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Cawthorn Roman Camps

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Cawthorn Roman Camps
Author: clairesharpuk, Published: 11 May 2016 Walk rating : Rating:star1 Cawthorn Roman Camps Walking Guidestar1 Cawthorn Roman Camps Walking Guidestar1 Cawthorn Roman Camps Walking Guidestar1 Cawthorn Roman Camps Walking Guidestar0 Cawthorn Roman Camps Walking Guide
North Yorkshire, Pickering
Walk Type: Woodland
Cawthorn Roman Camps
Length: 1 miles,  Difficulty: boot Cawthorn Roman Camps Walking Guide
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A 1 mile circular easy-access walk around Cawthorn Roman Camps in North Yorkshire, discovering the earthwork remains of Roman fortifications and spectacular views across the North York Moors.

The path around the camps is mainly a hard, compacted surface and is fairly level. There is a short, undulating section on grass and wet weather may affect this section’s accessibility. There are no stiles, steps or kissing gates on route, but you will need to negotiate two single gates. In dry weather the route is suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs. The site is exposed and quite often subjected to chilly winds so wrap up warm. Entrance to the Roman Camps is free and dogs are welcome. Allow 45 minutes.

From Pickering, on the A170, take Middleton Road, then follow Swainsea Lane. After 5.5km (3.4 miles) turn left at the T-junction. In 0.75km (0.5 miles) turn right onto the access track, signed to Cawthorn Roman Camps. Follow the track ahead and then swinging right to reach the car park in the trees. The post code YO18 8QQ will take you to the northern end of Swainsea Lane, from where you can pick up these directions. There is ample parking, including space specifically reserved for disabled drivers.

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Walk Sections

Start to View Point
Start to View Point

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

Make your way to the welcome information board in the corner of the car park. Standing facing this information board, 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 End
View Point to End

Start point: 54.2999 lat, -0.8022 long
End point: 54.2964 lat, -0.7989 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, where the walk began.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2016 by the author clairesharpuk 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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