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The ancient pannier-way through Arnecliffe Woods
The ancient pannier-way through Arnecliffe Woods
Kirkby Stephen
Danby Wiske
Ingleby Cross
Clay Bank
Lion Inn

Another fairly easy day - a bit longer than yesterday but mostly downhill. The weather did not start off promising with a real pea-soup fog greeting me as I left the Lion Inn. However, the fog cleared away to leave brilliant blue skies and the warmest day on the walk.

Blakey Type Phone
High Blakey House B&B 01751 417186
Lion Inn Pub 01751 417320
Stokesley Taxis 01642 712999

The Coast to Coast Walk starts by heading north along the moorland road for 2 kilometres. This is quiet (especially in the morning) and with generous verges. However, there is an alternative if you want to avoid even this pleasant road:
Drop down beside High Blakey House to rejoin the old Rosedale Railway line. Follow this to the headwaters of the River Seven and then in a long arc towards Rosedale. Near a cutting, there is a rough, steep path leading up onto the moors. This soon levels off and proceeds over sandy soil to a junction between 2 moor roads (one from the Lion Inn and another between Danby and Rosedale Abbey). Head north towards Danby to rejoin the Coast to Coast Walk in about 100 metres.

A reward for taking the road is the profusion of moorland markers along the route. The first is a large rough stone known as Margery Bradley - this marks a thin track that the Coast to Coast Walk follows to White Cross (also known as 'Fat Betty'). Slightly off the Coast to Coast Walk route (near the corner that the path cuts) are the crosses of Old Ralph and Ralph Cross ('Young Ralph').

From Fat Betty, a short-cut follows a line of boundary stones through the heather to meet the road again briefly before cutting across a corner to the Danby-Rosedale Abbey road. The road crosses a very gentle brow and soon the route departs along a rough wide track to Trough House (a stone shooting hut). After the hut the track passes the remains of some old coal pits and heads alongside Trough Gill Beck to the grand viewpoint of Great Fryup Head. The path continues onto Glaisdale High Moor for another 2 kilometres to join a very quiet moorland road.

The tarmac takes you up to a large cairn on your right and is abandoned as it drops to the left for the grand old road along Glaisdale Rigg. Note especially the aged guidestone inscribed "Whitby Road" in a stone socket about a kilometre along the track. As you drop down the ridge, the heather vanishes and is replaced by moorland grass. All too soon, an enclosed lane brings you into the village of Glaisdale - once a thriving iron ore mining centre, now much more sedate.

Turn right along the main road to pass the Mitre Inn (a good place to break for lunch) and then left along a narrow lane to the railway station and the nearby banks of the River Esk. The arched back of Beggar's Bridge (a packhorse bridge built in the 1600's) is unfortunately squeezed between a railway viaduct and the modern road bridge. It is still worth the minor detour to duck under the viaduct and have a look at it. In the 17th century Thomas Ferris, a poor Egton boy, was courting Agnes Richardson, the Squire's daughter. Coming from a poor family, he was not good enough for her. He decided to make his fortune at sea and was ready to sail on a Whitby ship. The night before he sailed, he went to see Agnes, but as the river was in flood and there was no bridge the lovers were frustrated. Thomas made his fortune and married Agnes. He built Beggar's Bridge to prevent any other couple being separated by the river.

Glaisdale Type Phone
Ashley House B&B 01947 897656
Red House Farm B&B 01947 897242

A footbridge over Glaisdale Beck (before the railway viaduct) enters the enchanting East Arnecliffe Wood along the course of a centuries-old pannier-way with its ancient stone slabs still serving the modern traveller. There is a fairly steep climb as the path nears the river but this levels out as a road down into Egton Bridge village is reached. While the road heads straight over a bridge, a more interesting crossing can be done on a set of reliable stepping stones.

Barnards Road Toll House
Barnards Road Toll House

The village is left via an enclosed way at the obvious junction between the road bridge and St. Hedda Church (worth a visit for its famed bas-relief panels depicting scenes from the life of Christ). Here the Coast to Coast Walk turns right onto an old toll road, Barnards Road (now a private road through Egton Estates). A surviving notice on a house just past Beckside Farm gives the charges as of August 1948. A nice easy stroll of 3 kilometres brings you to Priory Farm and a short section of real road into the village of Grosmont (pronounced "Grow-mont").

Egton Bridge Type Phone
Broom House B&B 01947 895279
The Postgate Inn Pub 01947 895241

Grosmont is a nice village nestled under the steep slopes of the southern hills of Esk Valley. In the past, it sheltered an abbey of monks of the little-known Grantimontine Order which was dissolved in 1536 (Priory Farm now occupies the site). The Romans also had a fort nearby to secure their route along the valley to the seaside communities. The present village is largely a result of the 19th century ironstone mining boom and today is a mecca for railway enthusiasts with British Rail's Esk Valley line meeting the privately operated North Yorkshire Moors Railway. The NYMR is the remains of the Whitby-Pickering Railway which first opened in 1836 as a horse-drawn tramway and then converted to steam 10 years later. The section south of Grosmont was closed in 1965 but reopened in 1973 and now provides a wonderful steam-hauled trip though 29 kilometres (18 miles) of moorland to Pickering. A point of interest for the Coast to Coast walker is the large boulder outside the west door of the village church. It is made of Shap granite!

This last staging post before the coast gathers many of the Coast to Coast walkers together. I actually joined a group that was camping in the village where a B&B allows you to camp on the front and back lawns - the next nearest camp site is a farmers field way up on the moors. The closest eating place is the village pub, however it is oriented towards tourists (and the landlady at the time was not very friendly). We ended up walking all the way back to Egton Bridge to the Postgate Inn for a meal, hospitality and company that was well-worth the 7 km round trip. It was quite fun walking back in the dark since no-one had thought to bring a torch.

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