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Path by the stream leading to Hazel Head Woods
Path by the stream leading to Hazel Head Woods


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Route No 37 - 21 February 2002
Goathland, Beck Hole, Park Rigg
Wheeldale Lodge, Simon Howe circuit - 8 miles (13km)
North York Moors . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer OL27 North York Moors Eastern area. 1:25000

See also Walk No 2 to print out

The road from Goathland to Beck Hole I had arranged to meet two friends in York this morning and we drove out together to Goathland where the 'Heartbeat' TV series is set. The weather was cold and bright with a strong wind and wintry showers were forcast for the afternoon. We began walking around 10am and headed down the green track formed by the old horsedrawn railway that pre-dates the modern railway. (there is a leaflet all about it available from the station bookshops and tourist information offices. It's called the 'Rail Trail' and goes from Goathland to Grosmont). We were intending to go to Beck Hole about a mile from Goathland but after just 400 yards at the first road crossing the path was closed for 'repair works' so we followed the road until we reached Beck Hole.Beck Hole Here we turned left off the road onto a bridleway over the beck and up the hill through Combs Wood, past Thackside Farm and onto the road at Randy Rigg. Approaching Thackside farm we passed a tiny pond with a mating cluster of at least six frogs squirming on the surface. I tried to get a photo but the close-up feature on my digital camera eats battery power and was not very successful. We crossed the road and took the bridleway down the edge of the woods and acrossa very wet boggy area (In fact its so boggy the route is marked by small bits of white cloth/plastic tied to the birch trees). Path by the stream leading to Hazel Head WoodsThe bridleway climbs up out of the bog to a pleasant strip of woodland where we stopped for a drink before continuing across Park Rigg. There is a lone tree in the middle of the moor that makes a perfect land mark. The bridleway passes the tree and the tree can be seen clearly from both edges of the moor. It's about a mile across Park Rigg and we had our first 'wintry shower' of sleet and snow driving head onto us as we crossed the moor. The bridleway comes out onto a road called Wheeldale Road on the map. We turned left onto the road as the sleet cleared up and followed it for about a mile to the ford across Wheeldale Gill. Near the ford we turned onto the path beside the stream to follow it downstream through Hazel Head Woods and stopped on the bank of the stream for another break. The area near the ford and Hazel Head woods are very pretty, but they are easily accessible by car and there are often the remains of camp fires and heaps of bottles and cans left lying around. I can't understand why anyone would drive out to such a lovely place and leave all their refuse behind. At the end of the woods the path crossed a field to a series of stiles and footbridges that lead onto the track heading towards Wheeldale Lodge (it used to be a youth hostel but was sold off when when the association started to aim at people in cars rather than walkers and cyclists - it's in a marvellous position for anyone keen on the outdoors)

Sheep waiting to be fed near Wheeldale Lodge
Sheep waiting to be fed near Wheeldale Lodge

About two hundred yards before we reached Wheeldale Lodge we turned off on a path that cuts the corner off to join the Lyke Wake Walk going up to Simon Howe. As we started the climb the sleet started again and did not stop until we were back in Goathland. At Simon Howe we turnd left blown along the ridge to Two Howes by the icy wind full of sleet. As the name suggests there are two mounds close to each other on the end of the ridge about a mile from Simon Howe. We followed the path down from the end of the ridge passing a large pond used for duck shooting, and over a small rise to see Goathland below us. One of my friends pointed out that this part of the moor overlooking the village had been a golf course in the past and he indicated the remains of a tee and a green with bunkers near the path. We walked down the village street passed the church and back to the car park. The whole route was just over eight miles and took us about four hours including our stops.

Birch tree covered in 'warty' growths
Birch tree covered in 'warty' growths

Goathland from golfcourse site through the sleet.
Goathland through the sleet from golfcourse site