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Two of the Low Bridestones above Stain Dale in the Dalby Forest near the
Two of the Low Bridestones above Stain Dale in the Dalby Forest near the end of our walk

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Route No. 419 - Wednesday 1 June 2011
Staindale Lake, Dargate Dikes,
Bridestones circuit - 7km
Dalby Forest, North York Moors . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer OL27 North York Moors Eastern area


Stain Dale Lake at the start of our walk
Staindale Lake at the start of our walk

Path to the lake from the car park
Path to the lake from the car park

Canada goose family by the lake
Canada goose family by the lake

Large oak tree by Stain Dale lake
Large oak tree by Staindale lake

We continued into Stain Dale where we parked in the car park at map ref. SE878904, on the left of the drive just before the start of the Staindale Lake. From the car park we followed the path on the opposite side of the road to the dam at the start of the lake. We continued along the path by the lake to another car park at the far end of the lake. Along the way there are picnic tables on the lakeside. Just beyond this car park is a hairpin bend in the road and on the crown of the bend is a track leading away along the valley bottom in an easterly direction.

It was a beautiful sunny morning with clear skies and hot sunshine as my mate, Jim, and I drove out to the Dalby Forest Drive above Thornton-le-Dale on the southern edge of the North York Moors. There is a toll booth near the start of the drive and I was a bit surprised at the current charge of £7.00p nearly double the amount charged last time I was here a few years ago. Anyway we paid up and continued along the drive past the large visitor centre at Low Dalby.

Canada goose family by the lake
Canada goose family by the lake

Looking back to Staindale Lake
Looking back to Staindale Lake

Track up High Staindale
Track up High Staindale

Staindale Beck in High Staindale
Staindale Beck in High Staindale

The boardwalk at Dargate Dikes
The boardwalk at Dargate Dikes

After about 100m along the boardwalk we crossed another forest track and the boardwalk continued on the other side of the track. After a while the boardwalk became rather more rickety and here there was a path above the ditch on our right hand side which was much easier to walk. The path and boardwalk brought us to the Crosscliff view point at map ref. SE895914.

We followed this track along the valley bottom for about 900m. Here the track became a sunken path climbing quite steeply up the head of the valley. After another 400m the path crossed a forest track at map ref. SE894911. On the far side of this track the path became a substantial boardwalk lain on large logs in a deep ditch through the forest. This ditch seems to be part of the Dargate Dikes a Bronze Age system of earthworks.

Path climbing out of High Staindale
Path climbing out of High Staindale


The boardwalk at Dargate Dikes

The view from Crosscliff view point
The view from Crosscliff view point

Intrepid mountain biker starts the boardwalk at Crosscliff
Intrepid mountain biker starts the boardwalk at Crosscliff

Birdsfoot trefoil
Birdsfoot trefoil

Looking back along the moorland track
Looking back along the moorland track

After walking a little over 2km along the track to map ref. SE874923, we turned left off the track on to a path through the trees for about 100m to a moorland track on the far side of the belt of trees. At the moorland track we turned left again to walk in a southerly direction towards the Bridestones. We continued along the track for about 1km to map ref. SE876914, we turned right off the track to follow a narrow footpath across the moor for about 250m to the edge of a steep sided little valley.

We stood at the rail here for a few minutes just to look at the view over the valley of Crosscliff Beck towards Blakey Topping on our left and forest ahead. From the view point we headed in a northwesterly direction along the track above the alley to our right. We caught an occasional glimpse of Blakey Topping through the tree tops but it was all too leafy and lush to get a good view of this conical hill.

Heading NW from the view point
Heading NW from the view point

A glimps of Blakey Topping
A glimpse of Blakey Topping

The start of the path to the Bridestones
The start of the path to the Bridestones

Cobbled path to the Low Bridestones
Cobbled path to the Low Bridestones

Cobbled path to the Low Bridestones
Cobbled path to the Low Bridestones

If you take this path you will miss the bridestones altogether. We followed the path down the valley side as if we were going to cross to the High Bridestones, but after only about 30m we came to a cobbled path on our left which leads along the foot of the Low Bridestones.

The high Bridestones could be seen on the hill top across the valley and there was a path down the valley side leading to them. On our side of the valley is a path that runs along the top edge of the valley above the Low Bridestones.

The High Bridestones across the valley
The High Bridestones across the valley

Cobbled path to the Low Bridestones
Cobbled path to the Low Bridestones

The High Bridestones across the valley
The High Bridestones across the valley

The Low Bridestones seen along the ridge
The Low Bridestones seen along the ridge

The Low Bridestones
Some of the Low Bridestones

I believe that the large rocks were harder than the surrounding rock and were left as the ice retreated at the end of the last ice age. These rocks were then eroded into their odd shapes by windblown sand.

We followed this path past these large wind eroded rocks standing up above the surrounding ground.

The Low Bridestones
Some of the Low Bridestones

The Low Bridestones
One of the Bridestones

The Low Bridestones
Some of the Low Bridestones

Heading back to the forst from the Bridestones
Heading back to the forest from the Bridestones

The path descended quite steeply through the woodland to the fields in the bottom of Stain Dale.

We followed the cobbled path for about 500m to the end of the ridge where the path turned eastwards at the edge of the forest at map ref. SE874906.

Forest path back to Stain Dale
Forest path back to Stain Dale

Forest path back to Stain Dale
Forest path back to Stain Dale

Forest path back to Stain Dale
Forest path back to Stain Dale

We drove back into Thornton-le-Dale and called in a cafe there for some lunch. A very pleasant end to a very pleasant walk.

We followed the path across the fields back to the car park. Our whole walk had been 7km and it had taken us about two and a half hours to walk it.

Wild flowers by the path
Wild flowers by the path

Path across the fields back to the car park in Stain Dale
Path across the fields back to the car park in Stain Dale