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Winter sun and stormy clouds over the track at Boville Park South of Osmotherley
Winter sun and stormy clouds over the track at Boville Park South of Osmotherley

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Route No. 385 - Friday 14 January 2011
Osmotherley, Oak Dale, Thimbleby circuit - 10km
North York Moors . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS explorer OL26 North York Moors Western area

This is a route by Ray Brown of Northallerton - Thanks again Ray!


Cleveland Way route at the start of walk in Osmotherley
Cleveland Way route at the start of walk in Osmotherley

Carefully avoiding a specimen of canine output strategically and accurately deposited at the first squeeze stile, we proceeded along the Cleveland Way route down to the footbridge over Cod Beck.

The 9.40 bus from Northallerton having delivered us in Osmotherley at 10.00, we set off on the Cleveland Way, through the Methodist Church alleyway.


First squeeze stile along the Cleveland Way

The footbridge over Cod Beck on the Cleveland Way at Osmotherley
The footbridge over Cod Beck on the Cleveland Way at Osmotherley

Track from Whitehouse Farm towards the Hawnby road
Track from Whitehouse Farm towards the Hawnby road

The track headed southeast past the lower Oakdale reservoir and then at SE469963 as the track climbed we left it to head south to a gate on the right which led to a footbridge in the forest.

Continuing on the Cleveland Way we ascended past Whitehouse Farm, bearing right towards the Hawnby road. There we turned left for a few metres before taking the track on the right.

Track from the Hawnby road into Oak Dale
Track from the Hawnby road into Oak Dale

Gate into Big Wood just above Cod Beck in Oak Dale
Gate into Big Wood just above Cod Beck in Oak Dale

Footbridge over Cod Beck in Big Wood in Oak Dale
Footbridge over Cod Beck in Big Wood in Oak Dale

A fact indicated by a plethora of "No right of way" notices, so we turned right, as allowed, to follow a path northwest to SE464962, the point where the OS map shows the right of way to reach the ridge.

The forest track, initially well way-marked, climbed quite steeply towards the ridge which we reached at SE465960. Despite having followed the path, we appeared to have strayed too far to the south.

View West from the top of Big Wood by Thimbleby Moor
View West from the top of Big Wood by Thimbleby Moor

Path through the woods at SE462957
Path through the woods at SE462957

Clearing with a large rock and a small pile of litter at SE459948
Clearing with a large rock and a small pile of litter at SE459948

Continuing on the path through pine forest we were rewarded with a first landscape view to the west before crossing a track at SE462957. A kilometer further on, a clearing was reached (SE459948) with a large rock and a small pile of litter.

The long forest path above Thimbleby
The long forest path above Thimbleby

From here the path descended, providing a view of Thimbleby from the plantation.

Looking down to Thimbleby from the plantation
Looking down to Thimbleby from the plantation
Continuing on a bridleway beyond Sandpit Lane
Continuing on a bridleway beyond Sandpit Lane
Track through the woods approaching Sandpit Lane
Track through the woods approaching Sandpit Lane

Right hand fork of the path led straight ahead to SE448943
Right hand fork of the path led straight ahead to SE448943

Our path through the plantation
Our path through the plantation

Here we took to the fields by a path on the right, immediately bearing right again to face northwest for a short while before descending alongside a small stream in a ravine. At SE447941 we turned right at a rather misleading signpost and walked through a field, keeping to the right of a "No right of way" sign and a narrow pond to reach SE446942 where we turned left through a gate leading to SE445942.

From SE455946 the path merged with a track and at SE454947 we declined the opportunity to take Sandpit Lane, a direct track to Thimbleby, preferring instead to continue on a bridleway to SE450944 where the right hand fork of the path led straight ahead to SE448943 and then south to SE448941 where finally we left the plantation.

