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St. Gregory's Minster, Kirk Dale

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Route No. 816 - Wednesday 19 August 2020
A170 Kirkdale, Hold Caldron, St. Gregory's Minster,
Kirkdale Lane circuit - 6km
North York Moors . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer OL26 North York Moors Western area


Leaving the lay-by on the A170 at the start of our walk
Leaving the lay-by on the A170 at the start of our walk

Note: Where Hodge Beck rises in the North York Moors the valley of Hodge Beck is called Bransdale with the tiny village of Cockayne at its head. Downstream of Bransdale the valley is known as Sleightholme Dale. The lower part of the valley downstream of Sleightholme Dale is known as Kirk Dale. Our walk today is in Kirk Dale.

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Turning right onto the bridleway along the edge of the field
Turning right onto the bridleway along the edge of the field

Gate onto the lane at the end of the field
Gate onto the lane at the end of the field

Straight away turned right to follow a public bridleway along the edge of a field for about 600m, past a row of poplar trees, to a lane where we turned right. We walked along the lane past the junction with Kirkdale Lane to the next turning on the left that leads to St Gregory's Minster. At this junction there is a finger post indicating the route to the minster along the lane and a steep bridleway up the bank on our left to the fields above.

This morning my friend, Jim, and I drove along the A170 eastwards from Helmsley through the villages of Beadlam & Nawton to a large lay-by on the left. On the road side verge between the lay-by and the main road there is a sculpture of three large circular chain links. We parked in the lay-by at map ref. SE 677 849. We set off from the southwestern end of the lay-by.

Bridleway along the field edge past a row of poplar trees
Bridleway along the field edge past a row of poplar trees

Following the lane towards St Gregory's Minster
Following the lane towards St Gregory's Minster

Turning left off the lane onto a bridleway up a steep bank to the fields above
Turning left off the lane onto a bridleway up a steep bank to the fields above

Turning right at the top of the bank round the edge of the field
Turning right at the top of the bank round the edge of the field

Continuing round the edge of the 2nd potato field
Continuing round the edge of the 2nd potato field

Bridleway through the gate at the top edge of the wood
Bridleway through the gate at the top edge of the wood

On our right the steep wooded bank dropping down to Hodge Beck. About halfway across the second potato field we passed through a bridleway gate and followed the bridleway along the top edge of the woodland for about 150m out to a minor road.

We climbed up the bank along the bridleway and at the top of the bank we followed the bridleway around the edge of the field. We continued along the bridleway around the edge of two large fields of potatoes on our left.

Bridleway round the edge of a potato field
Bridleway round the edge of a potato field

Gate halfway across the 2nd potato field
Gate halfway across the 2nd potato field

Bridleway along the top edge of the wood
Bridleway along the top edge of the wood

The bridleway along the top edge of the wood came out onto a minor road
The bridleway along the top edge of the wood came out onto a minor road

We turned right to walk alon the road down the hillside
We turned right to walk along the road down the hillside

The road into Hold Caldron
The road into Hold Caldron

On our left there was a series of stone built cottages. We walked along the access road between these buildings to a bridge over Hodge Beck. The beck flowed over a rock step to the left of the bridge.

At the road we turned right and walk down the valley side of Kirkdale towards Hold Caldron. We continued along the road to the entrance to Hold Caldron where there was a complex of farm buildings on our right.

Walking along the road towards Hold Caldron
Walking along the road towards Hold Caldron

Bridge over Hodge Beck at Hold
Bridge over Hodge Beck at Hold Caldron

Hodge Beck on the upstream side of the bridge at Hold Caldron
Hodge Beck on the upstream side of the bridge at Hold Caldron

Over the bridge we turned right along the access track
Over the bridge we turned right along the access track

Climbing up the hillside along the bridleway
Climbing up the hillside along the bridleway

After about 200m climbing up through the woods along the bridleway there was a fork in the bridleway and we kept to the right hand fork that began dropping back down the valley side. After another 200m we were walking along the bridleway next to the beck.

