Friday 15th February 2002

Weather: Dry & sunny - a lovely day for February


Today's Walk: Bank Foot Farm - Ingleby Incline - Greenhow Moor - Turkey Nab ( 7 miles )



Today's walk starts and ends about a mile from Ingleby Greenhow village at Bank Foot Farm ( Grid Ref. 592 062 )

There are ample parking spaces on the grass verges at the side of the old rail track

 

We set off in a southerly direction along the straight, flat track that was once a busy industrial railway
enjoying extensive views of the northern escarpment of the Cleveland Hills

The line originally ran from Battersby Junction to the bottom of Ingleby Incline, and then from the top of
the Incline, on across the moors to West Rosedale Bank Top, a total distance of 14 miles.
The line was opened on 27th March, 1861.

 

In his excellent book 'The Walker's Guide to the Cleveland Hills', Tom Scott Burns tells us:

"One could never imagine an evil deed ever being committed within the quiet hamlet of Bank Foot, yet under the
sheltering gaze of Turkey Nab a callous deed was committed on the night of Friday the 3rd October 1924. In the
modest railway cottage at the incline foot, Hannah Ward (pictured above) and her younger brother waited long and
patiently for their father's return from the Dudley Arms pub at Ingleby Greenhow. Fearing something may have
happened to her father, Hannah called at their neighbour's, Medd Carpenter. With candle-lantern in hand, Medd
stepped out into the blackness to appease Hannah's fears. A brief search, and then a trail of blood was followed
to a haystack near Bank Foot where the partially-concealed body of Frank Ward lay dead. The police called the
following morning at Poultry House Crossing, the home of Jerry Dalton, near Bank Foot Farm. His wife said he had
left the house to check some rabbit snares. In the process of scouring hedgerows and fields in the immediate area,
police discovered Dalton with a self-inflicted wound slumped in a culvert. Dalton was convicted for the brutal
murder and robbery of his best friend Frank Ward, and subsequently hanged for his crime."

 

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About a mile from Bank Foot Farm still stands the small row of cottages where Hannah Ward waited in vain
- originally railway worker's homes, then abandoned, they are now renovated and occupied by forestry workers

 

.

Just past the cottages we reach the bottom of Ingleby Incline - 1430 yards in length, ascending 700 ft,
to Incline Top on Greenhow Moor on a gradient starting at 1 in 11 attaining a maximum of 1 in 5

 

This is how Ingleby Incline looked in it's heyday - wagons (usually three) were hauled up by steel ropes,
1650 yards long, which passed around 14ft brake drums at the top, descending wagons with their loads of iron ore,
drawing up a set of empty ones. The journey normally took three minutes at a speed of about 20 mph.

There were catch-points installed near the top and bottom to direct runaway wagons - accidents were not infrequent
despite extensive care in operation and photographs of some of the incidents can be seen at
Railways Around Ingleby

Note on the above photo some people sitting on the trucks - although it was strictly against the 'rules' to ride on them,
it is well known that some of the people who lived in the railway cottages at the top of the Incline, and some workers,
risked this method of travel rather than take the tiresome walk to the top

 

.

From near the top we can see just what a marvellous feat of engineering construction the Incline was
- deep cuttings were carved through massive rocks and boulders in places

The view north is across the Cleveland Plain towards Teesside

 

Today I enjoyed the company of three of my old school pals, Dave Wright, Nigel Goode and Bob Barton
- obviously relieved at reaching the top, here they are rewarded with fine views west towards the Cleveland Hills

 

There are still reminders up there of the old ruined drum house...

 

...and what's left of other stone buildings and cottages

 

This is the scene at Incline Top during its working days - there was the drum house, workshops and four cottages
- the drum house was finally dismantled in 1941

Due to its exposed site on Greenhow Moor, this place was known as 'Siberia' to the locals!

 

From Incline Top we continue along the old trackbed for about another mile to Bloworth Crossing (Grid Ref. 616 015)
- Bloworth (Blowith) Crossing was where the railway line crossed a rough road known as Rudland Rigg, which ran from
Kirbymoorside to Stokesley - the crossing was 'manned' during its working years and the 'gate-keepers' and their
families lived in the house above known as Blowith Cottage. The last people to occupy the cottage were
Harold Bailey and his family and a Mr Atkinson, until the railway officially closed on 13th June, 1929.

 

Today, there is little remaining evidence at the site of the cottage - only a few stones laid scattered about.

It's at this point where we leave the railway line and join the Cleveland Way, turning to walk in a north-westerly direction

 

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A few hundred yards along the track we come to a prominent pair of standing stones

Clearly carved on the south-east face of the tall stone is...

F
1838

...I assume it's a boundary stone, the F referring to the Feversham family estate
On the north-west side is carved...

SIR
W
FOWEL

...of which I know nothing - perhaps someone can send me more information.

 

About a mile further on, a short detour off the track brings us to Burton Howe (Grid Ref. 608 033)

"The Bronze Age tumulus of Burton Howe is reached at a height of 1,419 feet (433m). These turf barrows
were constructed about 4500-1400 BC on a grassy heath in a forest clearing. Some of the structures contain
coffins or cists, usually in the centre of the barrow, others contain the cremated ashes in clay urns. The majority
of the tumuli are situated upon high ridges: was it to placate the free spirit of the dead, did sun worship play an
important part in their religion, or were these convenient guides or boundary markers?"

 

.

A bit further on, and just off to the east of the track is a 'hand stone', quite common on these moors
- on the west face of this one is carved:

TO
INGLE
BY
AND
STOX
LEY

...with underneath a carved hand pointing south in the direction of Stokesley - and on the east face:

TO
KIRBY
AND
HEM
SLEY

1757

On top of some of these stones, travellers would leave a few pennies for those in more desperate need,
a tradition still practiced today

 

Huge boulders are scattered along the western slopes of Greenhow Bank, many standing at precarious angles

Tom Scott Burns had told me previously of a shelter he once found under one of these rocks, and after a search...

 

...I think this might be it - the boulder forms a natural roof whilst the dry stone front is obviously man-made

 

Dave and Nigel take a closer inspection of the 'shelter' - Dave crawled in and reckoned there was room
enough for three, or maybe four people at a squeeze - I followed, agreed, and then quickly retreated!

The weather can soon close in on you up here, so as the saying goes, "Any port in a storm..."

 

Continuing north along the track, we leave the Cleveland Way at Grid Ref. 602 050 where we bear left to descend
to Turkey Nab with good views of Roseberry Topping and Captain Cook's Monument on Easby Moor straight ahead.
The track continues to twist down Ingleby Bank, then through forest, back to our starting point at Bank Foot Farm.

In 1932 a superb little volume by Alfred J. Brown was published under the title 'Tramping In Yorkshire''
in which Brown describes the joys of walking this often wind-blown ridge...

"The wonderful old road holds steadfastly to the crest and points straight at the last stalwarts of the Clevelands
- Roseberry Topping and 'Monument' Hill - ahead; and they seem so near in the clear air that you might imagine
you could leap over to them, but you would need the broom of Old Dolly Makin to do it! Yet even the longest ridge
must come to an end, and suddenly the road twists, hesitates, and takes the plunge gloriously down Turkey Nab.
The Cleveland county is full of 'Nabs', but Turkey Nab will take some beating..."



location map


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