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Following a forest track back to the car park near the end of our walk
Following a forest track back to the car park near the end of our walk

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Route No. 803 - Wednesday 12 February 2020
Circuit of Yearsley Woods from
North Moor Lane car park - 6km
Howardian Hills . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer 300 Howardian Hills & Malton


Part of the parking area off North Moor Lane at the start of our walk
Part of the parking area off North Moor Lane at the start of our walk

Today there was a lull between the tail end of Storm Ciara last weekend and the start of Storm Dennis this coming weekend with a fine bright day. It was still quite windy but nothing like the recent gales. Some minor roads were still flooded so we opted for a local walk away from any watercourse. My friend Jim and I drove from our homes in Easingwold just a few kilometres to the car park off North Moor Lane at map ref. SE 584 753. The parking is at the side of a wide stony forest access track and it provides free public access to Yearsley Woods. The parking area is about 1km north west of the crossroads at the village of Yearsley.

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Setting off from the parking area
Setting off from the parking area

About 20m further away from the barrier there is another stony forest track going off to the north. This was our route away from the parking area. We walked along this track ignoring any side tracks for about 700m following the track around a long right hand bend to a junction in the tracks as we were heading down a long slope.

It is probably just me getting dafter as I get older but I find forest navigation quite a challenge so I use my phone gps to keep track of our location. At the northeastern end of the trackside parking area, about 250m from the road, there is a locked vehicle barrier across the track. Just before the barrier there is a track coming in from the southeast.

Following the stony forest track down into the forest
Following the stony forest track down into the forest

About 700m from the car park we came to this junction in the tracks and took the middle track of the three tracks ahead
About 700m from the car park we came to this junction in the tracks and took the middle track of the three tracks ahead

Continuing down the hillside from the junction
Continuing down the hillside from the junction

the same fork in the track where we kept to the left fork
. . . the same fork in the track where we kept to the left fork

(Note: At the end of the bend we could have turned sharp right to follow a stony forest access track up the valley. From this track there is a path across the dam of the lower of the two higher fish ponds to join our route along the track up the valley on the other side of the ponds.) At the end of the bend we ignored the track to the right up the valley and instead after a few metres we turned right off the stony track on to a narrow muddy path down through the trees.

At this junction there were three tracks ahead and we took the middle track of these three still heading downhill. We followed this track for about 600m again ignoring any side tracks. At this point, after 600m along this track we were at the bottom of the slope where the track makes a bend to our left.

At this fork in the track we kept to the left hand fork
At this fork in the track we kept to the left hand fork . . .

Following the track near the bottom of the slope
Following the track near the bottom of the slope

We turned right off the stony track on to a narrow muddy path down through the trees
We turned right off the stony track on to a narrow muddy path down through the trees

Following the narrow muddy track down to the stream
Following the narrow muddy track down to the stream

Climbing up from the stream of the narrow muddy path
Climbing up from the stream of the narrow muddy path

We continued along the narrow path up from the stream to another stony forest access track that was coming along the valley from the lower fish pond up towards the higher fish ponds. At this track we turned right and followed the track towards the higher fish ponds. A little way along the track we met two foresters who were about to fell a tall birch tree next to the track.

The narrow muddy path became very steep, slippery and quite awkward, a bit risky really, where it crossed the stream flowing down from the upper fish ponds to the lower fish pond. The path crosses an old earthwork embankment shown on the OS Explorer map. I speculated to myself that the badly eroded embankment looks like the old breached dam of another former fish pond?

Crossing the stream on the slippery erroded path
Crossing the stream on the slippery eroded path

Muddy path  about to join the forest track up the valley
Muddy path about to join the forest track up the valley

One of the foresters explains to Jim why the birch tree has to be felled
One of the foresters explains to Jim why the birch tree has to be felled

Following the track up the valley with Park Wood on our left
Following the track up the valley with Park Wood on our left

The hillside to the left of the track here is called Park Wood on the OS Explorer map, but the wooded hillside had recently been clear-felled. After about 300m along this track we came to the dam on the first of the two higher fish ponds. (Note: This is where we would have joined the track if we had used the alternative route noted above.)