The Hanging Stone high on the hillside above us
The Hanging Stone high on the hillside above us

Path leaving the plantation at SE448941
Path leaving the plantation at SE448941

Descending alongside a small stream in a ravine
Descending alongside a small stream in a ravine
Turning left through a gate leading to SE445942
Turning left through a gate leading to SE445942
Keeping to the right of a narrow pond to reach SE446942
Keeping to the right of a narrow pond to reach SE446942

Follow a track through an avenue of bushes
Following a track through an avenue of bushes

Track by Boville Park
Track by Boville Park

A footbridge sandwiched between a pair of stiles allowed us to reach and cross a track and continue through a further field along a hedge to a corner at SE451962 where we turned left for 200 metres and then right for 250 metres to Boville Park. A right turn on to a track for 150 metres before cutting left through a field took us to Foxton Mill where a rather splendid footbridge enabled us to cross Cod Beck. Then a fenced pathway led to a track which returned us to Osmotherley in good time for the return bus at 14.15. - Ray Brown

Here we turned right to make our way through the fields, gradually bearing right to SE446947 where a left turn took us in 120 metres to a signpost. Rejecting the track ahead to Thimbleby Grange farm, we chose the gate on the right and then bore left to follow a track through an avenue of bushes to the surfaced road and thence to Thimbleby itself. As we left the hamlet a path on the left at SE451956 led diagonally to the corner of a copse where two stiles in succession offered a route running parallel to the road.

Path from Thimbleby running parallel to the road
Path from Thimbleby running parallel to the road

Footbridge over Cod Beck near Foxton Mill
Footbridge over Cod Beck near Foxton Mill

Approaching Foxton Mill near the end of the walk
Approaching Foxton Mill near the end of the walk

Background Notes:
Our walk today is a circular route of 10km, about 6 miles, from Osmotherley on the North West edge of the North York Moors. 'Asmund' or 'Osmund' is the name of a Viking who settle here and 'ley' means a woodland clearing. We start from the road junction in the centre of the village. There is a war memorial there and a heavy stone slab table called the 'Barter Table'. This was a trading point where goods were displayed for sale or perhaps barter as the name suggests and in the 1740's John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, visited Osmotherley and used the table as a platform to preach from. His preaching was clearly effective and the Methodist Chapel here is one of the oldest in the country dating from 1754. The Cleveland Way passes through the village on its way from Helmsley to Filey Brigg, about 110 miles. We leave the Barter Table to follow the Cleveland Way along a passage, through the buildings, past the old Methodist Chapel and out of the village to cross the little valley of Cod Beck. This is a tributary of the River Swale which it joins near Topcliffe. We follow the Cleveland Way up from a footbridge over Cod Beck to another little valley called Oak Dale. There are two reservoirs in this valley and the Cleveland Way goes along the valley past the upper reservoir to join the Hambleton drove road, but we turn off the Cleveland Way before this reservoir. We follow a path climbing up the valley side through some attractive woodland simply called 'Big Wood'. The path runs along the top of the escarpment over looking the Vale of Mowbray with views out towards the Yorkshire Dales. Big Wood is used for pheasant rearing and there are shoots here during the season. After about a mile, that's 1.5km, at a point above the village of Thimbleby the path starts to drop down to the foot of the escarpment and we follow the path around the bottom edge of the wood. We pass a rocky outcrop high above the path called 'The Hanging Stone' This is a curiously shaped rock that seems to be leaning out from the hillside. We continue along a rather muddy section of the path out to Thimbleby where there was an old public reading room. This is now a private house but it's an attractive building to look out for. We follow a pleasant path across the fields past a large farmstead called Boville Park and out to a farm access track on the edge of Osmotherley. The public footpath crosses this track and continues across the fields to the road on the west side of Osmotherley. As we return into Osmotherley it's worth a visit to the public toilets in the village. They are scrupulously clean with fresh flowers, pictures on the walls and supportive messages from satisfied visitors. All this effort has resulted in numerous "best loo" awards over the years with the certificates proudly on display. That brings us back into the village where there are three pubs and a cafe for refreshments at the end of our walk.

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