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Visit Ryedale: Pickering and Cawthorn Camps

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Visit Ryedale: Pickering and Cawthorn Camps
Author: visitryedale, Published: 10 May 2016 Walk rating : Rating:star0 Visit Ryedale: Pickering and Cawthorn Campsstar0 Visit Ryedale: Pickering and Cawthorn Campsstar0 Visit Ryedale: Pickering and Cawthorn Campsstar0 Visit Ryedale: Pickering and Cawthorn Campsstar0 Visit Ryedale: Pickering and Cawthorn Camps
North Yorkshire, Ryedale
Walk Type: Footpaths and byways
Visit Ryedale: Pickering and Cawthorn Camps
Length: 10 miles,  Difficulty: boot Visit Ryedale: Pickering and Cawthorn Camps boot Visit Ryedale: Pickering and Cawthorn Camps
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A 10 mile (16km) ‘there and back’ walk from the market town of Pickering in Ryedale. The route heads north through the simple landscape of woodland belts, quiet lanes, arable fields and pastures to visit Cawthorn Roman Camps, with its earth remains of Roman fortifications and spectacular views across the moors. This walk is part of the Visit Ryedale Collection, published through a collaboration between iFootpath and Ryedale District Council. For more visitor information on the area including events and accommodation, go to www.VisitRyedale.co.uk

The walk follows gentle but long gradients throughout, indeed it is generally one long steady climb on the way to the camps and then one steady descent on the way back. Some of the paths can get very muddy at times so good boots are a must. You will need to negotiate two stiles in each direction (one of which has a tight fence surround so dogs may need a lift over) plus a few single gates. The vast majority of the fields are arable, but you will be crossing two sheep pastures so take particular care with dogs. Entrance to the Roman Camps is free and dogs are welcome. Allow 5 hours.

There are public toilets in The Ropery car park (at the start of the walk). If you are looking for refreshments, you could stock up on supplies in Pickering and then enjoy a picnic on one of the benches in the Roman Camps and there are plenty of pubs and cafes centred around the Market Place in Pickering at the end of the walk. OS Map: Explorer OL27 North York Moors Eastern Area. This walk follows public footpaths and bridleways which cross private and public land. Please respect people’s privacy, keep dogs under control and remember the Countryside Code.

Pickering is located on the junction between the A169 and the A170, about 17 miles inland from Scarborough. The walk starts and finishes outside the library on The Ropery, opposite the entrance for the short-stay car park. If you are coming by car, we suggest parking in the Vivis Lane long stay pay and display car park (just south of the A170) which will allow you to spend a few hours exploring Pickering after your walk. The car park fee is £5.80 for the whole day or half price if you use a Ryedale Parking Smartcard (correct May 2016). Approximate post code YO18 8TB. From the car park, walk back to the junction with the A170, turn right along the A170 and then take the first left into The Ropery (passing The Ropery short stay car park on your right). You will reach the library on your left. If you are coming by public transport, The Ropery bus stops are directly outside the library. For help with planning your journey by public transport please visit www.traveline.info.

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Walk Sections

Start to Crook Lane
Start to Crook Lane

Start point: 54.2456 lat, -0.7793 long
End point: 54.253 lat, -0.7927 long

Standing with your back to Pickering Library, turn left along the pavement and follow this over Pickering Beck. A few metres later, immediately before Pickering Station, turn left into Bridge Street. Follow this pavement crossing over the beck once more and passing Beck Isle Museum across to your right. Swap to the right-hand pavement at this point.

Continue ahead, on Potter Hill, passing the 1885 Methodist Chapel across to your left. At the end of this road, follow the pavement as it swings right into Middleton Road. Where Middleton Road bends left, follow this (ignoring the side road ahead into Beacon Park). Follow this road for about 0.5 miles, passing the junior school and staying with the road as it emerges from the houses and continues with fields on your right. Just at the end of an elevated section of pavement (and opposite a small side road on your left) turn right onto a sunken grass track, between two hedgerows, Crook Lane.

