North York Moors Walks
Date: 3rd August 2014
Distance: 9.9 miles
Time: 4 hours 45 mins
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: SE683989
A fascinating walk on the moors above Rosedale Head visiting a variety of boundary stones and crosses before dropping down for a superb walk along the Rosedale Railway.
Route Summary: Blakey Junction - High Blakey Moor - Jackson's Road - Flat Howe - Old Ralph Cross - Young Ralph Cross - White Cross - Knott Road - Danby High Moor - George Gap Causeway - Sturdy Bank - Rosedale Railway - Blakey Junction
Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.
Walk Detail: Prior to this walk my only acquaintance with Rosedale was, rather briefly, the view of the valley from Bank Top when I visited Ana Cross on a walk from Hutton-le-Hole back in early 2012. The aim of this walk was to combine a more substantial trip to Rosedale whilst also visiting a number of landmarks high on the moors above the head of the valley.
Starting from the car park at Blakey Junction a mile or so south of the Lion Inn high on Blakey Ridge I began by actually turning my back on Rosedale. Instead I crossed the road and headed away on a bridleway, once the trackbed of the mine railway heading for Bloworth Crossing, for a stride above Farndale. Unlike the hazy conditions when I visited Farndale earlier in the year to see the daffodils the visibility on this occasion was excellent.
Walking round on to Potter's Nab I left the bridleway just near a memorial stone to Karl Briggs who had been instrumental in campaigning for the old railway line to be converted into a bridleway. From there I headed along an initially clear path that is marked on the map as Jackson's Road. My aim had been to follow this back to Blakey Lane and then follow the road north. Instead Jackson's Road deteriorated into something more like 'Jackson's Wet and Reedy Ditch' and so I decided to head for a prominent boundary located near Flat Howe.
From there it was an easy walk to the road and an impressively large standing stone as well as my first proper view of Rosedale on the walk. Walking a short way up the road I then cut across the pathless moor to the vicinity of the 429m spot height from where I walked north to Old Ralph Cross. The long distance views were now excellent and included the sea to the east and the tip of Roseberry Topping to the north.
Next I moved on to Young Ralph Cross, since 1974 the symbol of the North York Moors National Park, from where there were excellent views of Castleton Rigg and down towards Westerdale. The following mile and a half was largely alongside Knott Road as I headed for the only real summit of the walk, the trig point on High Danby Moor - one of the highest points in the North York Moors. Along the way I passed White Cross, affectionately known as 'Fat Betty', and another impressive standing stone, the Millenium Stone that was erected alongside the junction with the Fryup road in February 2000.
The next part of the walk was across the pathless heather to reach the trig point marking the summit of Danby High Moor, the fourth highest summit of the North York Moors. It was a curiously low trig point which seemed like it must have sunk a little into the ground. Just to the south of the trig point I picked up a path along a line of boundary stones that led east bringing me to a partly slabbed path marked on the map as 'George Gap Causeway'. An old pannierway, the George Gap Causeway, led me back to Knott Road which I crossed to continue on a bridleway to commence a memorable descent into Rosedale with wonderful views of the valley enhanced by large patches of purple heather.
I descended as far as the trackbed of the old Rosedale Railway which I then followed anti-clockwise around the head of the valley back to Blakey Junction. This section was probably the highlight of the walk, the route of the old railway providing wonderful views of the valley as well as interesting scenery close at hand such as Reeking Gill. Indeed a walk featuring the old railway line alone would make for a grand walk, or cycle for that matter and indeed I am looking forward to taking my mountain bike for a spin around it.
Although this route featured a few stretches of road walking (which is not ideal) it did allow me to link together a selection of crosses, boundary stones and a trig point. All in all it was a fascinating expedition and, largely thanks to the walk on the old railway line, Rosedale might just be my new favourite valley in the North York Moors.