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Following the firebreak leaving Sutherbruff Rigg at map ref. SE871876, for  Flax Dale
Following the firebreak path leaving Sutherbruff Rigg at map ref. SE871876, for Flax Dale

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Route No. 433 - Wednesday 14 September 2011
Dalby Visitor Centre, Housedale Rigg,
Sand Dale, Thornton Dale circuit - 11km
Dalby Forest, North York Moors . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

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


The Visitor Centre in the Dalby Forest
The Visitor Centre in the Dalby Forest

"Go Ape" treetop activity centre
"Go Ape" treetop activity centre in Snever Dale

Climbing up to Housedale Rigg from Snever Dale
Climbing up to Housedale Rigg from Snever Dale

This is the base for the "Go Ape" treetop activity centre. Opposite the activity centre cabin we turned off the road to follow a path climbing up the valley side above the end of the zip-wire run. After about 100m we turned left to double back still climbing to the anchorage of another of the treetop activities. Here there were some rough steps in the hillside which led us up to the forest access road along Housedale Rigg at map ref. SE857878.

This morning Jim & I drove out to the visitor centre car park in the Dalby Forest next to Dalby village at map ref. SE855876. It's a toll road called the Dalby Forest Drive, and the Forestry Commission charge £7 per car, but the car parks are free (well included in the initial £7 charge). We started waking at about 10.15am and followed the road northwards for 200m from the car park to the start of Snever Dale on our right.

Start of the climb up to Housedale Rigg from Snever Dale
Start of the climb up to Housedale Rigg from Snever Dale

Fly agaric - the fairy toadstool
Fly agaric - the fairy toadstool

Climbing up to Housedale Rigg from Snever Dale
Climbing up to Housedale Rigg from Snever Dale

Plantation on Housedale Rigg
Plantation on Housedale Rigg

The forest track along Housedale Rigg
The forest track along Housedale Rigg

Here we turned right off the forest access road to follow a firebreak through the forest. The fire break is marked on the OS Explorer map as a narrow white gap in the green forest area. The gap is not so obvious on the ground although if you look carefully there is a narrow path along it.

We turned right to follow the access road along the rigg for about 1.4km to map ref. SE869880. We did not see any other walkers but the forest access road is a well used mountain bike route.

The forest track along Housedale Rigg
The forest track along Housedale Rigg

The firebreak path from Housedale Rigg
The firebreak path from Housedale Rigg

Start of the firebreak path from Housedale Rigg
Start of the firebreak path from Housedale Rigg

Emerging from the firebreak onto the track in House Dale
Emerging from the firebreak onto the track in House Dale

And from House Dale we climbed up along the firebreak path to Sutherbruff Rigg.

We followed the firebreak across a series of small valleys. First dropping down into House Dale.

Reaching the track on Sutherbruff Rigg
Reaching the track on Sutherbruff Rigg

Following the firebreak "path" from Sutherbruff Rigg down to Flax Dale
Following the firebreak "path" from Sutherbruff Rigg down to Flax Dale

Approaching the track in the bottom of Flax Dale
Approaching the track in the bottom of Flax Dale

Dropping down into Heck Dale from Flainsey Rigg
Dropping down into Heck Dale from Flainsey Rigg

Crossing the track in the bottom of Heck Dale
Crossing the track in the bottom of Heck Dale

Leaving Heck Dale to start the climb up to White Cliff Rigg
Leaving Heck Dale to start the climb up to White Cliff Rigg

The rough path along the firebreak led us down into Heck Dale and then climbed up again onto White Cliff Rigg.

From Sutherbruff Rigg we dropped down into Flax Dale and came out onto the forest track in the bottom of the valley at map ref. SE873874 where a track from an old quarry joins the valley track. From here we climbed up again on to Flainsey Rigg and continued to follow the firebreak across the rigg.

Leaving Flainsey rigg on the firebreak path
Leaving Flainsey Rigg on the firebreak path

Looking back up towards Flainsey Rigg from Heck Dale along the route we had taken on the firebreak path.
Looking back up towards Flainsey Rigg from Heck Dale along the route we had taken on the firebreak path.

The firebreak path up from Heck dale towards White Cliff Rigg
The firebreak path up from Heck dale towards White Cliff Rigg

The firebreak path up from Heck dale towards White Cliff Rigg
The firebreak path up from Heck dale towards White Cliff Rigg

The firebreak path up from Heck dale towards White Cliff Rigg
The firebreak path up from Heck dale towards White Cliff Rigg

Looking back towards Heck Dale from the track on White Cliff Rigg
Looking back along the firebreak path towards Heck Dale from the track on White Cliff Rigg

Leaving White Cliff Rigg along the firebreak path
Leaving White Cliff Rigg along the firebreak path

Approaching the track in Sand Dale
Approaching the track in Sand Dale

Passing a clear felled area in Sand Dale
Passing a clear felled area in Sand Dale

After our lunch we continued to follow the fire break and dropped down into Sand Dale. Here we turned right to walk along the access track in the bottom of Sand Dale for about 3km to Thornton Dale. We joined the track running northwards along Thornton Dale.

Where we crossed the access road on top of White Cliff Rigg there are some conifers where the ground is closely shaded and we sat on a carpet of dry needles with a tree to provide a backrest for our lunch. We had been there enjoying the quiet of the forest for about 15 minutes when a buzzard glided slowly over the tree top directly above us and disappeared from view.

Lunch stop on White Cliff Rigg
Lunch stop on White Cliff Rigg

Dropping down to Sand Dale from White Cliff Rigg
Dropping down to Sand Dale from White Cliff Rigg

The track along Sand Dale
The track along Sand Dale

Track down Sand Dale joins the track along Thornton Dale
Track down Sand Dale joins the track along Thornton Dale

Small pond by the track along Thornton Dale
Small pond by the track along Thornton Dale

Comemorative plaques in Thornton Dale
Commemorative plaques in Thornton Dale

Forest track along Thornton Dale
Forest track along Thornton Dale

Carriage rides from the visitor centre down Thornton Dale
Carriage rides from the visitor centre down Thornton Dale

We continued to follow the track along Thornton Dale and just before we reached Dalby village we passed a small horse drawn carriage which provides rides for visitors from the visitor centre car park.

After about 1.5km along Thornton Dale we came to a pretty pond on the right of the track and noticed two commemorative plaques fixed to the rail around the pond. Both were in memory of pet dogs. You may wish to share the sentiment in this lovely spot, on the other hand you may feel the need to vomit.

A red admiral butterfly taking nectar from a Knapweed flower
A red admiral butterfly taking nectar from a Knapweed flower

Beetle called a devil's coach horse
Beetle called a devil's coach horse

Walking through Dalby village
Walking through Dalby village

The cycle hire centre in Dalby village
The cycle hire centre in Dalby village

The cafe is a first floor level with an outside terrace and a very nice view of the surrounding forest. The whole walk was about 11km and it took us 4 hours to walk including our lunch stop.

 

We walked through Dalby village and back to the car park. When we had changed out of our boots we made our way to the visitor centre cafe for a coffee and a toasted teacake to finish the walk off properly.

Leaving Dalby village for the visitor centre car park
Leaving Dalby village for the visitor centre car park