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Rutmoor Beck at the start of our walk
Rutmoor Beck at the start of our walk

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Route No. 377 - Wednesday 13 October 2010
Rutmoor Beck (open access land),
Cropton Forest, Mauley Cross, circuit - 12km
Stape, North York Moors . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer OL27 North York Moors Eastern area at 1:25000


Ford over Rutmoor Beck
Ford over Rutmoor Beck

Large hairy caterpillar of the Oak Eggar moth
Caterpillar of the Oak Eggar moth by the path

The weather was cloudy but fine and from the ford we set off to follow Rutmoor Beck upstream There is no specific right of way but the area is open access land under the CRoW Act. To start with there was a reasonable quad bike track which crossed the beck a couple of times.

Today we drove from Pickering out through Newton-on-Rawcliffe and Stape to the ford over Rutmoor Beck at map ref. SE802970. We parked on the grass off the road next to the ford.

Using a sheep track to follow the beck upstream
Using a sheep track to follow the beck upstream

Autumn fungus amongst the heather
Autumn fungus amongst the heather

Crossing Rutmoor Beck to follow a tributary up Ramsden Head
Crossing Rutmoor Beck to follow a tributary up Ramsden Head

Crossing the moor to the edge of Cropton Forest
Crossing the moor to the edge of Cropton Forest

After around 300m at map ref. SE783958 we crossed the stream and headed across the moor. It was fairly rough going and we tried to walk across the areas where the heather had been burnt off most recently and the heather was shortest. We were heading for the edge of Cropton Forest at map ref. SE777958. Here there is a wooden gate between the open moor and the forest.

After about 2km at map ref. SE785961 we came to a track which crossed Rutmoor Beck and followed a tributary climbing up the moor known as Ramsden Head. There were logs across the stream at intervals with a mink trap covered by a wire netting tunnel fixed in the middle to catch any mink tempted to use the handy bridge over the stream.

Mink trap on a log across the stream
Mink trap on a log across the stream

Heather burning on Wheeldale Moor
Heather burning on Wheeldale Moor

Looking back to the gate from the moor into Cropton Forest
Looking back to the gate from the moor into Cropton Forest

Grassy track from the gate to a stone forest access road
Grassy track from the gate to a forest access road

There is a public right of way along this forest road and we turned left to follow it Southwards.

We crossed the gate and followed a grassy track for about 50m to join a stone forest access road at map ref. SE776958.

Heading southwards on the forest road
Heading southwards on the forest road

Looking back Northwards along the forest access road
Looking back Northwards along the forest access road

Leaving the forest road for a public footpath through the forest
Leaving the forest road for a public footpath through the forest

There was a bank on the right of the path covered with bilberry plants where we sat for our lunch break. The silence in the forest here is lovely.

After about 1.5km at map ref. SE778944, we turned left on to a public footpath that crosses the forest road at this point.

The public footpath through the forest
The public footpath through the forest

The public footpath through the forest
The public footpath through the forest

The public footpath through the forest
The public footpath through the forest

This part of the route can be awkward to navigate. From Low Leaf Howe House the path turns left and after 150m joins a forest road at map ref. SE787942.

 

After our break we continued along the path for a few hundred metres to map ref. SE783945 where we turned right to continue on the footpath to Low Leaf Howe House (an out door centre).

The track from Low Leaf Howe House
The track from Low Leaf Howe House

Start of the path through the trees from the forest road near Low Leaf Howe House
Start of the path (map ref. SE787942) through the trees from the forest road near Low Leaf Howe House

Heading for the road at SE793940
Heading for the road at SE793940

Heading for the road at SE793940
Heading for the road at SE793940

We emerged onto the public road after about 500m at map ref. SE793940.

We crossed the forest road and continued along a public footpath through the trees.

Heading for the road at SE793940
Heading for the road at SE793940

Heading for the road at SE793940
Heading for the road at SE793940

Heading along the road to the Old Wives Well
Heading along the road to the Old Wives Well

The Old Wives Well
The Old Wives Well

It's about 50m off the road along a grassy path and has a wooden rail around it. The many ideas of its origins are explained on this site about Yorkshire Holy Wells.

At the road we turned left and walked along the road for about 200m to "The Old Wives Well" on our right.

The Old Wives Well
The Old Wives Well

Ribbons on the bushes at The Old Wives Well
Ribbons on the bushes at the Old Wives Well

The road from Stape back to the car at the ford
The road from Stape back to the car at the ford

It's a plain cross with no plinth and no inscription. After inspecting the cross we walked back to the public road and turned right to follow it back towards the ford over Rutmoor Beck.

After visiting the well we continued along the road for another 200m to a forest access road on the right. We turned to walk along this forest road for about 150m until we came to Mauley Cross on top of the bank on the left hand side of the road at map ref. SE796943.

Mauley Cross
Mauley Cross

Mauley Cross
Mauley Cross

Young sheep with its head stuck through the wire
Young sheep with its head stuck through the wire

A Guilder Rose bush just coming into its autumn glory
A Guilder Rose bush just coming into its autumn glory

We noticed two sheep about 20m apart that had pushed their heads through one of the square wire panels in the fence to graze the grass outside and then could not get back because of their horns. Judging by the mess of mud and droppings behind them they had been there for some time. I approached them quietly and was able to release them both without much trouble and they trotted off just a few metres and began grazing as if nothing had happened.

After almost a kilometer, the road crosses a little steep sided valley with a stream in the bottom. There is a sharp double bend as the road negotiates the steep descent to the stream. There were tyre track skid marks at the top where a vehicle had clearly gone straight on over the edge of the steep bank not too long ago. As we climbed out of this little valley there was a field on the right hand side of the road with sheep grazing the rough pasture.

Wire square wrapped with wool by the struggling sheep
Wire square wrapped with wool by the struggling sheep

Approaching the spot where a car had gone straight on down the bank
Approaching the spot where a car had gone straight on down the bank

Heading back to the car
Heading back to the car

A pair of old stone gate posts
A pair of old stone gate posts

Rutmoor Beck where it becomes Wheeldale Beck
Rutmoor Beck where it becomes Wheeldale Beck

The whole walk had been 12km and it had taken us a little over 4 hours to walk including our lunch stop.

We continued along the road for another 1.5km, back to our car at the ford over Rutmoor Beck.

The last km back to the car
The last kilometer back to the car

Rutmoor Beck where it becomes Wheeldale Beck
Rutmoor Beck where it becomes Wheeldale Beck

The ford across Rutmoor Beck at the end of our walk
The ford across Rutmoor Beck at the end of our walk