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Returning to Cowhouse Bank car park along the main track through Baxton's  Wood which provided level and easy walking
Returning to Cowhouse Bank car park along the main track through Baxton's Wood which provided level and easy walking

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Route No. 392 - Thursday 24 February 2011
Cowhouse Beck circuit - 9km
Helmsley
North York Moors . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

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

A walk by Ray Brown of Northallerton - Thanks Ray for another great contribution


Path through Riccal Dale Wood
Path through Riccal Dale Wood

Leaving the forest track at SE622879 on the Tabular Hills route
Leaving the forest track at SE622879 on the Tabular Hills route

Across the road we entered Riccal Dale Wood on a forest track that heads south east. We continued in this direction until, after a kilometre, we reached a signpost "Tabular Hills Walk" (SE622879) where we turned sharp left to follow the Tabular Hills route down the valley side.

Today's weather forecast promised fine warm conditions following seemingly endless dull cold days. We drove to the car park at the top of Cowhouse bank (SE613886) and began by crossing over the Helmsley-Bransdale road.

Crossing a track at SE624881 in Riccal Dale
Crossing a track at SE624881 in Riccal Dale

Waymarked gate on our left leading to Cowhouse Beck
Waymarked gate on our left leading to Cowhouse Beck

Path uphill took us through Hasty Bank Farm
Path uphill took us through Hasty Bank Farm

Fording a small stream on the way to Howl Wood Farm
Fording a small stream on the way to Howl Wood Farm

Within 50 metres the track divided and we declined to use the waymarked gate on the right which led uphill. Instead the gate immediately ahead of us gave access to a farm track that roughly followed the contour line. After we had forded a small stream, this track led us towards Howl Wood Farm.

Soon we descended quite steeply until we crossed over a track by a bench (SE624881) where a couple of walkers were taking lunch. Within a few minutes where the path veered right, a waymarked gate on our left gave access to a path leading to a footbridge over Cowhouse Beck. Then the path uphill took us through Hasty Bank Farm to a track where we turned left.

Footbridge over Cowhouse Beck
Footbridge over Cowhouse Beck

Gate above Hasty Bank Farm led to Howl Wood Farm access track
Gate above Hasty Bank Farm led to Howl Wood Farm access track

The access track leading to Howl Wood Farm
The access track leading to Howl Wood Farm

We continued along a sodden grassy track from Howl Wood Farm along Coning's  Birks
We continued along a sodden grassy track from Howl Wood Farm along Coning's Birks

There were several large puff-ball fungi by the path
There were several large puff-ball fungi by the path

Where the track forked we kept to the left downhill through a waymarked gate.

Passing through the farmyard we veered right and continued along a sodden grassy track on which lay several large puffball fungi.

Dropping down to the beck from Coning's Birks
Dropping down to the beck from Coning's Birks

Keeping to the left downhill from Coning's Birks through a waymarked gate
Keeping to the left downhill from Coning's Birks through a waymarked gate

Helped by a waymark on a low post, we approached a footbridge
Helped by a waymark on a low post, we approached a footbridge

Taking the left of two gates across the fields to East Moors
Taking the left of two gates across the fields to East Moors

The route now followed a fence on the right towards a stile showing alternative waymarks.

Soon, helped by a waymark on a low post, we were walking on grass towards a footbridge at SE614899. Ascending from the stream we encountered a pair of gates, taking the one on the left which was waymarked and easily opened.

Footbridge over Bonfield Gill at SE614899
Footbridge over Bonfield Gill at SE614899

Stile on the way to East Moors showing alternative waymarks
Stile on the way to East Moors showing alternative waymarks

 

Our path kept well to the left of this cottage
Our path kept well to the left of this cottage

Track down to Cowhouse Beck from the Helmsley-Bransdale road at SE609902
Track down to Cowhouse Beck from the Helmsley-Bransdale road at SE609902

A cottage lay ahead but we chose the leftmost direction (west) which pointed to a tree stump, well to the left of the cottage.

Tree stump by the path to the left of the cottage
Tree stump by the path to the left of the cottage

Negotiating a small bog with reeds as we approached the Helmsley/Bransdale  road at East Moors
Negotiating a small bog with reeds as we approached the Helmsley/Bransdale road at East Moors

Footbridge over Cowhouse Beck
Footbridge over Cowhouse Beck

Track past Old Fold cottage
Track past Old Fold cottage

Here we took the left fork in the track that runs parallel to the beck to reach Old Fold cottage where the track crosses the beck. After passing by the cottage we immediately bore right towards a disused quarry.

After negotiating a small bog with reeds, we reached the Helmsley-Bransdale road and crossed it to follow a public footpath sign pointing to a footbridge over Cowhouse Beck.

Track to Old Fold Cottage, parallel to the beck
Track to Old Fold Cottage, parallel to the beck

Grassy path climbing up from Old Fold Cottage
Grassy path climbing up from Old Fold Cottage

Track leading uphill from Cowhouse Bank Wood
Track leading uphill from Cowhouse Bank Wood

Howl Wood farm from Cowhouse car park
Howl Wood farm from Cowhouse car park

The remaining 2km was level and easy walking back to the car park from where we were able to review some of our route. Conclusion: this is an excellent short walk for dry summer conditions but an excess of mud wrestling after rain made it slow and heavy-going on tracks used by horse riders or vehicles and so detracted from the enjoyment
- Ray Brown

When the path reached a crossing of forest tracks we took the track directly ahead leading uphill. Ignoring the first track off to the left, we took the second such track (waymarked) at SE597905 shortly after the main track had veered right. This climbed steeply up Clark Bank until it merged with another main track coming in from the right.

Track (waymarked) at SE597905 leading up to Baxton's Wood
Track (waymarked) at SE597905 leading up to Baxton's Wood

Returning to Cowhouse Bank car park through Baxton's Wood
Returning to Cowhouse Bank car park through Baxton's Wood