|Levisham to Goathland (19 km)|
A long stretch of hiking through forests merely provides more variety on this exciting day: mixed landscapes, a historic inn and railway, moorland, a Roman road and an impressive waterfall. On leaving Levisham, a high moorland path shows the cup of the Hole of Horcum to its best advantage before a morning break at the historic Saltersgate Inn. Steep slopes lead into and out of Newton Dale (NYMR line again!) and the forest is entered for the next 5 kilometres. The hike emerges out onto Wheeldale Moor and follows the Roman road into Wheeldale finally abandoning it for the last stretch into Goathland.
|The Horseshoe Inn||Pub & camping||01751 460240|
|The Moorlands Hotel||Hotel||01751 460229|
|The Old School, Lockton||YH||01751 460376|
|North Yorkshire Moors Railway||01751 472508|
|Baker's Taxis (Pickering)||01751 472200|
Leave Levisham along Limpsey Gate Lane which departs the village's wide main street beside the Horseshoe Inn. This heads east and then curves north into a long stretch, eventually ending up at a gate onto Levisham Moor. Through the gate follow a clear track to the left, passing a clump of trees and then Dundale Pond (with an information notice). An Iron Age dike branches off to your left in about 15 minutes - on a clear day walk for 2 minutes along it to a good viewpoint over Newton Dale. Another Iron Age dike crosses the track 5 minutes further on and then the track passes Seavy Pond (to your left). The rim of the massive Hole of Horcum is then followed for nearly a kilometre. This circular depression is 1.2 kilometres across and 120 metres deep. It is the result of thousands of years of erosion by springs. Way down in the depths are the buildings of Low Horcum Farm.
The track ends at a fence and stile on the hairpin bend of the A169 Whitby to Pickering road where it descends Saltergate Bank. If you do not want to enjoy the hospitality of the nearby Saltersgate Inn (note the extra "s") then do not cross the stile but follow the fence to the left to the track that drops from the inn. However a visit to the historic inn is highly recommended (even if it is only for a cup of morning coffee). Cross the stile and turn left down the verge of the busy road. The peat fire in the main room of this isolated inn has been kept burning since 1801! The name of the inn comes from the days of the Salt Tax when fish from the coast was brought here to be preserved with smuggled salt. Ask the landlord to point out the tiny window in line with a sharp bend in the road at Saltergate Bank, where a look-out could give warnings of approaching excise men.
Return back a little from the inn to a footpath that passes in front of Glebe Farm and then along the sharp rim of Havern Beck's valley to the gate into a small walled paddock. Do not enter the paddock. Rather follow the wall to the left until it becomes a fence on top of Yewtree Scar. Drop steeply down the next rocky gully (if you reach a pond on the rim then you have gone too far!). Steps soon aid the descent alongside the yew trees on your right and you reach the bottom and a footbridge across Pickering Beck. Cross the stile to the right of the footbridge and head west (left) between the fence and the railway line. At the next stile cross to the other side of the fence and continue west. Pass under a railway bridge to the isolated Newton Dale Halt station - the only transport into this lonely dale and the network of forest tracks surrounding it.
|Looking back to Yewtree Scar|
The photo looks back to Yewtree Scar with the bank hiding the Hole of Horum behind it. The path comes down the obvious rocky cleft in the centre of the photo. Some of the mist is the remains of the puffs of steam from a passing steam train.
Cross the station parking area to join a forestry road and turn right. There is a thin unofficial path immediately by the station exit but the Forestry Commission prefers that you walk for about three minutes along the forestry road to a waymarked and prettier path. This path climbs steeply from one copse to another where the road is regained (turn left). Continue straight ahead when the road turns right onto a thin and muddy path that passes the ruins of Beulah House (a farmhouse) on the left. Past the ruin, the track bears right (north-west) to climb up through the firs of Cropton Forest to a junction of forestry roads (ignore any paths to the left or right). This was where the photo at the top of this page was taken. Continue straight ahead over one crossroads next to a fenced pond and then turn right through a gate onto the next road. This metalled road is followed through many twists and turns for the next hour, ignoring any dirt roads to the sides. This 3 kilometres (about an hour) is possibly the least interesting part of the entire walk but is very easy.
The road finally squeezes between the Keys Beck Ponds and emerges on the single-lane tarmac of the Keys Beck Road. Turn right to cross over Wheeldale Beck with a nearby car park and picnic area. When the road meets a fence, go through a gate and onto a fine, 5 metre wide Roman road that traverses the moor tops. Centuries of northern weather have eroded the original cobble or rammed sand and gravel surface until you are walking on the foundation stones with the occasional hop over a drainage channel. The age, course and purpose of the road is in doubt but the most popular theory is that it was built around 300 AD, running from Malton to service look-out and signal stations along the coast (e.g. the one still to be seen at Kettle Ness, 18 kilometres to the north). These stations were constructed as a response to renewed threats from the Picts and Scots.
Turn down a track on the left at a sign 10 minutes down the Roman road and down steps to Wheeldale Beck. Stepping stones usually allow access to the other side of the beck. If the water is very high then follow the route in the next paragraph.
Return to the Roman road and turn right to a gate and ladder stile over a wall. Follow the wall to your right into the next field and then head right again downhill to the bottom of the field. Turn left along the field boundary and head to a footbridge across Wheeldale Gill near the junction with Wheeldale Beck. Ideally you should turn right over the beck and climb up a track back to the route. However the ford here is also likely to be under water. Instead head to the left on a track that climbs above Hazel Head Woods. The farm cows often use this track with the obvious and odious by-product. Continue past Hazel Head Farm on a road until a reservoir appears on your right and a path leads downhill to the right. In 150 metres turn left for 150 metres along a wall and then downhill again. The track then drops through a wooded strip to the neat cottages at New Wath Farm and a footbridge over West Beck. Wander up the farm access road onto the official route just before the bridge over West Beck.
Otherwise hop over on the stones and up steps to a stile. Here the Lyke Wyke Walk goes ahead to Simon Howe while we turn left to pass in front of the Wheeldale Lodge youth hostel. Follow a wall on the left around to Hunt House and join a lane at a turning area. The lane curves north past a car park and to a wide grass track on the left. You can stay on the lane and end up in Goathland within 30 minutes.
However a more scenic approach is to head down the grass track. Near a fenced paddock, a small detour to the left will reveal the pretty Nelly Ayre Foss (a small waterfall in nice surroundings). Continue on the track until it curves left where you go straight ahead past a white house and onto a road through a gate. Follow the road around to the right and cross a stile onto the east bank of West Beck. An attractive but indistinct path heads along the beck through Scar Wood. Steps lead up to a stile and then more steps to the right climb a bit higher. The path soon returns to the beck just before Mallyan Spout (which is on a side stream). This 21 metre high waterfall is most impressive just after rain. Past the waterfall and two seats, take a signposted path up to the right. More steps and a wall lead into the start of Goathland village next to Mallyan Spout Hotel with other accommodation nearby.
Opposite the hotel is St. Mary's Church established in 1896 but built on the site of a 1150 AD hermitage. The church is a fitting and atmospheric place for the end of this day's walk (and perhaps the entire walk).
The Goathland Station on the North York Moors Railway is less than 15 minutes away through the village. The station and village green may be familiar to you from the television series "Heartbeat" that was filmed in this area. Goathland Station has recently become famous as the setting for scenes as 'Hogsmead Station' in a couple of recent 'Harry Potter' movies.