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Ruined "Sheep bield" or sheep fold with six upright monoliths amongst the ruins
Ruined "Sheep bield" or sheep fold with six upright monoliths amongst the ruins

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Route No. 473 - Wednesday 13 June 2012
Sleights Moor, Littlebeck,
Falling Foss circuit - 10km
North York Moors . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer OL27 North York Moors Eastern area

A Ray Brown walk - thanks Ray for another interesting contribution


Leaving the track at NZ 8667 0478 on to a narrow path
Leaving the track at NZ 8667 0478 on to a narrow path

"Sheep bield" or sheep fold with 6 monoliths by the ruins
"Sheep bield" or sheep fold with 6 monoliths by its ruins

Swinging hard right at Hillside Farm
Swinging hard right at Hillside Farm

Soon afterwards we reached a stile before continuing to a track at Hillside farm where we turned left for 50 metres. Swinging hard right on to a narrow metalled private road, the right-of-way passed though farmland for almost 500 metres. Meeting a public road on a corner we maintained our direction for a further 80 metres before turning right at a public footpath sign and crossing two stiles. The path led down to cross a third stile and a stream.

The car was parked on the East side of the A169 road, 1½ miles South of Sleights at NZ 8622 0476 where a moorland track running East was accessed through a gate. After passing an electricity supply pylon on our left we turned left at NZ 8667 0478 on to a narrow path leading, in about 100 metres, to six upright monoliths amongst ruins (shown on the O.S. map as a sheep bield). There the path veered right and ran downhill past a small engraved stone memorial on the right.

Examining the small memorial
Examining the small memorial

Crossing a third stile and a stream
Crossing a third stile and a stream

Meeting a public road at a corner
Meeting a public road at a corner

Stray Head
Stray Head

Littlebeck Lane ran steeply downhill, past a building with an unusual gable end, to the attractive hamlet of Littlebeck.

After the climb up from the stream our path crossed the track to Stray Head house to reach a further stile and after a wiggle it merged with a more definite grass path which reached the public road via a farm gate.

Unusual gable end on our approach to Littlebeck
Unusual gable end on our approach to Littlebeck

View from Littlebeck footbridge
View from Littlebeck footbridge

Approaching Littlebeck
Approaching Littlebeck

Hermitage cut out from a single stone
Hermitage cut out from a single stone

Falling Foss
Falling Foss

There a tributary stream provides a miniature waterfall and a small historic hermitage dated 1799 had been created from a single rock. As well as the waterfall itself, the picturesque scenes near Falling Foss justified the slithery trip to reach it. Here we refuelled from packed lunches but, for those without, the restored gamekeeper’s cottage Midge Hall was doing a brisk trade in snacks.

After crossing the beck by a footbridge we entered Little Beck Wood nature reserve where a notice promised us a 40 minute walk to Falling Foss. However, following a week of rain, the journey took rather longer as we wrestled with mud wherever the path had no duckboard covering. This section of the Coast-to-Coast walk passes a few interesting features.

Miniature waterfall
Miniature waterfall

Midge Hall
Midge Hall

Footbridge with troll
Footbridge with troll

Pool below the bridge over May Beck near Midge Hall
Pool below the bridge over May Beck near Midge Hall

At NZ 8827 0313 the bridleway turned right
At NZ 8827 0313 the bridleway turned right

Rejoining the track at NZ 8804 0354
Rejoining the track at NZ 8804 0354

Turning right at junction of tracks (NZ 8637 0292)
Turning right at junction of tracks (NZ 8637 0292)

At NZ 873032 the track, now poorly defined, veered right to climb over grassland to a gate at NZ 8718 0324 leading on to moorland. Walking for a further kilometre and passing a forest on our left, we arrived at a junction of tracks at NZ 8637 0292 where we turned right on to a track which follows the straight line of electricity supply pylons. In this area of moorland the track was not shown on the O.S. map. Ahead of us in the distance lay Whitby. At NZ 8644 0419 the track moved from the right of the pylons to the left as it crossed a small stream at a ford and at NZ8642 0463 we turned left towards the A 169 at a T-junction. Finally at NZ 8623 0466 we took the right-of-way across the moorland back to the car - Ray Brown

We proceeded over the footbridge and said goodbye to the C-to-C by swinging right on to a substantial farm track leading uphill via two metal farm gates to Foss Farm. We continued on the same bridleway until, by a signpost at NZ 8827 0313, it turned right through a farm gate. In 200 metres the route veered right and then dropped down to a farm gate with welcoming rhododendrons. After a short climb we were directed left immediately before Leashead Farm. The path briefly joined a farm track before cutting left across a meadow to a pedestrian gate (NZ 8804 0354) where the track (Leashead Road) was rejoined and led us uphill before levelling and passing through two farm gates.

Gate at NZ 87183 0324 leading on to moorland
Gate at NZ 8718 0324 leading on to moorland

Following the line of pylons running North
Following the line of pylons running North

A distant view of Whitby ahead of us
A distant view of Whitby ahead of us

The ford at NZ 8644 0419 about 600m from the car at the end of our walk
The ford at NZ 8644 0419 about 600m from the car at the end of our walk