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Looking northwest along the valley of Commondale Beck from the farm access road at map ref. NZ 680 087
Looking northwest along the valley of Commondale Beck from the farm access road at map ref. NZ 680 087

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Route No. 753 - Sunday 30 December 2018
Castleton, Westgate Farm,
Commondale Beck circuit - 6km
North York Moors . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer OL26 North York Moors Western area


The start of our walk by the road bridge over the River Esk at Castleton
The start of our walk by the road bridge over the River Esk at Castleton

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Setting off from our parking spot
Setting off from our parking spot

From our parking spot we followed the road west for a few metres and round the bend to head southwest climbing up the hillside with a small plantation on our right. About 500m from our parking spot we turned right off the road to follow a public footpath with a wooden post & rail fence on our right.

Today was a good day for a walk, warm (about 11degrees C) with a gentle breeze, cloudy but also plenty of blue sky and sunshine. My wife and I drove to Castleton in the Esk Valley in the northern part of the North York Moors. We parked on the grass verge by the road bridge over the River Esk at map ref. NZ 684 083.

Following the road SW past a small plantation
Following the road SW past a small plantation

Turning right off the road to follow a public footpath down to the River Esk
Turning right off the road to follow a public footpath down to the River Esk

Footpath heading down towards the River Esk
Footpath heading down towards the River Esk

Crossing the second stile towards the River Esk
Crossing the second stile towards the River Esk

Crossing the footbridge over the River Esk
Crossing the footbridge over the River Esk

We turned right over the stile heading for Scale Foot
We turned right over the stile heading for Scale Foot

Over the stile we immediately turned right to follow the route of a public footpath up the hillside along the edge of the field with a hedge on our right to Scale Foot farm. We continued along the path between the farm buildings, all of which seemed to be holiday cottages.

We continued along the path over three stiles down the hillside to a footbridge over the River Esk at map ref. NZ 678 083. From the footbridge we followed a fenced footpath by the beck for about 50m and then we turned left over a stile.

Crossing the first stile towards the River Esk
Crossing the first stile towards the River Esk

Crossing the third stile towards the River Esk
Crossing the third stile towards the River Esk

Fenced footpath next to the River Esk
Fenced footpath next to the River Esk

Following the footpath next to the hedge up to Scale Foot
Following the footpath next to the hedge up to Scale Foot

Footpath between the holiday cottages at Scale Foot
Footpath between the holiday cottages at Scale Foot

The farm access track leading away from Scale Foot
The farm access track leading away from Scale Foot

Walking up by the wall towards Scale Cross
Walking up by the wall towards Scale Cross

We passed through the gate and continued following the public footpath along a grassy track heading up across the middle of the field. There was a gate ahead leading to Scale Cross farm, but after about 90m we kept right off the grassy track to another field gate lower down in the north west corner of the field. We passed through this gate and followed the footpath along the edge of the field next to some woodland over the wall on our right.

We followed the public footpath along the farm access road heading roughly northwards, away from the farm, for about 100m to a sharp left hand bend in the access road. At the bend we kept to the right still following the public footpath down a small bank for a few metres, then turned left through a field gate and continued along the route of the public footpath walking up the hillside for about 40m with a dry stone wall on our left. Here the path turned right and headed down a bank for about 20m to a field gate on our left.

Turning right off the access track heading for Scale Cross
Turning right off the access track heading for Scale Cross

Dropping down to the path through the gate on our left
Dropping down to the path through the gate on our left

Continuing along the footpath below Scale Cross by the wall and some woodland on our right
Continuing along the footpath below Scale Cross by the wall and some woodland on our right

Following the footpath by the wall towards Thornhill Farm
Following the footpath by the wall towards Thornhill Farm

Walled track leading to Thornhill Farm
Walled track leading to Thornhill Farm

The farm track crossed a small stream and climbed up the hillside for about 30m to a field gate on our right leading on to a walled farm access track. Through this gate we walked along the track towards Thornhill Farm. As we approached the farm there was a cattle shed straight ahead and the path passed round the right hand side of it.

The footpath passed to the northeast of Scale Cross farm and we followed the footpath along the edge of the fields next to a wall heading towards Thornhill Farm. At map ref. NZ 670 090 the path led us across the corner of the field along a muddy farm track.

Track across the corner of the field & up to a track on our right
Track across the corner of the field & up to a track on our right

Nearing Thornhill Farm along the walled track
Nearing Thornhill Farm along the walled track

Footpath along the track around a cattle shed at Thornhill Farm
Footpath along the track around a cattle shed at Thornhill Farm

We passed a series of farm buildings at Thornhill Farm
We passed a series of farm buildings at Thornhill Farm

The footpath by the wall from Thornhill farm to Westgate Farm
The footpath by the wall from Thornhill farm to Westgate Farm

Here there was a ladder stile over the wall on our right. From the stile we crossed the farmyard where there was a flock of geese that had survived the Christmas period.

The footpath continued along the farm access track past Thornhill Farm with a series of farm buildings on our left for about 170m. From the end of the farm buildings the path continued along the edge of the fields with a stone wall on our right for about 240m to Westgate Farm.

