Wednesday 7th August 2002

Weather: Mainly fair but always a threat of thunder and rain...


Today's Walk: Pinchinthorpe - Eston Nab

( 9 miles - Moderate )


 

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Today's walk starts at the Pinchinthorpe Visitor's Centre (Grid Ref. 584 153) near Guisborough.

Begin by following the old railway track in an easterly direction towards Hutton Gate...

 

...soon passing these ponds to your left - there's a nearby seat to sit quietly and observe the varied wildlife.

 

Near this 'hide', turn left and follow the path to a pleasant housing estate - make your way through the estate...

 

. .

...before emerging at The Avenue - turn left and follow the pavement to the Voyager pub - but don't be tempted, it's too early!

Turn right at the Voyager and follow the road to a set of traffic lights, then turn left along a pavement and then a grass verge
until reaching a roundabout at the end of a busy dual-carriageway. Cross over carefully to the other side and go left along
the grass verge for a couple of hundred yards before turning right near a layby along the 'old road' (Grid Ref. 597 158).

(The traffic on this short part of the walk is usually busy but is unavoidable to get to our destination - just take care.)

 

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About 200 yards further on, turn right and follow a surfaced access road (above left looking back to Guisborough)
- the track enters a small forest (Park Wood) then eventually emerges near Poplar Farm (Grid Ref. 585 170).

 

Continue along the track, bearing west to the left of the farm alongside fields.

The view above is looking back south-east towards Gisborough Moor and Highcliff Nab, with the threat of a
thunderstorm looming in from the east - we could clearly hear it but were lucky enough not to catch it.

 

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At the rusty gate above (Grid Ref. 578 172) turn left and follow a winding track between fields then along a lane...

 

...eventually reaching the former site of Barnaby village and Upsall Pit - nowadays a place of peace and beauty.

There's very little evidence remaining of the two rows of cottages, chapel and schoolroom, built in 1871,
which once stood here and served the hardy villagers and miners.

"Bolckow, Vaughan & Co operated this ironstone mine from 1866 to 1929, then the workings were taken over by
Dorman Long & Co till 1945. The shaft here was 564 feet (172m) deep - the fourth deepest of all the Cleveland mines
- although only a small quantity of ore was taken to the surface and stored at the pit top. At a later date the dumped ore
was taken back down the shaft, to be unloaded from the 'Trustee' drift entrance further north. The Upsall shaft was only
used thereafter for access/egress and for ventilation and pumping. In all, 63 million tons of iron ore was extracted from
beneath these hills over ninety-nine years of working from 1850 until 1949. Provisions were brought in for the small
community of Barnaby village via the underground railway and lift shaft to the surface."

(From 'The Walker's Guide to the Cleveland Hills' by Tom Scott Burns)

 

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Passing further evidence of the mine in the form of a shale tip to your right, at a junction keep right and continue to
head north then north-west across the expanse of Eston Moor following a good, clear track which leads gently uphill.

 

The view here is looking back south towards Roseberry Topping and the distant Cleveland Hills
- from the look of it, anyone on those hills might be getting wet...!

 

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Soon, a tall TV mast, covered with an array of aerial dishes, dominates the horizon - however, much more interesting
and mystifying is the stone pillar seen slightly further on and to the left.

 

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At an altitude of 793 feet (242m), with superb views across Teesside, Eston Nab Monument (Grid Ref. 568 183)
is all that is left of a former beacon tower, first constructed in 1808 during the Napoleonic wars with France.

 

"This Napoleonic watchtower overlooking Teesside was once a familiar landmark to crowds of pleasure seekers from
Middlesbrough and the surrounding district who ventured onto the Eston Hills. Here we see an Edwardian picnic party
at the Beacon enjoying the clean air of the moors and extensive views at this vantage point.

The sandstone tower was erected at an altitude of 793 feet on Eston Nab by Thomas Jackson of Lackenby in 1808 to
give shelter to those who kept watch for the French invaders. When the hostilities had ceased in 1815, it continued to
be used as a dwelling place. In 1933, a stockily built man in his eightieth year called Mr Ellam had lived here for 49 years,
of which 30 had been spent working in the Eston ironstone mines.

Dave Helm and his wife proceeded in the steps of Mr Ellam, acting as keeper for the Wilton estate. With an old nag
for transport, he would descend once a week in fair weather or foul for provisions in Eston. When he died, relays of
strong bearers carried him down the steep pathway along the same route he'd so often trod with his pony.

When the tower was finally demolished in 1956, after surviving the storms and blasting gales for more than 150 years,
ICI erected from the stony ruins a pillar monument, which incidentally overloooks an iron age fort."

('Round and About the North Yorkshire Moors Vol II' - Tom Scott Burns)

 

The view north-east from Eston Nab towards the coast - part of Lazenby village and the Wilton ICI complex
can be seen (left) with the tree-dotted Wilton golf course nearer the centre of the photograph.

 

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The view north-west over Eston towards Teesside - the River Tees can just be seen (top left) through the haze.

 

From Eston Nab, follow the escarpment path south-west passing Carr Pond - a host to much fauna and flora.

 

At this junction of paths (Grid Ref. 559 170), where you've arrived from the top left, turn almost back on
yourself and follow the track (above right) through trees - the main track today soon became very boggy but
there is a drier, narrower path, just to the right of the main route, by a stone wall, and easy to follow...

 

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...eventually emerging near the stile (above left) at Grid Ref. 566 170, where you turn right and follow fieldside paths
heading almost dead south towards the unmistakeable landmark of Roseberry Topping, approx 2 miles distant.

 

Continue on down the pleasant paths, ignoring any other tracks, keeping the hedgerows to your right,
until you emerge over a stile onto the busy A171 dual carriageway near the Cross Keys Inn.

Cross straight over, taking great care, to another stile at the far side, then continue straight on for about a further
of a mile along more field paths, this time with the hedges on your left, until you reach a disused railway track.

 

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Turn left at Grid Ref. 568 152 along this lovely track, once the main Middlesbrough to Guisborough railway route...

 

...enjoying the superb views south, dominated by Roseberry Topping.

 

Above is a photograph of Pinchinthorpe Station before its closure in 1951.

"The old railway track was initially run to serve mining interests at Hutton of the Pease family of Hutton Hall,
and was opened for mineral traffic on the 1st November 1853. It was not until the 25th February of the following
year that a passenger service was introduced, which provided one train each way per day from
Guisborough to Middlesbrough, second class travel costing 2d (1p) a mile."

('The Walker's Guide to the Cleveland Hills' - Tom Scott Burns)

 

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The building, above left and looking back, is the original station dating from the late 1850's.

Just beyond, you pass through a couple of gates to arrive back at your starting point - Pinchinthorpe Visitor's Centre.


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