Looking across the ancient earthworks to Cocksmoor Hall farm from the car park
Looking across the ancient earthworks to Cocksmoor Hall farm from the car park


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Route No 266 - Tuesday 23 September 2008
Cocksmoor Hall car park, Malton Cote farm,
Snainton, Wyedale Hall,
Wikeham Forest circuit - 15 km
North York Moors. . .

Ordnance Survey route map on the Landranger series map base
View the route in Google Earth

Map: Ordnance Survey Explorer OL27 North York Moors Eastern area

We started walking just after 10.00 am, heading west along a track opposite the car park at the edge of the wood.

This morning I met my brother-in-law at the Cocksmoor Hall car park (map ref. SE914868) a few miles north of Snainton on the southern boundary of the North York Moors National Park.

There was a good path in the bottom of one of the dykes for a couple of hundred metres, but then it petered out in to thick scrub and undergrowth. The path was completely impassable.

After about 500m we came to a new wooden finger post indicating a public footpath running in a southerly direction along a pair of ancient dykes.

But the sign was indicating a completely impassable section of path along the dykes to the north. On the southern side of the bridleway we pushed our way through the undergrowth next to the footpath marker into a wood. The undergrowth thinned out and it was possible to find a way through the trees but there was no defined path on the ground.

We forced our way out to the field edge on the western side of the dykes. We made our way along the field edge (as other walkers had done before) for about 500m to map ref. SE906863. Here a bridleway crosses the dykes and there were nice new footpath marker posts with the familiar yellow arrow on a green background.

Here the path doubles back in front of the farm and just beyond the farm heads south again on a grassy track between the fields. We followed the path through the fields for about 1.5 km to map ref. SE914836.

We emerged over a stile into a field above a steep grassy valley where a large herd of beef cattle was grazing. We walked along the top of the slope above the valley to Malton Cote farm.

There was a seat part way down the slope with a nice view across the Vale of Pickering to the northern edge of the Yorkshire Wolds, so we sat down for our lunch break.

At this point the path turned left off the farm track to climb up a slope and cross the fields to a road at map ref. SE917835. We turned right to follow the road for about 150m to a track that forked right off the road and led us down towards Snainton.

The track brought us into Snainton past the old pinfold which is next to the fire station.

There were several butterflies dancing over the nettles opposite the seat and they turned out to be speckled woods which seem to be increasing in numbers.

Here we turned left up the lane signposted to Troutsdale for about 100m.

We walked east along the main road in Snainton for about 200m.

We turned off the track on to a path along the field edge which we followed to Wyedale Hall (map ref. SE926834).

There we turned right along a tarmac lane which soon became a farm track across the fields.

Wyedale Hall is an Anglican retreat and study centre. From Wyedale Hall we followed the path across a road at map ref. SE928835, and through Headon Farm which is now a rather smart housing development.


I looked it up at home to make sure and was able to confirm that it was a Hobby, a small but very fast and manoeuvrable hunter that prefers to chase down its quarry in flight - even swallows and swifts. I think that the continual high pitched cry is to panic the prey.

From Headon Farm we followed the path across the fields to a little cross roads at map ref. SE937848. A few hundred metres after leaving Headon Farm and just before the path drops down into a steep grassy valley the high pitched cry of a bird of prey as it took off from the edge of a little wood and pursued a martin across a wide field and disappeared over the next field.

Now there was great activity in the arable fields with ploughing and seed sowing in progress for next year's cereal crop

A recent short dry spell had allowed the farmers to get the harvest in after the wet summer.

We continued along the road for about a kilometer and then took a track forking left along the edge of the woods next to the Wykeham Forest tree nursery.

From the little crossroads we turned left to head north along the track to a road at map ref. SE930861.

We continued along the track back to our starting point at the car park. The whole route had been about 15 km and had taken us four hours to walk including our stops.

This brought us to a junction in the tracks at map ref. SE924874 where we turned left around the edge of the tree nursery and along the edge of Wykeham forest.