Just across the bridge we turned right following a bridleway along a farm track. After about 30m the bridleway turned to our left off the farm track, climbing up the wooded valley side.

After abut 30m the bridleway turned left off the access track
After abut 30m the bridleway turned left off the access track

Dropping down along the bridleway to the beck
Dropping down along the bridleway to the beck

Following the bridleway next to Hodge Beck
Following the bridleway next to Hodge Beck

The bridleway turned left along the edge of the woodland
The bridleway turned left along the edge of the woodland

Bridleway passing through more woodland to the next field
Bridleway passing through more woodland to the next field

Bridleway passing through more woodland to the next field
Bridleway passing through more woodland to the next field

After about 500m the bridleway turned to our right and emerged from the wood into some rough pasture with a mown track across it.

We walked next to the beck for about 350m and then the bridleway turned to our left along the edge of the woodland with a field between the edge of the wood and the beck.

There was a field between the bridleway and the beck
There was a field between the bridleway and the beck

Bridleway passing through more woodland to the next field
Bridleway passing through more woodland to the next field

Bridleway leaving the wood into the next field
Bridleway leaving the wood into the next field

In the next field the bridleway followed a mown track
In the next field the bridleway followed a mown track

Crossing the field along a mown track
Crossing the field along a mown track

Mown track from the beck towards St. Gregory's Minster
Mown track from the beck towards St. Gregory's Minster

The route of the bridleway crosses the beck about 30m upstream of the 'ford' and after heavy rain when the beck was flowing the bridleway crossed a bridge here. But years ago the bridge was washed away in a flood. I assume the bridge has been replaced by now, but I do not know. (I should have checked but never thought about it at the time!) Across the ford we followed the track to a gate at the side of St. Gregory's Minster.

We followed the bridleway along this mown track and then the track bent to our left and then right across the course of Hodge Beck. This part of the beck normally runs underground and the stony bed of the beck is dry. This dry crossing is marked as a ford on the OS Explorer map and this is where we crossed the beck.

Crossing the dry bed of Hodge Beck at the 'ford'
Crossing the dry bed of Hodge Beck at the 'ford'

Gate from the field at the side of St. Gregory's Minster
Gate from the field at the side of St. Gregory's Minster


St. Gregory's Minster, Kirk Dale


Western Red Cedar at St Gregory's Minster

Some centuries later a porch was added to the entrance and the sundial is now inside the porch! There is also a large western red cedar tree in the churchyard by the gate that is recorded on the Ancient Tree Hunt database.

We had a look at St. Gregory's Minster, a lovely old church built just before the Norman invasion. The church 'clock' is a sundial fixed to the wall over the original entrance to the church.

Leaving St. Gregory's Minster along the lane
Leaving St. Gregory's Minster along the lane

Walking along the lane towards the junction with Kirkdale Lane
Walking along the lane towards the junction with Kirkdale Lane

Turning left onto Kirkdale Lane
Turning left onto Kirkdale Lane

Stone parapet where the lane passes over a farm access track
Stone parapet where the lane passes over a farm access track

Here we came to the junction with Kirkdale Lane. Here we turned left and was along Kirkdale Lane for about 600m to the end of the lane at its junction with the A170.

From St Gregory's Minster we walked almost 200m along the lane to the road junction at its end. At this junction we turned right and walked along the road for another 150m.

Following Kirkdale Lane
Following Kirkdale Lane

Continuing along Kirkdale Lane
Continuing along Kirkdale Lane

Nearing the end of Kirkdale Lane at its junction with the A170
Nearing the end of Kirkdale Lane at its junction with the A170

Turning right along the verge of the A170
Turning right along the verge of the A170

The whole route had been almost 6km and it had taken me around three and a quarter hours to walk it, including our visit to St. Gregory's Minster.

At the A170 we turned right and walked along the grass verge for about 200m back to the lay-by and the end of our walk.

Walking along the verge of the A170 back to the lay-by
Walking along the verge of the A170 back to the lay-by

Returning to the lay-by off the A170 at the end of our walk
Returning to the lay-by off the A170 at the end of our walk

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