Thursday 27th June 2002

Weather: Mainly fair, then rain and a hailstorm


Today's Walk: Hole of Horcum - Bridestones - Malo Cross

( 9 miles - Fairly Easy )


 

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Today's walk starts at Saltergate car park (Grid Ref: 853937) by the side of the A169 Whitby to Pickering road.

After crossing the road there are superb views down into the Hole Of Horcum.

The Hole of Horcum is a vast, 400ft deep natural hollow measuring of a mile across.
It has been naturally eroded over thousands of years by the action of springs, though a more romantic
legend tells us that it was created when a giant named Wade, who was in fact a Saxon chief,
grabbed a 'handful' of earth to throw at his wife, Bell - the soil missed its target and landed to form
the 800ft high hill of Blakey Topping which lies about a mile to the east and which we'll see later in the walk.

 

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After crossing the road, take the path that runs along the top of the ridge to the right and follow it until you reach a ladder stile - cross the stile and follow the steep path down to the valley bottom, soon passing the disused ruins of Low Horcum Farm.

 

At the bottom of the lush, green valley flows Levisham Beck, fed by several smaller streams that flow down the hillsides.

 

At Grid Ref. 843 929 leave the valley by crossing a stile and follow the track up through a plantation of trees
known as Horcum Slack - at the top bear right across a field, then left across three more fields before reaching
Warren Farm at Grid Ref. 849 910. Follow the farm access track to the main road then carefully cross straight over
and follow the path near a disused quarry - then follow the footpath sign to 'David Lane'.

 

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Turn left along the lane - it's quiet and pleasant walking along here, enjoying the rural scenery.

 

Soon you arrive at Mount Pleasant Farm - continue along the lane as it bends right for another a mile.

 

At Grid Ref. 862 905 turn left and follow a good access track down to idyllic Low Pasture Farm.

 

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Continue on past the farm and down to the valley bottom, crossing a small stream via stepping stones.
Bear left after the stream and head towards wooded Dove Dale and a National Trust sign for 'Bridestones'.

 

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Follow the narrow path uphill through the trees - soon you'll see a number of large, weird-shaped 'stones' on the ridge opposite.

 

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The path eventually leads you to the huge, weathered boulders known as the 'Bridestones' - we arrived in drizzle.

 

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There are many such-named boulders on the North York Moors - some believe their name is associated with
ancient fertility rites, others that they are derived from the Norse for 'edge' or 'brink'. 60,000 years of wind, rain and frost
have weathered these groups of siliceous sandstone rocks into their astonishing present day formations.
Look long enough and you will no doubt see a 'facial' or 'animal' feature in their shape.

 

In brighter weather, from the 'Bridestones' a narrow path leads north-east through low heather
until meeting a much wider track at Grid Ref. 877 915 - turn left and follow the track almost due north.

 

This is a wonderful ridge walk, enjoying superb views north-east towards the green hill of Blakey Topping,
formed as earlier mentioned by the giant Wade ( well, why not let's imagine so...! )

 

Looking further north beyond the bracken, the early warning radar station of Fylingdales comes into view.

 

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Where the track meets a concrete road at Grid Ref. 865 934, turn right and downhill towards Newgate Foot Farm.
Just before the farm buildings cross a stile through a wall to the left and follow the path along the valley bottom.

( We walked straight into a heavy hailstorm which only lasted a few minutes but certainly left us wet! )

At the northern end of the valley you arrive at Malo Cross (Grid Ref. 867 949)

 

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Malo Cross stands near the base of a steep little escarpment known as Whinny Nab about 1 mile east of Saltergate.
An ancient Pannierman's Road leads north east from Malo Cross to Lilla Cross, about 3 miles distant.

Malo Cross, like Mauley Cross, is named after the de Mauley family who lived at Mulgrave Castle, near Sandsend.
Carved on its north-east head are the initials K with R E beneath - Sir Richard Egerton (Knight).

"In 1619 records of the Duchy of Lancaster details of a cross erested near Whinny Nab in the Tabular Hills
are mentioned in connection with an alleged violation of The Laws governing the royal deer forest of Pickering,
which states 'In the years 1619 and 1621 various matters including charge of trespass and encroachment were
submitted for the consideration of the jury, who found '. . . that Sir Richard Egerton Kt hath made divers enclosures,
about Blackhowe being in the heart of the Forest, and hath set or caused to be set up on Whynny Neb
new bounderstone with a cross' . . ."

(From 'An Illustrated Guide to the Crosses on the North Yorkshire Moors' by Elizabeth Ogilvie & Audrey Sleightholme)

In the latter part of the 19th century the cross disappeared, but it was found in 1924 in a garden in Pickering and was returned
to its original position, possibly accounting for the signs that the cross has at one time been damaged and repaired.

 

From Malo Cross follow a track heading west up the slopes of Whinney Nab - from the top
there's a fine view south-east towards Blakey Topping and south to Newgate Brow and the ridge track.

 

From near the same spot - the view north to Fylingdales Early Warning Radar Station.

 

Continue along the track as it follows the edge of Saltergate Brow, with fine views east to Saltergate Inn,
Levisham Moor and Newton Dale beyond.

The track leads to a small plantation and then back to the car park where you started the walk.

 

location map



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