North York Moors CAM
Friday 10th March 2000
Today's walk: Osmotherley & the old drovers' road (6 miles circular)
Tucked under the western edge of the North York Moors, Osmotherley (Grid Ref 456 972) offers many interesting and scenic walks. Old millls, an ancient chapel, tree-lined reservoirs and open moorland are only a short stroll away. Osmotherley is also a welcome resting place for walkers on The Cleveland Way
We start today's walk from the market cross and a stone table from where John Wesley is supposed to have preached his sermons and where, later in time, fish was sold on Sundays after church
We follow the route of the Cleveland Way, north up the main street before turning left along Ruebury Lane - here we look back south to the village from the lane with the high ground of Black Hambleton prominent (top left)
We continue along the Cleveland Way heading north past Siddle Farm towards Arncliff Wood where we also join the Coast To Coast Walk
A detour left at the entrance to Arncliff Wood takes you down a steep ¼ mile track to Mount Grace Priory - if you have time, a visit to the priory is highly recommended (allow 1-2 hours) but don't forget you have to climb back up the hill to rejoin the walk!
We gradually climb a pleasant path through evergreen and deciduous woodland until . . .
. . . we arrive at this monstrosity - the British Telecom microwave radio station
BT tell us that to help relay the ever increasing number of telephone messages, telecommunications data and TV signals, it is essential that their aerials are sited at high points and that they have kept the size of them to a minimum so as not to detract from the beauty of the National Park - fair enough, but I would have thought that they could have placed the site somewhere further and hidden away from the passing of two major long distance trails and close to the start of a third
Emerging from Arncliff Wood we enjoy splendid views east across Scarth Wood Moor towards the Cleveland Hills
We also join the The Lyke Wake Walk for the next ¾ mile
A little further on we look north-east and see the village of Swainby down below and can just make out Roseberry Topping on the distant horizon (top right)
At this point (Grid Ref. 471 003) just above Scarth Nick we leave the three major trails and turn south towards Cod Beck
Looking east, the rounded top of Whorl Hill is prominent (centre left) with the sharper features of Carlton Moor (centre right)
We arrive at the popular beauty spot of Cod Beck - known locally as 'Sheepwash'
From Cod Beck we climb up the old drovers' road (High Lane) and follow it south for the next 1½ miles
From the end of the 16th century to well into the 1800's, cattle were driven on foot from glens in the Scottish Highlands to the markets of East Anglia, the Midlands and London, by weather-hardened men known as drovers - an average of 15 miles a day was covered and this particular track took them onto the high-level route across the Hambleton Hills
Looking south from beside the drovers' road towards Chequers Farm (centre left) and the moors of Black Hambleton
Chequers Farm was once 'Chequers Inn' - whilst the drovers enjoyed the hospitality inside, their cattle took advantage of the excellent grazing facilities outside and around the inn
The original sign, which hung on the outside of the inn, is mounted in a glass case on the wall of the present building - inscribed on the sign are the words: "BE NOT IN HASTE, STEP IN AND TASTE, ALE TOMORROW FOR NOTHING"
The present farm provides tea rooms and a small shop for today's passers by
Just past Chequers we turn right and, faced with a threatening storm, head west for the last mile back towards Osmotherley
After walking downhill for ½ a mile we rejoin the Cleveland Way
Having passed by Oak Dale Reservoirs and White House Farm the Cleveland Way squeezes along this narrow path and alley back into the centre of the village of Osmotherley
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