Thursday 3rd January 2002

Weather: Freezing Cold

Today's Walk: Pinchinthorpe - Highcliff Nab - Gisborough Moor - Hanging Stone ( 9 miles )

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

There are many marked walks of varying distance from here, though we were following our own route today


After following the disused railway track for a mile or so in a south-easterly direction and through part of the forest,
we continue along a track, crossing a couple of fields with the heights of Highcliff Nab visible in the far distance



On the way to Hutton Village, we pass the weathered buildings of Home Farm



We continue through Hutton Village and up a steep forest track where we meet these horseriders coming down


This photograph of Hutton Village was taken around 1900 - the village was built in the 1850's.

Naturally sheltered by the surrounding forested hills, it was formerly called Codhill (from the moors above the village)
- most of the dwellings were inhabited by miners and estate workers.
In 1861 the population was 271, of which 50 were men employed as miners.
Included in the community was a school and Mission Hall built by the Pease family, who were lords of the manor.

The house in the photo above this one is the same one on the extreme right of the old photograph
and the track across the foreground is the road we followed on our walk into the forest.
There are many newer and grander houses in the present day village,
although personally I prefer it as it was in the old days - almost Alpine-like.
Highcliff Nab (then bare of trees) can just be seen in the top centre of the above photo



There are several reminders of past industry, such as this man-made cascade and an exposed seam of ironstone


From halfway up, a break in the trees gives us a good view north-west over to Eston Moor...


...before a short, stiff climb takes us up to the Jurassic sandstone nab of Highcliff

( After recent surgery, my legs by now feel like jelly and I'm shattered...! )


Stan, Jim and Luke stand silhouetted on Highcliff Nab...


...looking north-east out over Guisborough, the 'ancient capital town of Cleveland'


Descending from the Nab, we look south-east over remote Highcliff Farm and beyond to Great Ayton Moor



For a few short yards we join the Cleveland Way, but then head off south towards a prominent cairn on Codhill Heights


On arriving at the cairn ( Grid Ref. 614 127 ), Jim and Stan do some quick repairs...


...and we leave it in excellent condition, here looking north back towards Highcliff Wood

On my last three visits to this cairn, I have seen a pair of Wheatears flitting among the heather and stones
- unfortunately, today it's too early in the year for these beautiful summer immigrant birds


From Codhill Heights we descend to Sleddale Slack (from the old English slaed, meaning a wide, flat valley)
then follow the farm access track up onto Kildale Moor

Sleddale Farm is one of the remotest on these moors, you can just see it near the centre of the photo


Turning right onto Percy Cross Rigg we soon arrive at a ' fenced-off ' area, with Codhill Heights beyond

Here are the remains of three remarkable Iron Age hut circles (Grid Ref. 610 116)
- they were excavated by the late Roland Close of Kildale from 1962-68 and were dated at 800 BC to AD 70.
From the remains of pottery, nine stone saddle querns (implements for crushing grain), and a beehive quern
which were found during the excavation, it is certain that the inabitants were farmers
who had occupied the site for a long time

Maybe you can just make out the curve of one of the stone bases of the huts on the left of the photograph


Further on along the road we pass the ' stump ' remains of Percy Cross just before reaching a metal gate

Passing through the gate, we follow a track as it curves left-handed across Great Ayton Moor
enjoying a fine view south-east across Lonsdale (above) where the sun almost got out



There's a good view south-west to Easby Moor with Captain Cook's Monument prominent on the horizon
before we turn sharp right and join the Cleveland Way path again...


...soon enjoying a lovely view of the eastern slopes of Roseberry Topping, Cleveland's own ' Matterhorn '


A look back south along the Cleveland Way track - Captain Cook's Monument is still visible on the horizon



At Grid Ref. 588 128 we leave the Cleveland Way and head north-east towards Hanging Stone Wood
walking almost parallel with a drystone wall on our left, enjoying more views of Roseberry Topping to the west



Leaving the main forestry track at Grid Ref. 591 133, we follow a dark, narrow path through the trees...


...before emerging with a glorious surprise view across to Guisborough and, on a clearer day, the distant North Sea
- here, it's time for a well-earned snack and a welcome hot cuppa

The Hanging Stone is a massive sandstone platform which juts out from the ridge
- it was probably part of some old quarry at one time and not where people met their end with their neck in a noose!


From Hanging Stone Wood we descend steeply down to a forestry track which we follow through
Bousdale Wood and eventually back to our starting point, enjoying this last look over the fields to Highcliff Nab

location map

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