One of the foresters explained that the birch tree was unstable and was being felled to keep the track safe. He told us that there was a fallen tree across the track a few hundred metres ahead and the removal of this fallen tree would be their next job.

Park Wood recently harvested on our left
Park Wood recently harvested on our left

The first of the two higher fish pond seen from the dam
The first of the two higher fish pond seen from the dam


Path through the rhododendrons by the edge of the pond

Back on the forest track at the fallen tree
Back on the forest track at the fallen tree

However after only about 100m along the track we came to the fallen tree that the foresters had warned us about. It was lying across the whole track opposite the dam of the higher fish pond. On closer inspection it was easy enough to walk between the branches and climb over the tree trunk to continue along the track. The top pond seemed to have been drained and was overgrown.

There was a footpath through the rhododendrons along the edge of the pond here instead of staying on the stony track but after about 50m the path was blocked by broken branches after the storm last weekend so we walked up the bank back to the stony track to continue on our way up the valley.

Pond seen from the path
Pond seen from the path

The top pond was dry and overgrown
The top pond was dry and overgrown

Continuing up the valley from the fallen tree
Continuing up the valley from the fallen tree

Following the track up the valley
Following the track up the valley

Unusual seat by the track
Unusual seat by the track

Walking along the straight track from the junction
Walking along the straight track from the junction

Another long straight after the right hand bend
Another long straight after the right hand bend

After about 200m along the straight track, it bent to our right and a grassy track joined it from our left. After the bend we continued along the straight track for about 350m to another pair of junctions in the track. There were two tracks off to our right and we took the second turning to our right.

From the fallen tree at the dam of the top pond we walked along the track for about 400m past two large old beech trees and an unusual seat on our left, to a 'T'-junction in the track. We approached the junction along the stalk of the 'T' and at the junction we turned right.

Impressive beech tree by the track
Impressive beech tree by the track

We turned right at the 'T'-junction in the track
We turned right at the 'T'-junction in the track

Right hand bend at the end of the straight track
Right hand bend at the end of the straight track

Approaching the next junction along the straight track
Approaching the next junction along the straight track

Our right turn at the second track
Our right turn at the second track

Passing the Nissen Hut on the right of the track
Passing the Nissen Hut on the right of the track

track at the edge of the forest after the sharp right hand bend
Track at the edge of the forest after the sharp right hand bend

More bends and junctions along the track
More bends and junctions along the track

From this bend we continued around a series of bends, ignoring the side tracks for about 600m. Here (map ref. SE 592 749) at the last bend, the track turned right and then continued in a straight line for about 260m.

About 50m from the junction, as the track bent to our left, there was a wartime style Nissen Hut with a timber front to the right of the track. From the Nissen Hut the track ran straight for about 700m to a sharp right hand bend.

Following the long straight track from the Nissen Hut
Following the long straight track from the Nissen Hut

Track about to turn sharp left down a steep dip
Track about to turn sharp left down a steep dip

Heading for the last of a series of bends after this junction
Heading for the last of a series of bends after this junction

Bend to the right, the last in a series of bends before another long straight
Bend to the right, the last in a series of bends before another long straight

After about 260m along the straight we turned sharp left
After about 260m along the straight we turned sharp left

Following the straight track across a small valley
Following the straight track across a small valley

Nearing the parking area at the end of the walk
Nearing the parking area at the end of the walk

The track crossed a little valley and soon came out at the vehicle barrier at the end of the parking area. Here we turned left and returned to our car and the end of our walk. The whole route had been 5.5km and it had taken us about two and a half hours to walk it.

After about 260 along the straight track we turned left and followed this track for about 200m and then followed the track to the right at a bend where there was a grassy track straight ahead towards North Moor Lane. We were now on a straight track heading back to our parking spot about 500m away.

After 200m the track bent right to another long straight
After 200m the track bent right to another long straight

Climbing out of the small valley along the track
Climbing out of the small valley along the track

Returning to the parking area
Returning to the parking area

Back at the car at the end of our walk
Back at the car at the end of our walk

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