Crook Lane to Sheep Pasture
Crook Lane to Sheep Pasture

Start point: 54.253 lat, -0.7927 long
End point: 54.2695 lat, -0.7876 long

Follow this ancient green lane, now a narrow footpath, all the way to its end where you will emerge to the corner of a large crop field. Follow the path, as directed by the arrow, bearing left and following the line of hedgerow on your left. When this hedgerow ends, bear right (at about 1 o’clock) on the narrow path which passes diagonally through the crop field.

At the far side, bear right and follow the field-edge path with a hedgerow running on your left. When this hedgerow ends, continue ahead on the path between crops which leads you past a large copse of trees on your right and on to reach a stile at the edge of a sheep pasture.

Sheep Pasture to High Nova Farm
Sheep Pasture to High Nova Farm

Start point: 54.2695 lat, -0.7876 long
End point: 54.2843 lat, -0.7977 long

Cross this stile into the sheep pasture (there is a sliding dog gate incorporated within the stile) and turn left to follow the path around the left-hand field boundary (ahead and then right). In the far left-hand corner cross the stile to leave the pasture and keep straight ahead with a hedgerow on your left and large crop field on your right.

At the far end you will emerge out alongside a beautiful old sycamore tree to reach a junction with a farm access track. Turn left along this. Take time to enjoy the views which have opened up across to your left. Continue to the end of the farm track where you will emerge directly to a junction with Middleton Lane. Do NOT take the stile ahead, instead turn right along the lane, taking care of any occasional traffic. Follow the lane as it bears left, climbing steadily, passing some barns on your left and further along passing High Nova Farm on your right.

High Nova Farm to Welcome Board
High Nova Farm to Welcome Board

Start point: 54.2843 lat, -0.7977 long
End point: 54.2963 lat, -0.799 long

Keep straight ahead to join the unmade track, signed as a public bridleway. You will come to a T-junction with a belt of woodland ahead. Turn right and follow the fenced grass track with the woodland running on your left. At the end of the grass track you will emerge to the edge of a crop field. Keep straight ahead on the path through the crop and pick up the continuation of the grass track at the far side. Keep ahead on the track which leads you to a wide metal gate ahead. (NOTE: This next field is likely to be holding sheep).

Pass through the gate to enter the pasture and walk at about 10 o’clock, initially following a sunken grass track, passing a couple of large trees on your left and then following a line of fence on your left. At the bottom leave the field via the wide metal gate, keep ahead for a few metres along the stone track and you will reach a T-junction with the road. Turn right along the road edge or grass verge (taking care of any traffic) for about 200 metres and then turn left onto the access lane signed to Cawthorn Roman Camps. Follow the access lane ahead and then bending right into the parking area. Keep left at the fork within the parking area to reach an information board welcoming you to the camps.

Welcome Board to View Point
Welcome Board to View Point

Start point: 54.2963 lat, -0.799 long
End point: 54.2999 lat, -0.8022 long

Standing facing this noticeboard, turn left to join the stone path (waymarked with a Roman helmet symbol). You will be following these waymarks for the full loop around the camps. At the first fork keep right and pass through the single wooden gate to enter the fenced area of the Roman Camps. Keep ahead on the stone path, passing an area of open heath on your left and then winding through the woodland.

As you emerge from the trees, stay with the main path which bears left to follow the old earth embankment wall and ditch of one of the fortifications on your right. It is worth pausing a moment here to understand the history of the site. Cawthorn Camps is a group of three military fortifications built by the Romans between 90AD and 130AD. The ditches and banks still stand as an impressive reminder of their scale. Many features, including streets and embanked enclosures, exist in the interiors of the main defensive earthworks. The camps were bought by the North York Moors National Park in 1983. Removing trees and scrub from the forts has safeguarded the archaeology and the stone footpaths have been created to help reduce the impact of people visiting the monument. During the Second World War, the Home Guard used the area as a training ground, just as the Romans had done centuries earlier.

