Walk No.4 Hole of Horcum, Lockton, Bridestones Circuit - 16km

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

See also Route No. 29 in my walking diary for 1 January 2002

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 16 km. and should take about 5 hours of steady walking plus any stops you make along the way. There are a few steep climbs out of the valleys and in some places you will need to pick your way through the muddy bits. 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 SE 853937.This is the car park on the A169 Pickering to Whitby road at the view point overlooking the Hole of Horcum. From the car park follow the main road north. The road at once turns west going steeply down hill. (Opposite the car park there is a path to the left of the road and below it so you can walk alongside the road with all the traffic out of sight).After 300m. from the car park there is a hairpin bend in the main road. At the hairpin bend take the track heading west through a gate. (Be careful, there is a path heading north over a style and a track heading south down into the Hole of Horcum.) Our track stays on top of the moor.

After about 1.5 km. the track passes Seavy pond, and after another 1.5 km. it reaches Dundale pond. For much of the way there is a deep ditch and bank alongside the track. About half a km. past Seavy pond there is a small plaque on a stone beside the track which explains that the ditch and bank are the remains of a protective earthwork built about 2000 years ago by the local iron age tribe. At Dundale Pond there is a similar plaque which says that the land was given to the monks of Malton Priory in 1230 and the pond was built then to water their cattle and sheep.

From the signpost at Dundale pond take the path down Dundale Griff (heading east) for about one km. to another signpost at the 'T'-junction in the path. Here turn south towards Levisham and Lockton. The path climbs up the valley side and contours along some distance below the valley rim. The views here are very pretty looking both ways along this wooded valley. After about 1.3 km. the path turns west running along the valley side just below a large flat field. At the end of the field there is a group of trees and here you have to double back sharply onto a path which cuts diagonally down the hillside heading east. Keep on going down until the path crosses the stream.

Follow the path up Wedland Slack to the road at the eastern end of Lockton village. This path from the stream crossing to the road is pretty muddy most of the time. At the road turn left and head east towards the A169 main road. Cross the main road and go through the field gate opposite. (There is a public footpath marker post by the gate). Keep next to the fence accross the field to a track heading north east down through some woods. After about 250 m. at the bottom of the slope the track bears right, heading east and climbing slowly. After another 400m. the track emerges from the woods into a more open area climbing quite steeply to a gate onto a farm road at the top.

Stay on this farm road heading north east for about 0.5 km. to the farm road on the right to Low Pasture Farm. Go along this road past Low Pasture Farm . The sign at the start of the road says 'Private Road' but you can walk along it and you will see a National Trust sign about the 'Bridestones' a few metres along the road. After the farm the road bears left (heading north east) and drops down through some woods to a house and out buildings called Low Staindale. Leave the farm road and pass in front of Low Staindale. Once past the buildings climb a few metres up the bank to a track. Follow the track north east for about 200 m. and cross the stream on the stepping stones. Accross the stream turn sharp left and go through the gate into the National Trust area to head north.

After about 300m. the path is paved with sandstone cobbles and begins to climb steeply up the end of a hill called Needle Point toward the High Bride Stones. As you climb the hill you can see the Low Bride Stones ahead of you on the ridge across the valley to your right (Bridestone Griff).The High Bride Stones are about 200m. along the path after you reach the top of the hill. At this point the path turns right to cross the head of the valley (Bridestone Griff) on a small footbridge, and there are steps and a timber hand rail up the other side ( it's not much of a climb). At the top take the path on your left, doubleing back a bit to head north east across the moor to the edge of the forest. The start of the path may be a bit awkward to spot but once you are on it, it's well defined.

Where the path across the moor meets the edge of the forest there is a wide track. Turn left onto this track to head generally north west for about 3.5 km. to the A 169 main road. The track meets the main road about 150 m. north of the car park where the walk began. As you plod along the track about 2 km. from the main road there is a splendid view across the valley to the right with the unmistakeable conical shape of Blakey Topping. It seems oddly out of place and local legend has it that in the days of mythology the giant, Wade, arguing with his wife scooped up a handful of earth leaving behind the bowl called 'The Hole of Horcum'. He threw the earth at his wife and missed. You've guessed it already. Blakey Topping is the giant's handful of earth.
I hope you enjoy this walk so much that you'll want to try another one as soon as you can.

Happy wandering! Frank