North York Moors CAM


Sunday 1st July 2001

Weather: Mainly cloudy but warm

Today's Walk: Sutton Bank - Cold Kirby - Nettle Dale - Whitestone Cliff

( 9 miles )


Today's walk begins and ends at the Sutton Bank National Park Centre (Grid Ref: 516 831)



Leaving the car park in an easterly direction, cross the Cleave Dyke using the little wooden footbridge
then turn left on the footpath (signposted Hambleton House), following the edge of the forest.
Keep to the track until the signpost (above left) where a fallen tree offers no other option than
to continue following the directions left and through a young plantation



 On meeting a wider track turn left and soon you'll reach the entrance to the racing stables at Hambleton House (above)

Hambleton House has a special place in the history of British horseracing
- it is the highest training centre in Great Britain and is one of the oldest.

In 1740 an Act of Parliament decreed that racing could only take place at Hambleton, York and Newmarket.
Hambleton ceased to be a racecourse in 1755 but there are still signs of it if you know where to look - the present occupant,
Les Eyre, still utilisies parts of the old course which boasts some of the finest natural training gallops in Europe.
In 1997, 'Far Ahead', trained by Les, was a very popular local winner of the Ebor Handicap at the Knavesmire, York


You will notice from the signposts that you are now on part of the Cleveland Way as you pass to the right of the farm

As you can see from the above photograph, many of our countryside footpaths are fast becoming overgrown
through lack of use due to the Foot & Mouth epidemic - fortunately for us, today's paths are clear


About a mile past Hambleton House we arrive at the pretty stone cottages in the picturesque village of Cold Kirby

Continuing along the road through Cold Kirby we follow the path down through a small valley then up the other side
before joining Low Field Lane which leads us straight and gently downhill towards Nettle Dale . . .


. . . passing fields of potatoes - reminding me well of the back-breaking days of ' tatie picking ' in my youth . . .
( 10-bob-a-day, a bucket full of ' taties', and a ride back to the farm on a tractor and trailer )


Further down the lane the countryside is a joy to behold

The typical English landscape of the Hambleton Hills has changed greatly over the years
- there was a gradual decline in drystone walls and hedges as the tractor replaced the horse and plough

The National Park is keen to conserve the mosaic of fields and boundaries and works closely with local farmers
- grants are available to maintain and repair the walls and hedges to ensure this unique landscape remains special



At the bottom of the lane we are warned of the danger of adders as we enter the forested area of Nettle Dale
( by the way, we never saw any sign of them, adders that is, there were plently of nettles though . . . )


At this point ( Grid Ref: 552 848 ) where recently sheared sheep graze in peace we turn sharp left . . .


. . . and follow the forest track in a north-westerly direction for about a mile

The gradual climb up the track and out of the forest is the only strenuous part of the walk


As we emerge from Nettle Dale, then so does the sun from behind the clouds

Nowadays, the fields of the Hambleton Hills have cereals and grassland growing in them
- in the middle ages the scene would have been much different as the monks from the great abbeys
of nearby Rievaulx and Byland established pastures for their flocks of sheep


From Nettle Dale we walk a short distance along a narrow surfaced road before crossing a stile to our right
and then taking a bridleway across the edge of three fields of cereal crops before emerging onto another quiet country road, Wethercote Lane, turning left and following it in a westerly direction, for about a mile, passing Wethercote Farm

At a T-junction, we turn left for about 200 yards along 'Cleveland Road' then right along another bridleway past disused quarries


As we near the western escarpment of the Hambleton Hills we look north to familiar landmarks for Cleveland Way walkers
- on the left between the trees is High Barn and further right, in the far distance, lies High Paradise Farm


On reaching the edge of the escarpment we turn left (south) onto the Cleveland Way path
enjoying wonderful views to the west across the Vale of Mowbray towards Thirsk and the Pennines

Here we get our first glimpse of Whitestone Cliff and in the distance, Hood Hill


A couple of hundred yards further on and we get our first glimpse of Gormire Lake
where we enjoyed
a lovely walk last September


From the edge of Whitestone Cliff - another view of Gormire Lake


Finally, a little further along, we enjoy the view south to Roulston Scar and Hood Hill

From this point it was only a few hundred yards back to the start of our walk at Sutton Bank Information Centre


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