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Helmsley and Ash Dale Woods

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Helmsley and Ash Dale Woods
Author: Claire, Published: 06 Jun 2013 Walk Rating:star1 Helmsley and Ash Dale Woods Walking Guide star1 Helmsley and Ash Dale Woods Walking Guide star1 Helmsley and Ash Dale Woods Walking Guide star1 Helmsley and Ash Dale Woods Walking Guide star0 Helmsley and Ash Dale Woods Walking Guide
North Yorkshire, N York Moors
Walk Type: Town or city
Helmsley and Ash Dale Woods
Length: 2 miles,  Difficulty: boot Helmsley and Ash Dale Woods Walking Guide
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A 2 mile easy circular walk from the classic medieval market town of Helmsley in North Yorkshire. The walk begins in the market square before heading out alongside the beck to reach playing fields and sheep pastures. The route then skirts through the edge of Ash Dale Woods before following the quiet roads back into town.

The walk is relatively flat with just some very steady inclines and there are no stiles, just a few gates. Half the paths are well made or pavements, but the field and woodland section can get quite muddy after wet weather. Allow 1 hour.

The walk starts from the market square in Helmsley. Approximate post code YO62 5BL. The market square has pay and display parking for up to 2 hours (which is plenty to complete the walk). If you intend to be in the town longer (and there are plenty of lovely shops and refreshment options to enjoy) follow the signs to the long stay parking which is just a couple of streets away then make your way back to the market square.

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Walk Sections

Start to Mill Scut
Start to Mill Scut

Start point: 54.2461 lat, -1.0615 long
End point: 54.2484 lat, -1.0659 long

Stand in the market square, facing the library and information centre (which is to the right of the Royal Oak pub). Take the small road passing between the pub and the information centre. At the T-junction turn right along Castlegate.

Immediately to your left are the remains of Helmsley Castle. A castle was first built here in 1120 and the building has evolved over the centuries from a medieval fortress, to a Tudor mansion, a Civil War stronghold and a Victorian ruin. The ruins are managed by English Heritage and are open to the public should you wish to visit.

Keep ahead passing the church on the right and cross to the left-hand pavement when you can. Continue between the beck running to the right and pretty cottages to the left. Pass the scout hut on the left. As the road begins to swing left, look out on the right for a property called Mill Scut (a few hundred yards before you leave the village).

Mill Scut to Warwick Place
Mill Scut to Warwick Place

Start point: 54.2484 lat, -1.0659 long
End point: 54.2484 lat, -1.0612 long

Cross over and fork right here onto the narrow paved footpath running immediately beside the beck. The beck runs fast and clear over its stony bottom and is a popular attraction within the town. Follow the path as it swings right over a footbridge and then swings left to continue on the narrow stone path heading uphill. At the top of the short slope you will emerge to a staggered T-junction with Beckdale Road (just a stone track at this point).

Turn sharp right and follow the lane over the brow of the hill. Continue past cottages on the right and then keep ahead to merge with the main road, passing a cemetery on the left. At the end of the cemetery, turn left into Warwick Place.

Warwick Place to Ash Dale Woods
Warwick Place to Ash Dale Woods

Start point: 54.2484 lat, -1.0612 long
End point: 54.2543 lat, -1.0609 long

At the end of the cul-de-sac, keep ahead on the narrow tarmac path. Go through a gate and follow the path along the edge of a playing field with a cricket pitch to the left.

(NOTE: There is some construction happening in 2017 for the next stretch. The footpath will be open throughout, but you will be walking on an enclosed path alongside building work, rather than open pastures, for part of it.)

At the far end pass, through a gate into a sheep pasture. Large-scale sheep farming, wool production and weaving were the mainstay of Helmsley’s economy for several centuries. Turn right and follow two sides of the field boundary to reach the gate in the opposite corner. Pass through this and keep ahead through the next field with the fence to the left.

At the end of this second field you’ll reach two gates – one ahead and one left. Take the one to the left and follow the grass path uphill with a fence to your right, heading for the woodland ahead. Pass through the gate and keep ahead for a few yards through the woodland edge to reach a T-junction with the main woodland track in Ash Dale Woods.

Ash Dale Woods to Bondgate
Ash Dale Woods to Bondgate

Start point: 54.2543 lat, -1.0609 long
End point: 54.2476 lat, -1.056 long

Turn right along the woodland track. The original name for the town, listed in the Domesday book, was ‘Elmeslac’ which means ‘Helm’s forest clearing’ and indicates the nature of the landscape at that time. The wide variety of native wildflowers here suggests that Ash Dales Woods is at least 400 years old. In the spring you’ll be able to enjoy bluebells, primroses, wood anemones and plenty of wild garlic.

The track eventually emerges alongside a vehicle barrier to reach a T-junction with Carlton Road. Turn right and walk along the road edge, taking care of any traffic. Continue on the road as you reach residential properties to the right and more sheep pastures to the left. The road ends at a T-junction with Bondgate.

Bondgate to End
Bondgate to End

Start point: 54.2476 lat, -1.056 long
End point: 54.2465 lat, -1.0609 long

Turn right along Bondgate and follow the pavement as it passes through traditional limestone cottages. Keep ahead and you will reach the market square on the left where the walk began. Pass through the square and into Bridge Street where you will find Scotts of Helmsley, an award winning fish and chip cafe, for some well-earned hospitality.

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network Helmsley and Ash Dale Woods Walking Guide Original GPX source file

Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2013 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.

4 comments for "Helmsley and Ash Dale Woods"

This would have been better but the building works have shut off a portion of it between points 3 and 4. The rest is fine though.

By plattyfc54 on 13 Sep 2017

Lovely walk but be aware the short part past the cricket club is being developed and is now the edge of a building site, not a sheep pasture. The footpath has been maintained though.

ADMIN RESPONSE: Many thanks for letting us know. We have checked with the North York Moors Authority and the footpath is due to remain open throughout construction. We have updated the walk so that other walkers know about this.

By feemackirdy on 17 Jun 2017

This walk can be extended to a seven mile walk. Next time we do it i will track and up load.

By skipnjude on 15 Apr 2015

Nice, easy stroll for a breath of fresh air.

By sealdriver on 14 Jun 2013

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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