North York Moors Walks
Simon Howe & Newtondale
Date: 26th August 2013
Distance: 11.6 miles
Time: 6 hours 20 mins
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: NZ836013
A fantastic linear walk from Goathland to Levisham Station visiting Mallyan Spout, Simon Howe and Skelton Tower above Newtondale.
Route Summary: Goathland - Beck Hole - Mallyan Spout - Two Howes - Simon Howe - Wardle Green - Newtondale Halt - Huggitt's Scar - Skelton Tower - Levisham Station
Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.
Walk Detail: Prior to a couple of walks earlier in the year, when I'd visited the Hole of Horcum and Blakey Topping, I'd barely visited the eastern part of the North York Moors. This was mainly due to a combination of the longer drive to get there and the fact that the lower altitude of the eastern moors was a less attractive propostion to the Cleveland Hills. However, I'd enjoyed the Hole of Horcum and Blakey Topping walks so much that I resolved to visit the area again and so it was that I devised this linear route which made use of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway for added interest.
Starting from Levisham Station I took the train as far as Goathland from where my plan was to walk all the way back to Levisham Station whilst visiting a number of interesting looking features on the way back. The train journey itself was hugely enjoyable, my only real disappointment with it, and indeed the whole day, was that the particular train I caught was a diesel and not one of the steam trains that operate on the line.
Although my ultimate destination was back south I actually left Goathland heading north-west on the route of an abandoned railway line heading for Beck Hole. The reason for this was that I wanted to visit the popular waterfall called Mallyan Spout. This I reached by turning south before Beck Hole to follow a path alongside West Beck. This approach proved to be fairly quiet and it was something of a shock to find the slippery final path to Mallyan Spout so busy. The waterfall itself was a real highlight of the walk, it's setting gave it an almost magical quality and I found it so entrancing that if I'd not bothered with the rest of the walk but simply caught the train back to Levisham I would have felt the trip had been worthwhile.
Fortunately I did continue the walk and it proved to be a real cracker. After taking the path leading up to the Mallyan Spout Hotel I crossed the road and took a wonderful path up on to the moor where I found the heather to be in its full rich purple late summer bloom. Another early highlight was the small sheet of water called 'The Tarn' whose deep blue waters contrasted beautifully with the heather and green bracken.
Continuing up the path I climbed up to the Two Howes on Two Howes Rigg before reaching Simon Howe, at 260m the highest point on Howl Moor and the highest point of the whole walk. It was a fascinating top with a trig point, at least three standing stones and the tumulus of Simon Howe itself which seemed to be partly surrounded by a stone circle. Despite the modest altitude the views were expansive in all directions and it certainly felt higher than it actually was.
After eating my lunch by Simon Howe I descended south on a path through the purple heather of Simon Howe Rigg to eventually enter Cropton Forest which, along with Danby Forest, is one of the great forests of the North York Moors. After a section on a broad forest track I took a thinner path that dropped steeply down into the trench like valley of Newtondale. Noting the signs warning of adders I walked carefully around the platform of Newtondale Halt before climbing back up the other side of the valley up to Yewtree Scar.
The next few miles, as far as Skelton Tower, were glorious with purple heather on one side and the steep drop down into Newtondale on the other. Upon reaching Skelton Tower, the ruins of a two-storey shooting lodge originally built in 1850, I stopped for a while to enjoy the superb views up Newtondale and to await the opportunity to photograph one of the steam trains in the valley below. After waiting half an hour my patience was finally rewarded and all that was left was an easy walk back to Levisham to conclude what had been a quite wonderful day out.