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Visit Ryedale: Helmsley and Beck Dale

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Visit Ryedale: Helmsley and Beck Dale
Author: VisitRyedale, Published: 14 May 2016 Walk rating : Rating:star1 Visit Ryedale: Helmsley and Beck Dalestar1 Visit Ryedale: Helmsley and Beck Dalestar1 Visit Ryedale: Helmsley and Beck Dalestar1 Visit Ryedale: Helmsley and Beck Dalestar0 Visit Ryedale: Helmsley and Beck Dale
North Yorkshire, Ryedale
Walk Type: Woodland
Visit Ryedale: Helmsley and Beck Dale
Length: 7 miles,  Difficulty: boot Visit Ryedale: Helmsley and Beck Dale boot Visit Ryedale: Helmsley and Beck Dale boot Visit Ryedale: Helmsley and Beck Dale
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A 6.5 mile (10.5km) circular walk from the market town of Helmsley in Ryedale. The route heads north through the beautiful woodland belt of Beck Dale, following an idyllic babbling brook, before crossing a few fields and returning via another woodland belt, Ash Dale. 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

The walk has just gentle slopes for the most part, with one steep climb about half way round. Whilst some of the tracks are firm stone, many of the other stretches through woodland can be muddy in winter and after periods of rain. You will need to negotiate several single bridle gates throughout plus one stile (which can easily be avoided if necessary). You will be sharing a few of the fields with sheep so take particular care with dogs. One field could also be holding a mixture of cattle and sheep (although this one field can also be avoided if necessary). Allow 3 hours.

There are public toilets in Borogate (just south of Helmsley Market Place at the start and end of the walk). If you are looking for refreshments, you will be spoilt for choice with pubs, cafes and restaurants in Helmsley at the start or end of the walk. OS Map: Explorer OL26 North York Moors Western 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.

Helmsley is located on the River Rye, on the A170 between Thirsk and Pickering. The walk starts and finishes in the Market Place in the centre of Helmsley. If you are coming by car, long stay parking is available in the Cleveland Way Car Park. The fee for up to 6 hours is £4.30 (correct Apr 2016) or half price if you use a Ryedale Parking Smartcard. Approximate post code YO62 5AT. From the car park, simply follow the signs to the Market Place. If you are coming by public transport alight at the bus stops in Market Place. For help with planning your journey by public transport please visit

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Walk Sections

Start to Beck Dale Wood
Start to Beck Dale Wood

Start point: 54.2462 lat, -1.0616 long
End point: 54.2497 lat, -1.0679 long

The walk begins in the Market Place, directly outside the library and town hall. Standing with your back to the library, turn left to reach the top of the Market Place. Cross over to reach the far pavement and turn left along this. Follow the pavement as it swings right, passing All Saints Church on your right.

Cross over the first side road, Canons Garth Lane and follow the road as it begins to swings left, crossing over a second side road marked as a dead end. At this stage you will find the babbling brook, Boro Beck or Borough Beck, running on your right. (This idyllic beck will be your companion for much of the outward leg). Just before the pavement ends at the property called Mill Scut, fork right to join a narrow paved footpath with the beck running immediately on your right.

Further along, the path swings right over a footbridge and then left to become a narrow stone path leading you gently uphill. At the top of this short slope you will emerge to a staggered T-junction with a vehicle track at the edge of Beck Dale Wood.

Beck Dale Wood to Steep Climb
Beck Dale Wood to Steep Climb

Start point: 54.2497 lat, -1.0679 long
End point: 54.2754 lat, -1.0878 long

Turn left along this vehicle track with the beck running down to your left. Pass a timber yard on your left and continue past a long grass pasture on your left. Beyond the pasture, stay with the stone track which continues with the beck running across to your left and the pretty slopes of Beck Dale Wood each side. In the late spring, these woodland banks are peppered with bluebells and wild garlic.

Further along you will come to a major fork in the track. Take the right-hand branch, a level vehicle track which is signed as the footpath. Follow this track with the woodland slope to your right and soon the beck will once again appear immediately on your left. Stay with the main stone track for some distance, passing through two gates and crossing a few small bridges as the beck meanders from side to side of the path. Eventually you will reach a fingerpost, marking the point where the track begins its steep climb.

