Thursday 29th August 2002

Weather: Mainly cloudy but pleasant

Today's Walk: Fangdale Beck - Stork House - Roppa Crosses (North & South)

( 11 miles - Moderate )



Today's walk begins at the pretty hamlet of Fangdale Beck (Grid Ref. 569 947) about 9 miles north-west of Helmsley.

Set off along the quiet narrow road away from the village towards the main B1257 Stokesley to Helmsley road.



Near the road junction stands a green telephone box (above left), the cause of quite a dispute a few years ago.

The residents of the village were up in arms when British Telecom threatened to remove their old traditional
'one and only' telephone box and replace it with a new style phone box. After a hard fought campaign,
the locals won their battle with BT and were allowed to retain their unique telephone box.

Turn left at the road junction (Grid Ref. 573 947) and continue for about 250 yards along the edge of the main road
- take care, the traffic can get very busy during weekends and the holiday season.

Look for a footpath sign over the other side of the road and cross a stile through a gap in the hedge at Grid Ref. 572 949.


Walk up the right hand edge of a couple of fields and continue on up past the farm buildings on the right
enjoying the lovely views north along the valley of Bilsdale.

At a crossing of paths at Grid Ref. 577 951 follow the track uphill to the right then bear left at another junction of tracks
and head straight up the field soon reaching a stone wall in poor repair - follow it all the way to the top of the hill until
reaching a gate leading onto the open moor at Grid Ref 583 945. A faint track leads away slightly left from the gate
and through the heather, soon reaching a much better and wider track along which you keep left and continue.


The track soon passes a number of large boulders on the left - a good vantage point to sit and enjoy
the superb views north along Bilsdale to Carlton and Cringle Moor in the far distance.


. .

Soon after passing the boulders the track bends 90 right and then a bit further on there's a crossing of tracks
- bear left and continue heading due east along a good track across Bilsdale East Moor.

At the next T-junction of moorland tracks don't go left or right but go more or less straight on down a grassy path
heading towards Bonfield Ghyll Farm on the opposite side of the valley.


Although very remote in its own little green valley, Bonfield Ghyll Farm enjoys a most picturesque setting.

Continue down the grassy track to a gate in the stone wall, then enter the woods and follow the path down
to a small wooden footbridge which crosses Bonfield Gill (note the different spelling to the farm name).
Continue up a field path that leads to the right of the farm and turn right along the farm access track.


It looked like a few others wanted to join us on our walk today as we passed by...!

Where the track reaches a narrow surfaced road turn left and follow the road gently uphill.
At Grid Ref. 611 947, almost due east of the farm, turn right and follow a track leading uphill to a line of grouse butts.


At a fork near the brow of the hill continue ahead following the line of the shooting butts
where the green fields and forests of beautiful Bransdale soon come into view.

At the next T-junction turn right and soon after, where the track begins to bear right, look for a faint path
on the left leading through the deep heather and soon heading downhill.


The path runs roughly parallel with the edge of the forest down to the left - from heather it reaches deep bracken
and in places becomes a bit indistinct - just head for the ruin in the valley down below.


On reaching the ruin at Grid Ref. 623 945, a wonderful view of Bransdale opens up to the north.


The ruins are those of Stork House, a long-abandoned farm - but what a magnificent setting it still enjoys!

In my opinion, if these buildings had better vehicle access and could be renovated, they would be priceless...
- in what more beautiful a place could anyone possibly wish to be.

We sat and ate our packed lunch, gazing at the wonderful views and dreaming of what might be...


Then it was time to reluctantly leave this little piece of paradise and continue on our way...

The rough access track leads uphill, away from the ruins but offers even better views of Bransdale as it gains height.



The moor track levels out and winds its way south-west across Pockley Moor.

Keep going straight on at a couple of junctions before descending to cross Bonfield Gill again, via a ford
at Cinderhill Wath (Grid Ref. 612 931) - this is the same stream we crossed earlier near the farm, a mile further north.

After crossing the stream the track leads uphill - soon look for a metal gate on the right and straight opposite look for
a faint path leading left (south-west) through the heather. Follow this path for about a mile until it reaches a narrow road.


The view looking back north-east from near the road - the track over Pockley Moor can be seen in the distance.


Cross over the road to another track (Grid Ref. 607 924) and follow it north-west for a short way
then turn left and head down towards Old Kiln Farm (Grid Ref. 603 923).

Keep to the left of the farm, passing a number of grassy mounds which are the remains of old lime kilns,
then go through a gate and turn right and through another gate and then down past the farm... looking back up the field to Old Kiln Farm.



At the bottom right of the fields go over a stile into a wood and then cross a small beck via stepping stones.

Climb up the path through the wood on the other side until meeting a forest track - continue straight on
at any forest track junctions until emerging onto open moor through the gate above right (Grid Ref. 596 919).



This is the view ahead (east-south-east) from the gate, across Helmsley Moor towards Roppa Wood
with the buildings Potter House Farm on the left of the photograph.

Go straight ahead, keeping just to the right of the fence - part of the path gets a bit wet and boggy
but can easily be negotiated. Continue along the grassy track running parallel with the forest to Grid Ref. 586 916.


At the corner of the forest, opposite a gate and near a small pile of stones,
follow a narrow path which strikes out north through the heather.

The view above is looking south-east across Helmsley Moor towards Pockley Rigg in the far distance.



About of a mile along the path, look to the right for the remains of Roppa Cross South (Grid Ref. 587 927).

The existing remains are only part of an original cross which would have stood approximately 6 feet 5 inches.
The top is precariously balanced on part of the shaft and consists of an ancient wheelhead
with the carving of a 'Maltese cross' just visible.

"Waymarking was thought to have been the origin of the two Roppa Crosses, both of which stand on the ancient
Via Magna on Helmsley Moor. This important road mentioned in Walter Espec's second grant of land to Rievaulx Abbey
in 1145 AD, left Helmsley due north to join the ancient Thurkilsti road just north of Stump Cross on Bransdale Ridge.
There is now little trace of the line of the Magna Via remaining today."

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



Roppa Cross, North (Grid Ref. 587 930) stands on Helmsley Moor approximately of a mile north of Roppa Cross, South.

Very little remains of it other than a short length of broken shaft wedged into a stone base.

"The cross stands beside the ancient Via Magna, the road reputedly used by William of Normandy in 1069/70.
He reached Helmsley on his way to York along the ancient track over the moors referred to
seventy years later in the Foundation Charter of Rievaulx Abbey as the 'Great Road'."

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


At Grid Ref. 586 935, near a line of grouse butts, the path emerges onto a wide moor track
- cross almost straight over this track...


...and follow another narrow path through heather and bracken passing a small tree on your left.


The views west towards Bilsdale West Moor are delightful, especially when the heather is in bloom.

The path almost peters out to nothing but keep looking for a stone wall to your left - when you see it
head down to it and follow it along until you arrive back at the gate which led onto the moor earlier in the walk.


From here it's just a matter of retracing your steps back down the fields, then along the road to Fangdale Beck.


location map

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