North York Moors Walks
Swainby & Whorl Hill
Date: 16th May 2013
Distance: 5.4 miles
Time: 2 hours
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: NZ476021
A lovely little evening ramble through attractive woods around Swainby on the northern edge of the North Yorks Moors.
Route Summary: Swainby - Clain Wood - Hollin Hill - Live Moor Plantation - Faceby Plantation - Bank Lane - Whorl Hill Wood - Whorlton Castle - Swainby
1. The track heading to Clain Wood
2. Whorl Hill from below Clain Wood
4. Whorl Hill from the path running outside Live Moor Plantation
5. Carlton Bank from Bank Lane
6. The lovely path through Whorl Hill Woods
7. Bluebells in Whorl Hill Woods
8. More bluebells on the path to Whorlton
9. The ruins of Whorlton Church
10. The remains of the keep of Whorlton Castle
11. Heading down the road towards Swainby
12. Scugdale Beck running through the centre of Swainby
Walk Detail: This was my first post-work evening walk of the year. I originally had it in mind to visit Byland Abbey and the Mount Snever Observatory in the Hambleton Hills. Instead, almost at the last moment, I changed my mind and opted for this route on the northern fringe of the North York Moors - mainly because a book I saw described the walk as a virtual 'Bluebell Way' at the right time of year.
Starting from the attractive village of Swainby, which is split in half by Scugdale Beck running alongside the main street, the route visited a succession of attractive woods - Clain Wood, Live Moor Plantation, Faceby Plantation and Whorl Hill Wood. These were linked by some pleasant paths and tracks, including a short section of the Cleveland Way.
So what of the bluebells? Well, I was disappointed to find that the Clain Wood bluebells had not, with a few exceptions, yet flowered and nor were there any in the woods of Live Moor and Faceby plantations. There were, however, lots to be found in Whorl Hill Wood. Even here though there was huge swathes that had not yet flowered. I could only imagine how spectacular the place must look when they were all fully in bloom. With or without bluebells the path through the woods of Whorl Hill was still really lovely.
Interest was not just limited to the woods and flowers. On the way back to Swainby I was also able to visit the remains of Whorlton Church as well as the ruined keep of Whorlton Castle which I managed to catch in the late evening sunshine.
Apart from a steep initial path leading up into Whorl Hill Wood the going was very easy and all in all this was a very rewarding little ramble in an area that I'd definitely like to explore in a bit more detail.