Seven
Footbridge over the River Seven

The kilns on the old ironstone railway up ahead of us
The kilns on the old ironstone railway up ahead of us

Looking back down the hillside to the River Seven
Looking back down the hillside to the River Seven

Approaching Craven Garth Farm and the Dale Side Road beyond
Approaching Craven Garth Farm and the Dale Side Road beyond

Lane from Craven Garth farm to the Dale side road
Lane from Craven Garth farm to the Dale side road

 Free range fancy poultry by the track
Free range fancy poultry by the track

There are lots of free range fancy breed poultry at the farm. We climbed the track up past the farm and round to our left to join the track along the old railway bed at map ref. SE707978.

At the road we turned right and then after about 150m we turned left to go up the access track to a farm at the end of the ironstone railway.

Sheep near the Dale Side Road
Sheep near the Dale Side Road

Free range fancy cockerel by the track
Free range fancy cockerel by the track

Ruined ailway buildings above the farm
Ruined railway buildings above the farm

Looking back across Rosedale from the start of the old ironstone railway
Looking back across Rosedale from the start of the old ironstone railway

Leaving the farm along the track to the railway
Leaving the farm along the track to the railway

The ruined kilns beside the railway
The ruined kilns beside the railway

This reduced the bulk and the weight of the ore thereby reducing the cost of transporting the ore to the blast furnaces of Middlesbrough on the River Tees.

We walked along the old railway bed for a little over 1km to a series of ruined kilns on our right. These kilns were used in a process called calcination in which the ore from the mines was heated to drive off the water that was chemically combined with the ore.

Approaching the ruined kilns along the old railway bed
Approaching the ruined kilns along the old railway bed

The ruined kilns beside the railway
The ruined kilns beside the railway

Railway embankment across a moorland gully - all built by men with picks & shovels
Railway embankment across a moorland gully - all built by men with picks & shovels

The path along the old railway bed
The path along the old railway bed

More frogspawn by the path
More frog spawn by the path

A grouse laying claim to his territory
A grouse laying claim to his territory

In spite of the gloomy weather today it had been a lovely walk of 12km that had taken us almost five hours to walk including our lunch stop on the railway path with a very pleasant view across Rosedale.

All the way along the railway there are lovely views along Rosedale. It really is a magical place. We continued along the railway path for about 5km. This took us all the way around the head of Rosedale back to the little parking area on Blakey Ridge.

The path along the old railway bed
The path along the old railway bed

Water filled cutting on the old railway
Water filled cutting on the old railway

Heading back to the car park along the railway path
Heading back to the car park along the railway path

Looking back down Rosedale along the old ironstone railway
Looking back down Rosedale along the old ironstone railway

Background Notes:
This walk is a circular route of 12km, about 8 miles, from Blakey Ridge and into Rosedale on the North York Moors. Blakey Ridge is the ridge between Rosedale and Farndale running from Hutton-le-Hole in the south to Castleton on the River Esk in the north. Our walk starts from a small gravel parking area opposite the top of Blakey Bank, a long steep bank climbing up from Church Houses in Farndale. From the car park we follow a path and then a farm track down into Rosedale with amazing views of Rosedale all the way down. At the bottom of the slope we turn down the valley along a track across the fields. This is a gentle part of the walk through sheep pastures. After about 1.5km we turn off the track to follow a rather boggy path across the River Seven in the valley bottom. This little river rises at the head of the valley on Danby High Moor and flows down the valley for around 20km to join the River Rye in the Vale of Pickering. We climb up to the Daleside Road and on past a farm where there are many fancy breeds of poultry strutting about. We follow the farm track up to the old ironstone railway. If you look along the valley sides you can see many signs of the ironstone industry. The old railway bed is now a high level footpath around the head of the valley. When the mining started in the mid 1800's the ore was taken in horse drawn wagons down the valley to the railway at Pickering, but the roads were soon in such a state that the ironstone railway was built to service the mines in Rosedale and Farndale. The Rosedale line joined the Farndale line on Blakey Ridge at Blakey Junction, next to our car park. From there the line went up to the head of Farndale at Bloworth Crossing and out to Ingleby Incline. Here a pulley system allowed the weight of loaded wagons going down the 1 in 5 slope to haul empty wagons up the slope. The line joined the main railway network at Battersby Junction and the ore was taken on the the funaces on Teesside for high temperature smelting. It was an expensive business transporting the ore and the railway path around Rosedale passes the sites of kilns used to reduce the bulk of the ore before it was taken away. The process is called calcination where the heat of the kiln, a low temperature compared to actual smelting, causes some decomposition of the ore removing impurities and water making it much lighter for transporting. On the hill side above the second set of kilns is a long row of miners cottages, tiny places with just two rooms. We follow the railway path around the head of the valley with lovely views of Rosedale all the way. The railway passes below the Lion Inn on Blakey Ridge which has been an important route across the moors for many centuries and there has been an inn on this site since at least the 1500's and possibly since Roman times. About a kilometre further along we reach the car park and the end of our walk.

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