North York Moors Walks
Date: 21st June 2014
Distance: 5.1 miles
Time: 2 hours 40 mins
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: SE572961
A short and enjoyable exploration of the steep side valley of Tripsdale including a visit to the Bride Stones on Nab Ridge.
Route Summary: The Grange - Hill End Wood - Hill End Farm - Tripsdale Beck - Kay Nest - Tripsdale Beck - Nab End Moor - Nab Ridge - Bride Stones - Nab End - Hill End Farm - The Grange
Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.
Walk Detail: Much shorter than my previous visit to Bilsdale, a wonderful walk over the Cleveland Hills starting from Chop Gate, the aim of this short walk was to visit Tripsdale, a steep-sided subsidary of Bilsdale.
The first thing I realised upon my arrival was that, for only the second time in over 600 walks, I'd forgotten my OS map! Fortunately this was not a route I'd planned myself but one that I'd taken from Paul Hannon's 'North York Moors - Western' walking guide. Even though I'd left my map at home I'd remembered the guide book. All credit to Hannon, apart from one area where the bracken had obliterated any sign of the path, his directions got me round the walk without any navigational difficulties.
Starting from a layby next to the unsigned turn off to The Grange I first walked south a short way along the B1257 before taking the dusty access road heading for the farm at High Cowhelm. Just before reaching the latter I turned off the track to drop down to Hedge Beck and then a steep climb up through Hill End Wood - apparently this is a great place for bluebells in the late spring. From the top of Hill End Wood I crossed through some enclosures at Hill End Farm above which was a short section of path which could only just be navigated through bracken which was already at almost head height.
Contouring below Nab End the path then dropped gently down, through more bracken filled pastures, to the ford over Tripsdale Beck. The ford actually consisted of a handful of very slippery stones and care was required to cross over. On the other side the combination of reeds and bracken meant that I initially had difficulty find the ongoing path. Indeed it wasn't until I'd climbed over fifty metres in height from the beck that I found the path which then climbed beautifully up on to the rim of crags called Kay Nest.
The walk up to and along Kay Nest was quite lovely with great views of the valley, the only slight disappointment was that the crags themselves were largely hidden by trees, heather and bilberry. Denied a nice outcrop for me to pose on I continued along to reach a dusty shooting track which dropped down to cross Tripsdale Beck and then wind up the other side, eventually leading to the broad crest of Nab End Moor. At a junction I followed the track south on a fine stride along Nab Ridge to eventually reach a large ancient cairn below which are situated a number of small standing stones known as the Bride Stones. The view of the Bilsdale region of the moors from the cairn and the Bride Stones was quite excellent.
From the cairn the path continued on to Nab End and, after cutting through the plantation, a second helping of the head high bracken above Hill End Farm. Back at the farm it was then a simple walk back along the farm's access road back to the B2157. This was a hugely enjoyable walk and Tripsdale was a lovely valley which I'd definitely like to go back to especially in the late autumn - I bet all that bracken will look amazing once it turns colour.