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Route No 34 - 12 February 2002
Saltergate, Malo Cross, Lilla Howe
Simon Howe circuit - 12 miles
Newtondale, North York Moors

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Outdoor Leisure 27 North York Moors Eastern area. 1:25000

Malo Cross My neighbour, Jim, and I set off just before 9.00 this morning for a longer walk than usual. We are in training. Jim's wife has agreed to him joining me for a week's walking in Andalucia in April so we are trying to get fitter to make the most of our trip. We parked at the Hole of Horcum car park on the Pickering/Whitby road at about 15 mins to 10. There were a few cars about but no other walkers that we could see. We headed north from the car park up the main road for a hundred yards before tuning right onto the Old Wife's Way. Again after a hundred yards we turned left down the back of the woods to the edge overlooking the Saltergate Inn and in the distance the Fylingdales base. We walked about a mile round the edge of Saltergate Brow to Malo Cross, one of the many old stone crosses of the moors.A February frog - deceased At the cross we turned left onto the marshy path along the side of the forest for just over a mile. At this point the path reaches a wooden gate and through the gate we turned right to keep on a track still following the edge of the forested area. We stayed on this stony track for another mile and a half to the end of the forest. Before leaving the shelter of the forest we sat under the trees away from the strong blustery wind for a drink and a sandwich. Much of this first part of the route is running around the boundary fence of the Fylingdales base. After our break we continued on the same track as far as Lilla Howe. Along the way we saw an adult frog apparently uninjured but lying dead on the track. It seems a bit early in the year for frogs to be out and about, maybe it's the funny climate these days. There was a good view from the track out to the coast south of Ravenscar. At Lilla Howe we turned left onto the Lyke Wake Walk and headed down the moor for 2 miles to the Pickering/Whitby road at Eller Beck.A sheepfold beside Little Eller Beck The path was very wet the whole way. At Eller Beck a car had run completely off the road and was stuck nose first in a wet gully about 30 yards from the road. It must have been going like the clappers. As we stood staring at it a recovery truck pulled up and a young man got out to inspect the job. He did not seem to come to any immediate conclusion as to how to deal with the situation and after exchanging a few pleasantries we continued on our way. We headed west on the Lyke Wake Walk across the Fen Bog nature reserve to the North York Moors Railway and on up to Simon Howe about 2 miles from Eller Beck.Simon Howe About half a mile before we reached Simon Howe we turned for a last look at the view and the recovery truck was there in the distance with its orange lights flashing. The situation was clearly still under review. We turned onto Simon Howe Rigg in a southerly direction and after about a mile came to a large dry stone wall built in a 90 degree arc as a shelter for the moorland sheep. It provided us with a comfortable spot to stop for another break with a pleasant view over the moor to the forest ahead. After the break we continued down the slope and over a wooden footbridge across the stream to enter the forested area at Wardle Green (a ruined farmstead). We turned left onto the stone forest track heading towards Newtondale. We followed this track for about a quarter of a mile to a junction with another stone track and here continued straight ahead on a boggy mud track through the trees to the edge of Newtondale.Looking towards Newtondale from the hairpn bend above Saltergate on the Pickering/Whitby road Here we followed the track as it turned to the right along the edge of the steep slope into the valley bottom. At several places the track is blocked by fallen trees and there are well walked diversions around the obstructions. After almost half a mile around the edge of the valley there is a wooden seat at the side of the track where we stopped for a final drink. Just behind the seat is a steep path down the side of the valley to the stone road in the bottom beside the North York Moors Railway. Once on this stone track we turned right to walk along beside the railway for about 300 yards to a path on the left.The evening sunlight over the Hole of Horcum Where the path leaves the stone road there is a post that should have half a dozen fire beaters hanging on it but the wind has usually blown them onto the floor. The path leads to a crossing of the railway and then to a new wooden footbridge over the stream. We followed this path round the edge of the wood where it is very marshy and then up a steep climb up the side of a very pretty side valley. At the top we came onto the open moor and crossed to the hairpin bend on the Pickering/Whitby road near the Hole of Horcum. At the main road it was only a few hundred yards up the hill back to the car park where we had started just over six hours earlier. The whole route was a little over 12 miles. In all that distance we had not seen a single other walker or cyclist all day.

New footbridge over the stream by the railway in Newtondale.
New footbridge over the stream
by the railway in Newtondale.

Looking towards Newtondale from Saltergate Brow
Looking towards Newtondale
from Saltergate Brow.