Cross the footbridge ahead and 50 metres later stay with the main stone path which swings hard left, passing a bench on your right. This is the first (minor) viewpoint and one option for a picnic spot. Continue on the path winding ahead which becomes a grass path leading you straight through the centre of one of the earthwork fort remains. As you emerge at the far side, you will come to a T-junction with another stone path. It is worth taking a short detour to your right to visit the platform which holds a bench and information board, the main viewpoint within the site and ideal for a picnic.

View Point to Field Gate
View Point to Field Gate

Start point: 54.2999 lat, -0.8022 long
End point: 54.2933 lat, -0.8017 long

Take time to enjoy the views from this spectacular vantage point. The vistas from the viewpoint almost defy description, seeming to stretch forever on a clear day. From this vantage point the splendour of the North York Moors quite literally unfolds in front of you – across Cropton Forest and on across the beautiful moors.

When you have finished at the viewpoint, head back along the stone path. Stay with the main stone path as it swings left around the edge of the earthworks and then swings right leading you into the trees. Pass through the small wooden gate and continue through the trees. At the staggered T-junction, bear right and follow the path back to the welcome board within the car park. (From this point you will be retracing your steps back to Pickering). Turn right to leave the car park and follow the entrance drive as it bears left and leads you to the T-junction with the road. Turn right along the road (taking care of traffic) for 200 metres and then, where the road bends right, turn left onto the stone and dirt track which leads you to a field gate.

Field Gate to Farm Track
Field Gate to Farm Track

Start point: 54.2933 lat, -0.8017 long
End point: 54.277 lat, -0.7949 long

Pass through the gate to enter the sheep pasture and walk directly ahead, following the fence line on your right. Where this fence steps back, simply continue ahead passing to the left of the trees within the field and leaving the pasture via the gate in the top corner. Now follow the obvious bridleway track ahead, with open crop fields to your left. Cross straight over a section of crop field and keep ahead to re-join the track.

At the fork, keep left and you will emerge out to the end of a tarmac lane, with High Nova Farm on your left. Follow the tarmac lane going ahead and then bending right and right again. As you draw level with a stile and field gate on your right, turn left onto the farm access track, signed as a public footpath.

Farm Track to Tunnel of Trees
Farm Track to Tunnel of Trees

Start point: 54.277 lat, -0.7949 long
End point: 54.2623 lat, -0.7868 long

Follow the farm track ahead and, just 40 metres after a broken wall and hedgerow begins on your right, turn right to join a path along the edge of a crop field with the hedgerow running on your right. Along this stretch you will have great views across the valley into Pickering at about 11 o’clock. At the end of this crop field, cross the stile ahead to enter the sheep pasture. Follow the right-hand field boundary, ahead and then left, to reach the stile visible at about 11 o’clock.

Leave the field via this stile and, with your back to it, walk straight ahead on the path through the crop field which leads you immediately to the right of a large copse of trees. Stay with this path which soon runs with a hedgerow on your right. Part way along the field, just after a break in the hedgerow on your right, look out for a waymarker post on your right. Fork left here, following a narrow path through the crop to reach the end of a line of trees at the far side. Join the path running immediately to the left of this tree line which swings steadily right, leading you to the entrance of a tunnel of trees.

Tunnel of Trees to End
Tunnel of Trees to End

Start point: 54.2623 lat, -0.7868 long
End point: 54.2458 lat, -0.7792 long

Follow this narrow tree-lined path all the way back down to the T-junction with Middleton Road. Turn left along the pavement which leads you ahead for a long stretch before bending right and then left into Potter Hill. Keep ahead on this pavement crossing over Pickering Beck to reach the crossroads with the rail station on your left and the Market Place ahead. Turn right for a short distance to reach the library where this walk began.

With a castle, museum, several theatres and a heritage steam railway, Pickering has plenty on offer to while away the rest of your day. Surrounding the Market Place you will find several pubs and cafes as well as traditional local shops selling top quality goods and, in many cases, local and fair-trade produce. For more visitor information on the area including events and accommodation, go to www.VisitRyedale.co.uk

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2016 by the author visitryedale and may not be reproduced without permission.


The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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