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The North York Moors railway bridge over Eller Beck
The North York Moors railway bridge over Eller Beck

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Route No. 406 - Wednesday 20 April 2011
Grosmont, Rail Trail, Goathland,
Eller Beck, Crag Cliff Wood, circuit - 10km
North York Moors . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

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


Our train in Grosmont station on the North York Moors Railway
Our train in Grosmont station on the North York Moors Railway

A steam engine manoeuvring at Grosmont station
A steam engine manoeuvring at Grosmont station

Looking back towards Grosmont along the Rail Trail
Looking back towards Grosmont along the Rail Trail

The spell of fine sunny weather is continuing and it's so frustrating that I've been limited to three or maybe four kilometers with my replacement knee. I decided to try a slightly longer walk today. I took the 10.30am steam train one stop along the line from Grosmont station to Goathland station. It was a very pleasant, fun way, to start the trip. The Rail Trail from Grosmont to Goathland and the walk I did do today from Goathland back to Grosmont via Eller Beck and Crag Cliff wood together make an excellent circular walk of 10km. (Note, the photos along the Rail Trail are taken from Route no. 291 which I walked on 29 April 2009)

This route starts at the large pay and display car park on the edge of Grosmont, map ref. NZ826054 From the top edge of the car park nearest to the village cross the footbridge to Grosmont Station. At this stage it's worth calling into the station bookshop to get a copy of a booklet called "The Rail Trail", published by the North York Moors National Park Authority at £1.50 (ISBN 978-0-907480-40-2). I did not walk the Rail Trail myself today. Earlier this year I had a complete knee joint replacement operation and I will not have full use of my new knee for another few months.

A steam engine manoeuvring at Grosmont station
A steam engine manoeuvring at Grosmont station

The church at Grosmont
The church at Grosmont

Looking over Grosmont from the Rail Trail
Looking over Grosmont from the Rail Trail

Looking back towards Grosmont along the Rail Trail
Looking back towards Grosmont along the Rail Trail

It was designed in 1836 by George Stephenson, before the main development of steam engines. The railway had wooden rails and the trucks were horsedrawn.

From Grosmont station the route follows the Rail Trail for about 5km to Goathland. The booklet includes a route map and lots of information about the long disused railway that the walk follows.

Steam train beginning the climb up to Goathland
Steam train beginning the climb up to Goathland

Esk Valley miners' cottages, a relic of the old ironstone industry
Esk Valley miners' cottages, a relic of the old ironstone industry

Sculptured seat by the Rail Trail
Sculptured seat by the Rail Trail

Looking back towards Grosmont along the Rail Trail
Looking back towards Grosmont along the Rail Trail

The rail trail continues to Goathland station and the route is shown on the route map for this walk. We walked from Goathland station at map ref. NZ837013, up the slope and at the top we turned right to follow a public footpath along a private road.

At Beck Hole the railway began a steep incline up to the level of Goathland village. Here the horses were unhitched and tanker trucks filled with water were used with a pulley system to haul the train up the incline as the tanker trucks descended.

Old railway bridge over the Murk Esk
Old railway bridge over the Murk Esk

Looking back towards Grosmont along the Rail Trail
Looking back towards Grosmont along the Rail Trail

Walking through Goathland at the start of our walk
Walking through Goathland at the start of our walk

Old paved path leaving Goathland
Old paved path leaving Goathland

The path to Eller Beck
The path to Eller Beck

Eller Beck under the railway bridge
Eller Beck under the railway bridge

Under the railway bridge Eller Beck is squeezed through a gap in the rocks, but after the recent dry weather there was not much water in the beck.

After about 250m we joined a public road and continued along the road out of Goathland towards Beck Hole for about 500m to map ref. NZ829018. Here we turned right off the road to follow a public footpath between fences to cross both the railway line and the Eller Beck.

Path toEller Beck leaving the road
Path to Eller Beck leaving the road

North York Moors Railway crossing Eller Beck
North York Moors Railway crossing Eller Beck

Footbridge overEller Beck
Footbridge over Eller Beck

A slow worm rushing away to hide
Jim spotted a slowworm rushing away to hide

Path from Thomason Foss to Green End
Path from Lins Farm

The bridleway leaving Green End
The bridleway leaving Green End

Bridleway from Green End
Bridleway from Green End

We came through a farm yard on to an access track at Green End where we turned left to walk down the track for about 150m before turning right at the end of the track to follow a bridleway across the fields.

We crossed the footbridge and followed the path above the beck to Lins Farm, with some holiday cottages. We turned right by the farm and followed the path out to the road at Hollin Garth. We walked along the road for about 150m and at map ref. NZ824029 we turned left off the road to walk along a path across the fields to Green End.

Path from Thomason Foss to Green End
Path from Lins Farm to Hollin Garth

Guinea fowl on the bridleway
Guinea fowl on the bridleway

Primroses by the path
Primroses by the path

There were great banks of primroses, violets and cellandines by the path
There were great banks of primroses, violets and cellandines by the path

Path from Green End
Path from Green End

The path led us down a slope thorough some wooded banks covered with primroses, cellandines and violets glistening with colour and fresh green leaves in the warm Spring sunshine. It was simply lovely!

The bridleway leads down to the river Murk Esk where there used to be a bridge but this has been washed away and there is no longer a river crossing. After about 200m we took a footpath which forked to the right off the bridleway.

Path from Green End to Crag Cliff Wood
Path from Green End to Crag Cliff Wood

Path from Green End heading towards Crag Cliff wood
Path from Green End heading towards Crag Cliff wood

Path through Crag Cliff Wood
Path through Crag Cliff Wood

The wood is carpetted with wild flowers including wild garlic and bluebells. The bluebells were just starting to open but it looked as though it would be a couple of weeks before they were in full flower.

After about 500m, at map ref. NZ826042, we crossed a stile and a little footbridge over a small beck to enter Crag Cliff Wood. The path through the wood follows an old paved pannier way, an old pack horse route.

Path through Crag Cliff Wood
Path through Crag Cliff Wood

Path through Crag Cliff Wood
Path through Crag Cliff Wood

Approaching the footbridge over the Murk Esk
Approaching the footbridge over the Murk Esk

We crossed the river to a path by the church and walked through the church yard to a path by the railway. This brought us out to the road at the level crossing in Grosmont. We stopped at a tea shop in the village for some lunch before collecting the car from the car park for the journey home after a very pleasant walk. Our walk from Goathland to Grosmont had been a little over 5km and is my longest walk to date after my knee operation, so things are still improving and I'm hoping to be back to normal by the autumn. The whole route incliding the Rail Trail from Grosmont to Goathland is about 10km.

At map ref. NZ828046 the public footpath leaves the wood and goes along the field edge to an access track at map ref. NZ829047. Where the path leaves the wood we bore left on a well walked but unofficial path inside the wood but parallel to the public footpath. The wild flowers here are lovely and include orchids in the early spring. We could see a few of them down the bank but they were dying off and well past their best. We came out onto the access track to rejoin the public footpath along the access track. After about 350m we turned left off the track to follow a footpath to a footbridge over the river Murk Esk at map ref. NZ828051. This is a pretty stretch of river with low cliffs along one bank.

The Murk Esk seen from the footbridge
The Murk Esk seen from the footbridge

Path through the church yard into Grosmont
Path through the church yard into Grosmont

The level crossing in Grosmont at the end of our walk
The level crossing in Grosmont at the end of our walk