Walk No.2 Goathland, Wheeldale, Simon Howe Circuit - 9 km (6 miles)

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Note, Route No. 37 in my walking diary is a longer version of this walk with photos and an OS route map

This description gives enough information to find the intended route of the walk on a suitable map. When used with the map the description should help you to find the route and enjoy the things of interest along the way. For this walk I suggest that you use the Ordnance Survey Outdoor Leisure Map 27 which covers the North York Moors, Eastern Area at a scale of 1 :25000. Please do not try to find your way without a proper map.

The walk is a circular route of about 9 km. and should take about 3 hours of steady walking plus any stops you make along the way. There are a few hills and in some places you will need to pick your way through the rocks beside the West Beck. You will need strong footwear (preferably walking boots) and the usual safety precautions for this outdoor activity.

My description of the route starts at map reference NZ 828007. This is a grassy area in front of the church at the south western end of Goathland village. This whole area has been made very popular with visitors by the "Heartbeat" TV series but it's usually possible to park here to start the walk. If you prefer there is a car park about one kilometre away at the northern end of the village and there are public toilet facilities there too.

Opposite the church is the Mallyan Spout Hotel and next to it there is the Prudom House Tea Rooms. Take the footpath between the hotel and the tea rooms. The path descends steeply down the valley side to the West Beck. When you reach the beck turn left (that's to go upstream) and after about 200m. you will see the Mallyan Spout waterfall on your left. The waterfall is on a small side stream, not on the main river. There is not usually a great volume of water coming over the falls. Instead the water drops in a fine spray creating quite a pretty effect with the moss covered rocks.

Follow the pretty wooded West Beck valley upstream. In places the path is rocky and a jumble of small boulders has to be negotiated whilst in other parts the path is quite muddy. After just over one kilometre you will reach a road. Turn left here up the hill for about 150m. to a point where the road is climbing steeply at a sharp bend. Here turn right down a farm access track. Along the track there are home made signs which the farmer hopes will keep walkers on the path which leads off the track to a footbridge over the West Beck. After the bridge the path continues upstream passing in front of a pretty cottage and across a field beside the beck.

At the end of this field the path turns up hill away from the beck through a wooded strip (about 150m.) and into another field. The path follows the field boundary up the hill to a wall at the top of the field. Here turn left through the next field (150m.) and then right (150m.) to a road. At the road turn left and continue for 300m. to a path on the right climbing gently up across the moor. After about 300m. on this path keep to the left ( not on the well defined vehicle track which contours round the hill). Our path drops down the hill passing just outside the field boundary to the road at the ford. There are usually a few cars parked here with picnickers enjoying this pleasant setting.

There is a footbridge to cross the stream and then follow the road for about 500m. up the hill to a gate on the left. Go through the gate and follow the contour round the hill because the path is not very well defined through this field but if you keep at the same height all the way you should not have any difficulty. After about 600m. you will reach the Roman Road. Turn right along the Roman Road. Its worth exploring along it for some distance. The large foundation stones are all that is left now. The flat paved surface has long since been used by later generations for building and this has exposed the layers of small stones beneath to erosion by the weather, but the foundation is still there after 2000 years. The camber on the road for drainage into the ditches on each side can be seen clearly. It's not hard to imagine this well maintained paved road with its traffic of trading carts, packhorses and military units all going about their business with just the same kind of concerns and enjoyments as we have but all that time ago.

From the Roman Road take the path that descends straight down the hillside to the stepping stones across Wheeldale Beck. This path is part of the Lyke Wake Walk, a route of some 65km. from Osmotherly to Ravenscar across the width of the North York Moors. It was started in the early 1960's by Bill Cowley, who died last year(1995) as a challenge to walkers to complete the route in less than 24 hours. Many thousands of walkers took up the challenge in the 1960's and 70's but the route is much less popular to-day.

Cross over the stepping stones and continue up the hill for about 2km. to Simon Howe. The howe is an ancient burial mound that pre-dates the Roman occupation of Britain by many hundreds of years. From Simon Howe head north for about 500m. and then north west for another kilometre to Two Howes (twin burial mounds as the name suggests). Continue along the path to the north west to a small tarn (called "The Tarn" on the map). It seems to be a duck flight pond used to attract wild fowl for shooting. From the tarn follow the path down into Goathland (about 800m.) to complete this circular walk.
I hope you enjoy this walk so much that you'll want to try another one as soon as you can.

Happy wandering! Frank