|Osmotherley to Great Broughton (21 km)|
Carlton Moor, Cringle Moor and Hasty Bank (left to right)
A nice day for walking but not for views - a cooling morning mist decided to stay around for a lot of the day. The photo above was taken as I started off on the next day.
I followed familiar ground along Ruebury Lane and then up through trees to the open scrub (good views) above South Wood. The clay track through the woods looks as if it could be slippery and muddy in wet weather. The scrub woodland provides easy going along the level top. The shock appearance of the forest of masts at the British Telecom booster station is quickly passed. Once past the station, the Cleveland Way re-enters woodland - there is a good place for a morning break in some grassy clearings overlooking an old quarry. Keep an eye over the stone wall on your right where an Ordnance Survey triangulation pillar marks the summit of Beacon Hill (299 metres) and the traditional beginning of the Lyke Wake Walk.
The path now descends and breaks out into open moors (Scarth Wood Moor which is owned by the National Trust). Ahead you can see the nab ends (promontories) of the Cleveland Hills - you will soon have a closer acquaintance with these. The moor is crossed to meet a new stone wall (completed in 1988) and then drops to Scarth Nick via some steps in the hillside. Scarth Nick was formed by the overflow from melting glaciers on the moors after the last Ice Age (10,000 years ago) and also used as part of the Drove Road from Yarm in the north to York in the south. The reason why the drovers took this high-level route instead of the gentler route down the Vale of Mowbray was to avoid the toll charges levied on the plain roads.
The Cleveland Way crosses the road and takes a forest track on the other side until a viewpoint (with a seat) over Swainby village is reached. The photo on the left shows a rather misty view of Swainby from there. The lane just past the farmhouse in the foreground is Coalmire Lane.
Take care on the steep slope that the track descends afterwards - this is compensated for by the delightful route along a woodland edge, across fields and up a country lane to a T-junction near Huthwaite Green. Straight across the road is a gate that gives access to an enclosed path along the edge of a plantation. In about 500 metres the path takes the steepest climb of the day where it rises straight up through the plantation via a stepped sheep drift (used to allow sheep to get to the moors above). On emerging onto Live Moor, the climb continues until you reach the side of Round Hill and begin to contour around the hillside.
Level walking then takes the Cleveland Way all the way to Carlton Moor (there is a gentle dip down from Live Moor and back up onto the moor). Expect to be distracted by the panoramic views over the Cleveland Plains (Vale of Mowbray). The heather landscape is interrupted by the bare glider station runway extending south from the gliding club buildings. Skirt the edge of the runway to reach an OS pillar and waystone at the summit of the moor - both sadly covered in graffiti. The grassy slopes to the west of the stones provide a good spot for a break.
A 107 metre descent down to the Carlton Bank road is quickly over but be sure to take care where the path passes near by the edges of old alum quarries. There is an opportunity for refreshment here by walking a few metres right along the road to a small cafe cunningly hidden in the hillside. The Cleveland Way passes a small plantation and then takes a clear, slightly steep path up to Cringle End - the nab of Cringle Moor. There is a good set of moorland "furniture" here - a stone seat commemorating Alec Falconer (a founding member of the Middlesborough Rambling Club and promoter of what became the Cleveland Way trail), a boundary stone and a view indicator. The views are well worth the climb.
From Cringle End the Cleveland Way takes a good flagstoned path along the top of Kirby Bank - the stones were laid to prevent any further erosion along this popular walk. The flagstones on the drop down from the moor should have been replaced by now. The last time I was there, they had been laid incorrectly with lots of tiny steps (just right for twisting ankles). However work was in progress to replace the stones with large and safer steps.
There is a minor choice of route at the beck at the foot of Cold Moor. If you are desperate to avoid the climb and descent over Cold Moor then you can continue straight on along a forestry track and rejoin the Cleveland Way at Garfit Gap. The Cleveland Way however crosses the beck and immediately turns right to cross a stile into the field beyond. The fairly steep climb up onto Cold Moor (more good views - especially south into the moors) should be easier by now since work was in progress to stop the erosion. An equally steep drop into Garfit Gap follows with the rock pinnacles of the Wainstones on the hillside ahead. The Wainstones are a scattering of large boulders around a couple of rock pillars (10 metres high) and a rocky 15 metre cliff. These provide one of the few local rock climbing areas, so expect to see people clambering all over them.
The Cleveland Way winds through the boulders and climbs above the Wainstones on the left to reach the top of Hasty Bank. The level walking along the arc of the cliffs (more dramatic views) ends with a steep drop down to the Stokesley to Helmsley road at Clay Bank. There is a chance of refreshments at the carpark 200 metres down the road.
On this occasion I walked into Great Broughton via the road (rather busy with fast downhill traffic and with narrow verges). However I recommend a quieter route taken on a previous walk. Just below the carpark there is a gate on the left which leads you onto a forestry road. This is followed over a crossroads and ignoring a branch to the left until a sharp hairpin turn to the right takes you down to join Bank Lane. The lane continues north to join the main road and Great Broughton is an easy kilometre along the road. My overnight stay was pleasantly spent at the Wainstones Hotel.