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Our lunch stop at the cairn on Simon Howe on the route of the Lyke Wake walk

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Route No. 563 - Thursday 11 September 2014
Wheeldale Bridge, Cropton Forest, Wardle Green,
Simon Howe, Hunt House, Roman Road circuit - 11km
North York Moors . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer OL27 North York Moors Eastern area


The ford where Rutmoor Beck becomes Wheeldale Beck
The ford where Rutmoor Beck becomes Wheeldale Beck at the start of our walk

Setting off across the ford
Setting off across the ford

Turning off the road into Cropton Forest
Turning off the road into Cropton Forest

Forest access roas around Gale Hill Rigg
Forest access road around Gale Hill Rigg

Just across the ford there is room to park off the road on a grassy area on the right of the road. From our parking spot we walked back across the ford and along the road for about 100m before turning left off the road on to a stony forest access track into the northeastern fringes of Cropton Forest.

This morning my friend Jim & I drove to Wheeldale Bridge, map ref. SE802970, about 4km north of Stape on the narrow road from Pickering via Newton-upon-Rawcliffe to Egton Bridge. Wheeldale Bridge is a footbridge next to a road ford across the start of Wheeldale Beck.

Ling heather by the road side
Ling heather by the road side

Swaledale ewes that had broken into the forest from the moor
Swaledale ewes that had broken into the forest from the moor

Forest access roas around Gale Hill Rigg
Forest access road around Gale Hill Rigg

Looking over the moor from the forest edge
Looking over the moor from the forest edge

Forest road heading for Wardle Green
Forest road heading for Wardle Green

Path across the field to the ruins at Wardle Green
Path across the field to the ruins at Wardle Green

As we approached the ruined farm at Wardle Green the track passed between fields with sheep grazing and at the gate across the track at the end of the fields we turned left to follow a path across the field to the site of the ruined farm.

We followed the forest road for about 4km as it wound its way around Gale Hill Rigg following the edge of the forest with occasional glimpses of the open moor through the trees and a clearer view out to Simon Howe where the forest had been felled recently.

Turning on to a forest road heading for Wardle Green
Turning on to a forest road heading for Wardle Green

About to turn left off the track on to the path to Wardle Green
About to turn left off the track on to the path to Wardle Green

Sheep grazing at Wardle Green
Sheep grazing at Wardle Green

Path to the gate on to the open moor by the ruins at Wardle Green
Path to the gate on to the open moor by the ruins at Wardle Green

Footbridge over Blawath Beck as we left Wardle Green
Footbridge over Blawath Beck as we left Wardle Green

Long semi-circular wall to shelter the sheep on this high moor
Long semi-circular wall to shelter the sheep on this high moor

Path through the heather along Simon Howe Rigg
Path through the heather along Simon Howe Rigg

We passed a large semi-circular wall built to provide shelter for the sheep on this high moor no matter which direction the wind blows. We followed the path along a ridge called Simon Howe Rigg for about 1.5km from the semi-circular wall to the tall cairn on top of Simon Howe itself.

At the farm there was a gate out to the open moor from the forest edge. We followed the path through the gate and down to a footbridge across Blawath Beck. From the beck we continued along the footpath climbing up the moor.

Moorland path at the start of Simon Howe Rigg
Moorland path at the start of Simon Howe Rigg

Heather still in flower by the path
Heather still in flower by the path

The last few metres up to Simon Howe
The last few metres up to Simon Howe

Simon Howe with the modern cairn in the centre of the ring of angled kerb stones that were at the base of a large Bronze age cairn
Simon Howe with the modern cairn in the centre of the ring of angled kerb stones that were at the base of a large Bronze age cairn

Lyke Wake Walk route from Simon Howe to Wheeldale Beck
Lyke Wake Walk route from Simon Howe to Wheeldale Beck

After our break we headed west along the route of the Lyke Wake Walk, heading down towards Wheeldale Beck. After about 1.5km the path crosses a track running roughly north/south, overlooking the former youth hostel buildings at Wheeldale Lodge.

We sat at the foot of the cairn for our lunch break in the warm sunshine. The heather is starting to fade now but is still an impressive sight in every direction from Simon Howe. Around the modern cairn there are the remains of a ring of angled stones that formed the kerb stones to a large Bronze Age cairn on this site.

Lyke Wake walk route overlooking Wheeldale Lodge
Lyke Wake walk route overlooking Wheeldale Lodge


Path above Wheeldale Lodge heading for Hunt House

Trailer full of bee hives below the path
Trailer full of bee hives below the path

Track to Hunt House
Track to Hunt House

A few of them blundered into us as we passed by and one stung me on my forehead. It was very sore for the next couple of days. We continued along the track past Hunt House and about 150m beyond Hunt House where the road begins to bear round to the right we took the track off to the left down towards Wheeldale Beck.

At this track we turned right and walked along the track towards the access track from Wheeldale Lodge. There was a trailer with around twenty bee hives on it parked below the path. The bees were working hard collecting the nectar from the heather up the hillside and there was a constant flow of bees across the path.

Congested hive entrance  with working the last of the heather
Congested hive entrance with working the last of the heather

Joining the road just past Hunt House
Joining the road just past Hunt House

The track down to Wheeldale Beck about 200m beyond Hunt House
The track that starts about 200m beyond Hunt House and goes to a ford across the beck
Note: Wheeldale Beck and Wheeldale Gill join at the ford to form the West Beck

Gate about 50m before the track reaches Wheeldale beck
Gate about 50m before the track reaches the beck

Footbridge over the beck
Footbridge over the beck

We took this path on the left and crossed the footbridge. Then we followed the path along the side of the beck for about 100m to a stile in a post and rail fence.

As we approached the beck there was a ford with a footbridge alongside it and about 50m before the beck there was a path off to the left through some long grass and bushes to another footbridge over the beck.

Overgrown path to a footbridge a few metres before the ford
Overgrown path to a footbridge a few metres before the ford

Stile where the path leaves the beck
Stile where the path leaves the beck

Straight track up the hillside towards the Roman Road
Straight track up the hillside towards the Roman Road

Looking back along the valley of West Beck
Looking back along the valley of West Beck

We crossed the stile and continued along this track for another 150m to reach the start of the Roman road where there is an interesting information board about it.

Once over the stile we turned left and followed the straight track climbing up the hillside for about 300m. Here the track bends round to the right to a stile over the wall in the corner of the field


Stile in the corner of the field

Gate where the Roman Road begins
Gate where the Roman Road begins

Path next to the Roman Road
Path next to the Roman Road . . .

Path next to the Roman Road
Path next to the Roman Road

Information board & stile at the end of the Roman Road
Information board & stile at the end of the Roman Road

The slow worm was much too fast for me to get a photo. At the road we turned left and walked about 250m down the road back to our parking place next to Wheeldale Beck and the end of our walk. The whole route had been 11km and it had taken us about four hours to walk including our lunch stop.

We followed the course of the Roman Road for about 1.5km to the public road at map ref. SE803972. Along the way Jim spotted a slow worm coiled up in the grass it heard us coming and moved very quickly (nothing slow about it) into some longer grass and heather and disappeared completely.

note the shape of the road with its drainage ditches
. . . note the shape of the road with its drainage ditches

Stile to a road at the end of the visible Roman Road
Stile to a road at the end of the visible Roman Road

Heather on the road side
Heather on the road side

The road back to our parking spot and the end of our walk
The road back to our parking spot and the end of our walk

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