North York Moors Walks
Date: 13th November 2013
Distance: 5.5 miles
Time: 2 hours 50 mins
Start Grid Ref: SE877904
A pleasant walk through some of the woodland of Dalby Forest before heading for the weirdly sculpted Bridestones.
Route Summary: Bridestones Car Park - High Staindale - Grain Slack - Dargate Slack - Crosscliff Brow - Low Bridestones - High Bridestones - Needle Point - Dove Dale - Bridestones Car Park
Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.
Walk Detail: A couple of years ago I'd bought Paul Hannon's guidebook 'The North York Moors: The Eastern Moors'. On the cover was a striking picture of a large, weirdly-sculpted, rock which I discovered inside was one of the Low Bridestones. Although I filed it away in my mind as a place I'd like to visit it was not until this walk that I finally made it.
We started from the Bridestones car park between Low Staindale and High Staindale several miles along the Dalby Forest Drive in Dalby Forest, one of northern England's largest forests. This was my first visit to Dalby Forest which today seems to have been turned into a vast outdoor recreational space that includes not only numerous walking and mountain biking trails but also a Go-Ape tree top experience and numerous organised activities for families.
On the drive out over Sutton Bank and along the southern fringes of the North York Moors the weather had looked exceedingly promising but low cloud was clinging tenaciously on to the forest and it was quite a cold and gloomy start to the walk. After passing the small lake in Staindale the scenery was brightened considerably by a plantation of young trees on the slopes of Grain Slack. The trees had turned a spectacular golden colour, unfortunately I'm no dendrologist so I don't know what species of tree they were but they were definitely one of the highlights of the walk.
Half way along Grain Slack we turned north to follow a path up Dargate Slack to eventually reach the viewpoint on Crosscliff Brow. Although patches of blue sky were beginning to appear overhead the low cloud restricted the view somewhat. Without much to see and having timed our arrival at the viewpoint with a large party of other walkers we headed west on the broad track along Crosscliff Brow which here also doubles up as part of the long distance Tabular Hills walk.
Just before reaching the edge of the forest a thin path led us through some trees to emerge on to open moorland. From there it was an easy walk south to the awaiting Low Bridestones. Both the Low and High Bridestones are located in a wonderfully colorful pocket of moorland above Bridestone Griff and Dovedale Griff. Whilst the example I'd seen on the front of Hannon's book was the most spectacular a number of the other outcrops provided opportunities for a bit of easy scrambling.
With excellent timing the sun also came out properly for first time in the walk and our casual exploration of the rocks was lit up by the autumn colours of the heather and bracken. After having our fill of the rocks we enjoyed a pleasant descent on the path down Needle Point and then an easy walk back to the car park via short Dove Dale. This was a lovely little walk and has been added to my increasingly long list of places I'd like to go back to.