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A fine highland bull by the road to Levisham station
A fine highland bull by the road to Levisham station

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Route No. 471 - Tuesday 29 May 2012
Levisham, Levisham Beck. Dundale Griff,
Levisham Station, Farwath, circuit - 11km
North York Moors . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer OL27 North York Moors Eastern area

This is a route from my friend Ray Brown of Northallerton - another excellent contribution written in his own inimitable style.


Levisham village
Levisham village

Red campions on narrow but distinct woodland path
Red campions on narrow but distinct woodland path

Herb Robert
Herb Robert

Taking the left fork we followed the narrow but distinct undulating woodland path with a wooded valley on our right and unseen fields just above us on our left. There were extensive displays of red campion with stitchwort for our admiration.

After parking by Levisham village hall we walked back down the road to beyond the first house of the settlement where, at the top of the steep hill (SE 8332 9032), a narrow path on the left immediately forks by a bench.

Levisham Brow meets Dundale Griff
Levisham Brow meets Dundale Griff

Early Purple Orchid
Early Purple Orchid

Schoolchildren descend Dundale Griff
Schoolchildren descend Dundale Griff

Approaching Dundale Pond paths crossing
Approaching Dundale Pond paths crossing

Eventually the path dropped down to Levisham Beck (SE 838918) where the signpost offers Hole of Horcum or Dundale Pond. Choosing the latter we struck left on the steady climb through moorland up Dundale Griff, passing a descending party of schoolchildren.

Speedwell, Dog Violet, Cowslips, Herb Robert, Bluebells, Early Purple Orchids, Forget-me-nots and Buttercups made occasional appearances along the route too. The path, initially heading East, curved around North into Levisham Brow.

Path up Dundale Griff
Path up Dundale Griff

Dundale Pond
Dundale Pond

Bridleway continues at SE 824920
Bridleway continues at SE 824920

Here we took a narrow but well-worn path on the left which descends to cross and then join the surfaced road to the station, arriving there just in time to watch the 13.20 train from Pickering. Alas it turned out to be hauled by a diesel locomotive but a station bench offered a comfortable lunch venue.

At Dundale Ponds we crossed over the Saltergate/Levisham path and continued ahead towards Levisham Station, merging in a few minutes with the Braygate Lane bridleway coming from the left. Soon we were confronted with the steep drop of some 50 metres overlooking Newton Dale.

Turning left at SE 822918 down to Levisham Station
Turning left at SE 822918 down to Levisham Station

Diesel loco at Levisham Station
Diesel loco at Levisham Station

Path leaving Levisham station
Path leaving Levisham station

The 3rd gate on East Brow Banks
The 3rd gate on East Brow Banks

Sometimes a path, sometimes a farm track, this route passed through several farm gates as we enjoyed banksides of bluebells and negotiated a group of cows. When the train from Grosmont was due to pass at 14.25 we found a convenient track to the nearby railway at SE 8213 9015 and were rewarded by a sight of the majestic 9F, now named Cock o’ the North, heading the train with the humble J72 side-tanker providing encouragement at the rear. Also enjoying the spectacle was a visiting couple from the West Country, where the husband drives steam locomotives on the West Somerset Railway.

We resumed our walk by crossing the rail track and proceeding directly through a small gate and a footbridge followed by a steep climb up the hillside. Fortunately following a weeklong heat-wave the normally muddy track was manageable. As we emerged into a pasture the gradient relented and the route became indistinct, but by bearing slightly left we soon joined a route running sharp left and downhill in a south-east direction for about 3 km.

Bluebells on Newton Banks
Bluebells on Newton Banks

Primrose by Bottoms Road
Primrose by Bottoms Road

Cock o' the North at SE 821902
Cock o' the North at SE 821902

Pickering Beck at Farwath
Pickering Beck at Farwath

On Sleights Road
On Sleights Road

Leaving the track at SE 833899
Leaving the track at SE 833899

Redundant parish church Levisham
Redundant parish church Levisham

This leads down to a footbridge and joins a track past the ruins of the old parish church of Levisham, last used in the 1950s and declared redundant in 1976. Continuing up the track and bearing right we reached the road into Levisham. There followed a steep climb around a U-bend whilst avoiding road traffic. Some planning notices posted nearby indicated that the safer alternative of a footpath is about to be introduced - Ray Brown

Passing through woodland we reached the houses at Farwath where we crossed the beck and the railway. Ignoring the alternative bridleway over a footbridge on the left we soon reached a farm gate and veered left on to Sleights Lane, a track with idyllic views over the valley on the left. After some 1.5km where the track bears right at SE 833899 we took a narrow unsigned bridleway on the left which is easily missed.

On Bottoms Road
On Bottoms Road

Railway bridge and water wheel at Farwath
Railway bridge and water wheel at Farwath


Start of Sleights Road
Start of Sleights Road

Ruins of Levisham parish church
Ruins of Levisham parish church


Cows and buttercups from Sleights Road