138: Walton Hill, 19th May, 2017
With Marion and Anneli. This post-philosophy-workshop stroll was such a short walk it might not be worth recording here at all but for the fact that it involved the conquest of a Marilyn, if not a very challenging one. Whaht can I say? We parked in the car park half a kilometer to the north and followed the easy, well-made path the short distance to the trig point on the summit.
I began by having a quick look round Byland Abbey. THis erned me the right to use one of the linited spaces in the Eaglish Heritage car park while I took this short walk. It started with a pleasant path over a couple of fields to Wass. From here a path leads through the woods to the derelict Mount Snever Observatory. I bet this is nice at any time. But on a beuatiful May day like today with the woods awash with bluebells, forget-me-not, stichwort, herb robert, red campion, wild garlic, it was utterly heavenly. From the observatory I climed steeply down toward Oldstead where I cut a corner by taking the track towards the Oldstead Hall and leaving it for a path on the right which climbs up through woods and then skirts alongside them to the road. Right bere than left down the drive of Oldstead Grange. The path here goes right through the farm policies and is not very clearly marked but a farm worker put me right and about a mile of footpath over fields lay between me and the abbey, The last few fields were cow populated with those slightly alarming signs on the stiles showing a bll's head. But the beast wewre all a reassuring distance away and took no interest in me.
I parked by the Tan Hill Inn. THis is the highest pub in Britain and they are pretty keen you should not forget it. From here to the top of Water Edge is quite a rough walk. Sometimes there was a path of some kind under my feet. Sometomes there was not. THis bore little relation to when there is a path marked on the map or not. Eventually the welcome trig point hove into view. Getting from here to Rgan's Seat is very easy. Basically a game of follow that fence. From the summit of my second Nutttall the plan was to wander cross country in a roughly northwesterly sort of way until I picked up the Pennine Way. THis is what I did. Again pretty rough going and nothing realy by way of paths until the Pennine Way. On finally reaching this it was uphill all the way home but happily that was not far.
Anyone coming to Rosedale Abbey after visting Byland Abbey and Rievaulx Abbey will be immediately disappointed by the conspicuous absence of anything resembling an abbey. Apparently there was once here once but ot was demolished with rather great thoroughness than its peers. I gather a few small traces do remain but nothing worth building an English Heritage coffee and gift shop over. The village is legendary among the sort of cyclists who enjoy a challenge for the Rosedale Chimney, a ferocious 1/3 hill that climbs out to the south onto Spaunton Moor. The idyllic pastoral dale around the village was once for a period from 1856 to 1926 a noisy industrial landscape given over to the mining of ironstone. An old works railway line makes a horseshoe round the top of the valley and is now a very walkable track. It is it a public right of way but the whole thing is on access land and popular with walkers. It offers a nice straightforward 12 mile walk from the village with the considerable attraction of a good pub roughly halfway.
The start is the only significant climb. One could just walk up the Rosedale Chimney road but I took the well-signposted public footpath that winds its way up past the golf course a bit further west. The track as far as the Lion Inn is beautifully made and in excellent condition. After that, round the head of the valley, it is a little rougher in places and occasionally boggy. As you approach the end huge ruined limekilns add interest to the walk. The rail track ended at Hill Cottages – a place that was very heavily populated by poultry – where I followed a path through fields towards Low Thorgill Farm, taking a left just before the bridge leading into the farm to follow a riverside footpath back to the caravan site on the edge of Rosedale Village and so home. Found my car and headed off, taking the Chimney road out of the village. By the time I reached the top my car’s little engine was really starting to feel the strain. I don’t think I’ll be trying it on a bicycle anytime soon.