The footpath by the wall from Thornhill farm to Westgate Farm
The footpath by the wall from Thornhill farm to Westgate Farm

Ladder stile over the wall on our right at Westgate Farm
Ladder stile over the wall on our right at Westgate Farm

Flock of geese that had survived the Christmas period at Westgate Farm
Flock of geese that had survived the Christmas period at Westgate Farm

Leaving the Westgate Farm heading down to the beck
Leaving the Westgate Farm heading down to the beck

Footpath down the hillside towards the beck
Footpath down the hillside towards the beck

Footpath through the scrubland to the beck
Footpath through the scrubland to the beck

We crossed a ladder stile at the bottom of the field and followed a muddy track down through some scrub land to the footbridge across the beck. We crossed the beck to some marshy land on the other side.

We passed through a steel farm gate at the corner of the farm buildings and dropped down to a stile through the field wall to follow the public footpath down the edge of the field with the stone wall on our right, heading down towards Commondale Beck.

Stile on the footpath down to the beck
Stile on the footpath down to the beck

Ladder stile to some scrubland by the beck
Ladder stile to some scrubland by the beck

Footbridge over Commondale Beck
Footbridge over Commondale Beck

Crossing the marshy land from the footbridge towards the pedestrian crossing of the railway
Crossing the marshy land from the footbridge towards the pedestrian crossing of the railway

Nearing the railway crossing
Nearing the railway crossing

We crossed the railway after the deisel train had passed
We crossed the railway after the diesel train had passed

Gate to the bridleway on the access track along the valley
Gate to the bridleway on the access track along the valley

Once the line was clear we crossed the line and crossed the stile on the other side. Over the stile we turned right and after a few metres we began climbing up the hillside to the two gate posts we could just see on the skyline to our left. We followed the public footpath up through the gateway we had seen from below and then across the next small field to a gate onto and access track. At the access track we turned right to follow a public bridleway along the access track back towards Castleton.

We could see the railway line about 50m away with the signs at a pedestrian level crossing and we walked the 50m across the marshy land to the stile on to the railway. We crossed the stile and then stopped at the sound of the horn from a set of diesel coaches approaching from our left. After a few moments the two-coach train flashed by above us and quickly disappeared along the track. I was surprised how quiet the train was, even as it passed us there was no loud noise.

Stile at the pedestrian railway crossing
Stile at the pedestrian railway crossing

Start of the climb up the hill on our left to the track above
Start of the climb up the hill on our left to the track above

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We turned left & followed the track along the valley

A short wooded section of the track along the valley
A short wooded section of the track along the valley

Approaching a junction in the track
Approaching a junction in the track

The track climbed over a little rise giving us a fine view
The track climbed over a little rise giving us a fine view

We continued along the track down the valley of Commondale Beck, past a memorial seat with a fresh Christmas wreath fixed to it. Beyond the seat the track climbed up a short rise giving us a fine view over the valley.

After about 150m along the access track we entered a short wooded section of the track and then dropped down to a junction in the track where there were a couple of farms and I think some holiday cottages.

Christmas wreath on a memorial seat by the track
Christmas wreath on a memorial seat by the track

Continuing along the valley on the access track
Continuing along the valley on the access track

Looking across the valley of Commondale Beck from the access track to Thornhill Farm on the hill opposite
Looking across the valley of Commondale Beck from the access track to Thornhill Farm on the hill opposite

Following the access track past Box Hall
Following the access track past Box Hall

Making our way along the valley from Box Hall
Making our way along the valley from Box Hall

After about 500m from Box Hall there was a cattle grid and gateway for livestock across the track. We paused here to look back along the valley in the winter sunshine, but it felt more like a warm spring day than winter.

It was a very pretty walk along the track and about 1km from the junction in the track that we had passed earlier, we came to the little cluster of buildings at Box Hall. Beyond Box Hall the track began to climb gently up the valley side.

Making our way along the valley from Box Hall
Making our way along the valley from Box Hall

The valley of Commondale Beck seen from the access track
The valley of Commondale Beck seen from the access track

Cattle grid & livestock gate across the track as we neared the road above Castleton
Cattle grid & livestock gate across the track as we neared the road above Castleton

Approaching the road above Castleton
Approaching the road above Castleton

Passing the Castleton boundary sign
Passing the Castleton boundary sign

Following the road under the railway
Following the road under the railway

Across the bridge we were back at our parking spot and the end of our walk. The whole route had been just a little over 6km and it had taken us almost two and a half hours to walk at my usual snails pace.

We continued along the access track for another 150m to the road at map ref. NZ 681 087. We walked along the verge on the right hand side of the road back into Castleton. We followed the road under the railway bridge and over the road bridge over the River Esk.

Heading down the road towards Castleton
Heading down the road towards Castleton

Following the road down to the River Esk in Castleton
Following the road down to the River Esk in Castleton

Crossing the bridge over the River Esk
Crossing the bridge over the River Esk

Looking back to the bridge over the River Esk from our parking spot at the end of our walk
Looking back to the bridge over the River Esk from our parking spot at the end of our walk

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