Steep Climb to Baxton's Sprunt
Steep Climb to Baxton's Sprunt

Start point: 54.2754 lat, -1.0878 long
End point: 54.2801 lat, -1.0825 long

Stay with the main track which bears right here to begin the steep climb, with the beck running at the bottom of the slope to your left. At the top of the first section of the climb, you will come to a fingerpost on your right, which signs the footpath to the left. Turn left here (but NOT sharp left onto the private track) to join the subtle narrow unmade path leading uphill through the pine trees. The path soon levels off and continues with a fenced sheep pasture just to your right.

At the end of this stretch of path, bear right to merge with a track for just 20 metres and then turn right through the belt of trees to reach a single wooden gate. Go through this gate into the crop field and walk straight ahead, following the fence line on your left. At the end of the first crop field, go ahead through the gate to enter a sheep pasture (with a second, larger sheep pasture now across the fence to your left).

You will come to a stile ahead. Here you have two choices. To follow the official route of the public footpath, cross the stile into the second L-shape pasture (which may be holding sheep and cattle), turn immediately right and follow this right-hand field boundary (ahead and then left) to reach the gate out to Baxton’s Sprunt Road. Alternatively, if you wish to avoid the stile and cattle, turn right immediately before the stile, walk ahead then turn left through a field gate (which is usually unlocked) and follow the track along the edge of the crop field (with the fenced sheep pasture on your left) which leads you out to Baxton’s Sprunt Road.

Baxton's Sprunt to Ash Dale Plantation
Baxton's Sprunt to Ash Dale Plantation

Start point: 54.2801 lat, -1.0825 long
End point: 54.2763 lat, -1.076 long

Having emerged to Baxton’s Sprunt Road, turn right along the road, taking care of any occasional traffic. Continue for just the length of the crop field running on your right and then turn left through the field gate. Follow the track with a crop field on your left and a hedgerow running on your right. At the end of the first field, pass through the field gate ahead to enter a sheep pasture. Follow the obvious stone track ahead and pass through the next gate to enter Ash Dale Plantation.

Ash Dale Plantation to Sheep Pasture
Ash Dale Plantation to Sheep Pasture

Start point: 54.2763 lat, -1.076 long
End point: 54.2539 lat, -1.0606 long

Follow the track which now swings right to reach a junction of paths marked with a fingerpost. Turn right here to join the vehicle track signed as the Tabular Hills Walk towards Helmsley. Stay with this stone track which soon becomes a sunken green thoroughfare with steep woodland banks each side. Beyond this stretch, the track leads you between a beautiful collection of majestic conical conifers.

Now simply follow the track through the mixed woodland for another 1.2 miles, to reach a fingerpost on your right. NOTE: This is set a few metres back from the path so be careful not to miss it – it sits about 100 metres after a bench on your right and where the green margins narrow.

Fork right here, leaving the main track to join a narrow unmade path (signed as the Tabular Hills Walk to Helmsley). Pass through the single gate ahead to enter a sheep pasture.

Sheep Pasture to End
Sheep Pasture to End

Start point: 54.2539 lat, -1.0606 long
End point: 54.2466 lat, -1.062 long

Walk straight ahead following the line of fence on your left. Pass through the gate ahead to enter the second pasture and turn immediately right (with the fence on your right). At the end, pass through the gate ahead to enter a third pasture and turn immediately left (following the fence and then hedgerow on your left). In the field corner turn right along the bottom of this third field. Ignore the stile on your left (marked as No Right of Way) and continue to the field corner. Turn left through the gate into the playing fields.

Walk straight ahead to join the tarmac path, with the cricket ground over the fence to your right. Pass through the next gate and keep ahead on the path and then a side road to reach a T-junction with Carlton Lane. Cross over to the far pavement and turn right along this. Follow the pavement as it swings hard left and leads you downhill towards All Saints Church.

Turn left into the churchyard and follow the paved path passing the church on your right. Bear left at the fork and you will emerge from the churchyard directly into Market Place where the walk began. Helmsley has plenty on offer to while away the rest of your day, with everything you'd expect in a quintessentially English market town and more: a vibrant market square, independent, specialist shops, excellent places to eat and drink, an imposing castle, friendly locals, a babbling brook, a walled garden, bird of prey centre, microbrewery, open air swimming pool and more than 50 listed buildings. For more visitor information on the area including events and accommodation, go to

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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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