Thursday 4th October 2001

Weather: Mainly fair, but some cloud and a threat of rain

The Cleveland Way - Stage 1

Helmsley to Sutton Bank
(including the White Horse)

( 10 miles - Easy )


The Cleveland Way is a wonderful walk of about 110 miles over a varied terrain of open countryside,
woodland, wild moors and spectacular coastal cliff-top paths, with stunning views for most of the way

I've done it before, and in my opinion it is best enjoyed in 10 stages of roughly 10/11 mile walks



Today, along with my regular walking pals Stan and Jim, and not forgetting Luke ( Jim's dog ),
we began with a nice gentle introduction from the North Yorkshire market town of Helmsley to Sutton Bank

The footpath sign above left (Grid Ref. 611 838) is the first of many we'll see on our journey,
most of which are accompanied by the 'acorn' icon



This lane is near the start as we head in a westerly direction away from Helmsley Castle


The lane leads us on to pleasant field paths with more good views back to the castle and town


About a mile from the start we pass the unusually shaped, but ornate, Griff Lodge



The next mile or so of walking is through pleasant Whinney Bank and Quarry Bank Woods before we emerge
at a surfaced road and follow it left and downhill before it bears right towards Rievaulx Bridge


The view south-east from the road along the fertile valley


A little further on and we catch a glimpse through the hedgerows of the magnificent ruins of Rievaulx Abbey



From Rievaulx Bridge (Grid Ref. 574 843) it's well worth the half-mile detour to visit the ruins
- however, today we continue along the narrow road...


...soon reaching the peaceful surroundings of Nettledale


The ponds at Nettledale had an eerie green hue about them today



This is the spot we chose to rest for a cup of tea - a small beck provides comfort for any sore feet


The track is well signposted and leads us gently uphill and out of the woods of Netterdale
to Low Field Lane and a totally contrasting landscape (looking north-east towards Hawnby and Bilsdale)



. . . at the top of the lane, we turn right and cross a small valley to the pretty village of Cold Kirby



At the top of the village we turn left along a wide lane which, after recent rain, was very 'clarty' today
- from the stile another view back towards Cold Kirby and Hawnby with the dark hulk of Easterside Hill prominent



The lane leads us to another woodland path which soon passes the paddocks of Hambleton House
and the racehorse stables of trainer Les Eyre - I don't think Stan was stroking a future Derby winner there!



Soon after passing Hambleton House we follow its access track reaching the main A170 Thirsk to Scarborough road
where there's a pint waiting for you in the Hambleton Inn, and nearby self-catering cottages and B & B ( 16 / night )

Taking care crossing the busy road, we follow a path through woodland and heath alongside ancient Casten Dike...


...before reaching the edge of the western escarpment of the Hambleton Hills, as stormy skies threatened



Following the clear path left and passing the gliding club, we decend the very steep steps near the White Horse of Kilburn
- it's impossible to get a good photograph of the horse from below as the natural curve of the hillside 'chops' its head off

It's a much better view from a mile or two away near Kilburn - today the horse looked more grey than white



We follow the path through even more woodland beneath Ivy Scar and Roulston Scar before
climbing back up the steep track known as 'Thief's Highway' - a quick getaway in days gone by
for highway robbers from the nearby drovers and stagecoach roads


Back at the top we're rewarded with fine views across the Vale of Mowbray

From here we retraced our steps back past the gliding club to Sutton Bank Information Centre


location map

( If any photographs fail to download, click the right mouse button on the blank space then choose 'Show Picture' )


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