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Looking north from the top edge of Greenhow Plantation towards Roseberry Topping
Looking north from the top edge of Greenhow Plantation towards Roseberry Topping

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Route No. 571 - Sunday 9 November 2014
Clay Bank, West Wood Farm, Old Sheepfold Farm,
Greenhow Plantation circuit - 9km
North York Moors . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer OL26 North York Moors Western area


The view point at Clay Bank car park
The view point at Clay Bank car park

The lane from the car park heading towards Ingleby Greenhow
The lane from the car park heading towards Ingleby Greenhow

We set off from the car park down the lane, through the forest plantation towards Ingleby Greenhow. At the bottom of the bank the road continued out of the plantation. After another 200m we came to West Wood Farm on our right. Just past West Wood Farm we turned right off the road to follow a bridleway through a timber field gate.

There was thick mist lying across the Vale of York this morning as my wife and I drove out to Helmsley and along Bilsdale to the car park at Clay Bank ( map ref. NZ725036) looking out to Roseberry Topping and the Tees estuary. As we approached the head of Bilsdale we drove out of the mist into a bright sunny crisp November day.

Roseberry Topping on the skyline
Roseberry Topping on the skyline

Leaving the lane to follow the path around West Wood Farm
Leaving the lane to follow the path around West Wood Farm

Nearing the bridleway gate next to a little pond
Nearing the bridleway gate next to a little pond . . .

Continuing along the bridleway
Continuing along the bridleway

The bridleway is not well defined across the fields
The bridleway is not well defined across the fields

The bridleways are not clearly defined across this field and we just took the direction from the map and headed out across the field until we saw the gate in the fence ahead. We continued along the route of the bridleway to a waterlogged gateway on to a lane at map ref. NZ589037. At the lane we turned right and followed the lane for about 300m to New Sheepfold Farm.

The path led us along the side of the farm and out to the fields beyond the farm. About 100m beyond the farm at a bridleway gate next to a little pond the bridleway forked and we kept to the right hand fork to follow a footpath diagonally across the large grassy field to another bridleway gate at the far side of the field.

next bridleway gate across the field
. . . the next bridleway gate across the field

Looking back to Hasty Bank still touched by low cloud
Looking back to Hasty Bank still touched by low cloud

Water logged gateway on to a lane
Water logged gateway on to a lane

The lane leading to New Sheepfold Farm
The lane leading to New Sheepfold Farm

Start of the concrete access road from New Sheepfold Farm
Start of the concrete access road from New Sheepfold Farm

Heading for Old Sheepfold Farm on the concrete access road
Heading for Old Sheepfold Farm on the concrete access road

The footpath leaving Old Sheepfold Farm
The footpath leaving Old Sheepfold Farm

We followed the path across the fields past lovely oak trees growing in parkland style in the pastures. There was a large tree stump by the track where we sat for a drink and to just enjoy the scenery in the autumn sunshine. As we sat there the sound of a group of trail bikers broke into the quiet and we watched them speed up Ingleby Incline and disappear from view.

At New Sheepfold Farm we turned left off the lane to follow a concrete farm access road between the farm buildings and a row of modern terrace houses that front on to the lane. We continued along this access road between the fields for about 700m to Old Sheepfold Farm. We followed the path through the farmyard and through a gate to the fields beyond.

The concrete access road from New Sheepfold Farm
The concrete access road from New Sheepfold Farm

Following the concrete road into Old Sheepfold Farm
Following the concrete road into Old Sheepfold Farm

Footpath across the fields from Old Sheepfold Farm
Footpath across the fields from Old Sheepfold Farm

We sat on this tree stump for a short break
We sat on this tree stump for a short break

Stile by this gate on to the forest access road
Stile by this gate on to the forest access road

Forest access road around the bottom of the hillside
Forest access road around the bottom of the hillside

We continued around the bottom of the forested hillside for about 1.5km to map ref. NZ595023. Here the forest access road turns right to continue around the foot of the hillside. On the bend there is a track off to the left off the forest road, leading up the hillside.

After our break we set off again and around 500m from Old Sheepfold Farm we came to a field gate that led on to a forest access road near the foot of the Ingleby Incline on the old iron stone railway where it came down from the moors. At the forest access road we turned right and followed the access road past the foot of Ingleby Incline.

Forest access road passing the bottom of Ingleby Incline
Forest access road passing the bottom of Ingleby Incline

Forest access road around the bottom of the hillside
Forest access road around the bottom of the hillside

Looking back to our turning off the foest access road to start the climb up the hillside
Looking back to our turning off the forest access road to start the climb up the hillside

Path climbing up through Greenhow Plantation
Path climbing up through Greenhow Plantation

Path climbing up through Greenhow Plantation
Path climbing up through Greenhow Plantation

Trail bikes helped to make the mud worse
Trail bikes helped to make the mud worse

It was a long steady climb up this track until we joined a track running around the hillside at a higher level. There were lovely views out to our right from the forest across towards Roseberry Topping as we made our way along the track near the top edge of the forest.

The first few metres of this track are crushed stone with grass growing through it but after that it is just a grassy track climbing diagonally up the hillside. Unfortunately some trail bikes, like the ones we had seen earlier, had come down this way leaving plenty of soft mud to impede our progress.

Path climbing up through Greenhow Plantation
Path climbing up through Greenhow Plantation

The path became muddier as we climbed
The path became muddier as we climbed

Trail bikes helped to make the mud worse
Trail bikes helped to make the mud worse

Looking out to Roseberry Topping from the forest track
Looking out to Roseberry Topping from the forest track

The forest here has been felled since my last visit a few years ago
The forest here has been felled since my last visit a few years ago

Hasty Bank ahead of us across the head of Bilsdale
Hasty Bank ahead of us across the head of Bilsdale

Arriving at the lay-by on the B1257
Arriving at the lay-by on the B1257

The lay-by is close to the point where the Cleveland Way, the Wainwright Coast to Coast Route and the Lyke Wake Walk route all cross the road from Hasty Bank and climb up to the trig point on Round Hill above Botton Head. At the road we turned right and walk the 100m back to the Clay Bank car park and the end of the walk. The whole route had been just over 9km and it had taken me almost four hours to walk including our breaks and lots of photos.

It's a few years since I was last up here and much of the forest has been felled since then. The benches at two nice view points have gone, but the fence at these sites remains and of course the view is much more open now. The track began to drop down now and shortly we reached the lay-by on the B1257.

There used to be a bench seat here at the view point
There used to be a bench seat here at the view point

Following the forest track down to the B1257
Following the forest track down to the B1257

The entrance to Clay Bank car park
The entrance to Clay Bank car park

Approaching the end of our walk at the Clay Bank car park
Approaching the end of our walk at the Clay Bank car park

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