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Junction of the Hambleton Drove Road and the lane up from Kepwick where we started our walk
Junction of the Hambleton Drove Road and the lane up from Kepwick where we started our walk

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Route No. 723 - Thursday 31 May 2018
By-way towards Arden Hall, Bridleway around
Dale Town Common, Hambleton Drove Road circuit
8km - Hambleton Hills. North York Moors . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer OL26 North York Moors Western Area


The Hambleton Drove Road where we started our walk
The Hambleton Drove Road where we started our walk

Setting off along the moorland access track towards Arden Hall
Setting off along the moorland access track towards Arden Hall

Moorland track above Thorodale heading towards Arden Hall
Moorland track above Thorodale heading towards Arden Hall

We had left home in Easingwold in the mist but that had all evaporated by the time we parked on the Drove Road in bright sunshine. From our parking spot we set off south eastwards along an old byway heading down along side Thorodale towards Arden Hall. It was a lovely morning and the air was full of the beautiful bubbling whistle of numerous curlews circling overhead, warning their chicks to stay still under cover as we passed by. There were lapwings about too but unusually not so many as the curlews.

A very misty morning today but the forecast expected the cloud to lift and dissipate giving us another fine sunny day. My friend, Jim, and I drove to the village of Kepwick about 13km north east of Thirsk. From the village we drove up a narrow winding minor road climbing the western escarpment of the Hambleton Hills. At the top of the climb we reached the end of the public road at a gate on to the Hambleton Drove Road that is also the route of the Cleveland Way, at map ref. SE 489 915. We parked here next to the drove road track.

Moorland track above Thorodale
Moorland track above Thorodale

Gate across the track above Thorodale Wood
Gate across the track above Thorodale Wood

Looking down Thorodale to Hawnby Hill in the haze from the track
Looking down Thorodale to Hawnby Hill in the haze from the track

Continuing along the track above Thorodale
Continuing along the track above Thorodale

Following the track around the edge of Thorodale Wood
Following the track around the edge of Thorodale Wood

Beyond this gate the track passed around the edge of the fields next to Thorodale Wood. After another 300m we came to a track on our right where we turned right to follow a public bridleway along this track heading generally in a southerly direction.

After about 1km we came to a gate across the track with the corner of the woodland in Thorodale just below us. We continued along the track for another 800m to another gate across the track.

We've had fine dry weather for a month now, fire risk
We've had fine dry weather for a month now (fire risk)

Right turn off the track to head south to Dale Town Common
Right turn off the track to head south to Dale Town Common

Following the track across the dip in the land at the head of Stoney Gill Hole, southwards towards Dale Town Common
Following the track across the dip in the land at the head of Stoney Gill Hole, southwards towards Dale Town Common

Grassy track around eastern boundary of open access land
Grassy track around eastern boundary of open access land

The dip in the land here is the head of Gowerdale
The dip in the land here is the head of Gowerdale

Continuing along the edge of the open access land to a corner
Continuing along the edge of the open access land to a corner

We followed the bridleway southwards along the eastern boundary of the open access land for about 700m where we cross another dip in the land at the head of Gowerdale. We continued around the edge of the open access land to map ref. SE 512 890 at a corner of the open access land where two bridleways cross.

The track took us up a short slope and after about 250m along this track it dropped down to cross a shallow depression that is the head of a little valley called Stoney Gill Hole and back up to a gate in the wall. Beyond the gate we were in open access land.

The woodland ahead is in Gowerdale
The woodland ahead is in Gowerdale

Crossing the head of Gowerdale
Crossing the head of Gowerdale

Corner of the open access land at map ref. SE 512 890
Corner of the open access land at map ref. SE 512 890

Our right turn at the corner of the open access land to head west to the Hambleton Drove Road
Our right turn at the corner of the open access land to head west to the Hambleton Drove Road

Heading west to the Hambleton Drove Road
Heading west to the Hambleton Drove Road

Following the Drove Road along the edge of Boltby Forest
Following the Drove Road along the edge of Boltby Forest

At the drove road we turned right to walk along the Drove Road through the edge of the Boltby Forest to map ref. SE 494 901 about 1.5km away.

Here we turned right and followed the boundary of the open access land for about 750m to a gateway onto the Hambleton Drove Road/Cleveland Way.

Gate on to the Hambleton Drove Road
Gate on to the Hambleton Drove Road


Following the Drove Road along the edge of Boltby Forest

Following the Hambleton Drove Road out of Boltby Forest and across the open moor
Following the Hambleton Drove Road out of Boltby Forest and across the open moor

Cowslips by the track
Cowslips by the track

Continuing along the Drove Road towards our parking spot
Continuing along the Drove Road towards our parking spot

The most memorable feature of the walk was the lovely cries of the curlews all the way around the route. The whole walk had been about 8km and it had taken us two & three quarter hours to walk on this lovely late spring day.

From the edge of the Boltby Forest we continued along the drove Road for another 1.5km back to our parking spot. Along the way we passed a large herd of Belted Galloway cattle grazing the land just over the wall from the Drove Road.

Continuing along the Drove Road towards our parking spot
Continuing along the Drove Road towards our parking spot

Part of a large herd of Belted Galloway cattle next to the track
Part of a large herd of Belted Galloway cattle next to the track

Returning to our parking spot on the Hambleton Drove Road at the end of our walk
Returning to our parking spot on the Hambleton Drove Road at the end of our walk

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