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Ryedale Market Towns Trail Part 6: Kirkbymoorside to Helmsley

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Ryedale Market Towns Trail Part 6: Kirkbymoorside to Helmsley
Author: VisitRyedale, Published: 04 May 2017 Walk Rating:star0 Ryedale Market Towns Trail Part 6: Kirkbymoorside to Helmsley Walking Guide star0 Ryedale Market Towns Trail Part 6: Kirkbymoorside to Helmsley Walking Guide star0 Ryedale Market Towns Trail Part 6: Kirkbymoorside to Helmsley Walking Guide star0 Ryedale Market Towns Trail Part 6: Kirkbymoorside to Helmsley Walking Guide star0 Ryedale Market Towns Trail Part 6: Kirkbymoorside to Helmsley Walking Guide
North Yorkshire, Ryedale
Walk Type: Long distance path
Ryedale Market Towns Trail Part 6: Kirkbymoorside to Helmsley
Length: 9 miles,  Difficulty: boot Ryedale Market Towns Trail Part 6: Kirkbymoorside to Helmsley Walking Guide boot Ryedale Market Towns Trail Part 6: Kirkbymoorside to Helmsley Walking Guide boot Ryedale Market Towns Trail Part 6: Kirkbymoorside to Helmsley Walking Guide
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A 9 mile (14.5km) linear walk from Kirkbymoorside to Helmsley in North Yorkshire, forming the sixth and final part of the Ryedale Market Towns Trail. The route heads west through a mixture of open crop fields, sheep pastures and woodland valleys with gorgeous views from the hilltops. Along the way there are several interesting landmarks including Kirkdale Cave (where a fascinating set of fossilised bones were discovered), St Gregory’s Minster, the predominantly thatched village of Pockley and the magical woodland ravine of Riccal Dale.

ABOUT: The Ryedale Market Towns trail is a 67-mile (108km) long-distance circular trail, created to allow walkers to enjoy the highlights of Ryedale, visiting each of the five market towns along the way. It is 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

ACCESS: The walk has several steady climbs and descents throughout, plus a couple of steeper sections through Riccal Dale. The paths are mostly unmade and can get very muddy after periods of rain and in winter. You will need to negotiate several gates and kissing gates, two footbridges (one of which has steps each end) plus 5 stiles (a couple of which have tight fence surrounds so dogs will need a lift over). You will be sharing many of the pastures with sheep, so take particular care with dogs. There are only a few short sections along country lanes. Allow 4.5 hours.

LOGISTICS: If you are completing the whole 67-mile trail, you can arrange accommodation at both ends of this stretch, in Kirkbymoorside and in Helmsley. If you are walking this stretch as a stand-alone 9-mile walk, you can catch a bus for the return leg. Bus 128 will take you from Helmsley Market Place to Kirkbymoorside Market Place, taking just 20 minutes. The buses usually run hourly Mon-Sat and every two hours on Sundays.

FACILITIES: There are public toilets at each end of the walk. If you are looking for refreshments, there are lots of shops (including two bakeries) in Kirkbymoorside if you want to buy picnic supplies and you will be spoilt for choice in Helmsley at the end of the walk.

OS Maps: 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.

GETTING THERE: The walk starts and finishes outside Kirkbymoorside Library at the top end of High Market Place. If you are coming by car, there is some roadside parking or the long stay Town Farm pay and display car park is situated just behind the library (accessed from High Market Place between the library and The Kings Head). Approximate post code YO62 6AT. If you are coming by bus, the nearest bus stop is Kirkbymoorside Market Place. For help with planning your journey by public transport please visit www.traveline.info. From the bus stop, walk uphill along the main street (Market Place) and just before the mini roundabout at the top, you will find the library on your left, where this walk begins.

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Walk Sections

Start to Fields
Start to Fields

Start point: 54.2708 lat, -0.9329 long
End point: 54.2709 lat, -0.9412 long

Standing with your back to the library, turn left along the pavement to reach the mini-roundabout at the top of High Market Place. Turn left here (signed to Farndale) and follow the pavement steadily downhill. At the bottom of the slope, turn left into Manor Close and just a few paces along turn right onto the wide tarmac footpath, Back Lane. Just before you reach a bench, turn left onto the side branch of this path and follow this between a house on your left and a hedge on your right.

Simply keep ahead on this concrete path between houses and you will emerge to the T-junction at the end of this residential cul-de-sac, Sturdy Court. Cross over to the far pavement and turn right along this. Follow this road as it bears left and then continues ahead, ignoring all the side roads. Where the main residential road swings left, cross over to fork right into the small corner cul-de-sac and take the tarmac footpath (between houses 45 and 47). The path leads you to the edge of open fields. NOTE: You may come across sheep grazing in some of the fields from this point.

Fields to Robin Hood Howl
Fields to Robin Hood Howl

Start point: 54.2709 lat, -0.9412 long
End point: 54.2658 lat, -0.9531 long

Cross the stile to enter the first field and walk directly ahead, pass through the gateway (or use the adjacent stile) and stay in the same direction across this second field. Take the stile into the third field and cross this one at about 11 o’clock. At the far side another stile leads you into the corner of a fourth pasture. Keep straight ahead, following the line of hedgerow on your left.

Pass through the small gate to reach the edge of a fifth field. Cross this one between 11 and 12 o’clock, heading for the small wooden gate and wide field gate visible on the far boundary. Pass through the smaller of the gates to enter the sixth field. Keep directly ahead, following the line of hedgerow on your left. At the far side, pass through the gate and follow the path which leads you fairly steeply downhill along the edge of a woodland belt, known as Robin Hood Howl. At the bottom of the slope you will come to a T-junction, with the woodland to your right and a kissing gate on your left.

Robin Hood Howl to St Gregory's Minster
Robin Hood Howl to St Gregory's Minster

Start point: 54.2658 lat, -0.9531 long
End point: 54.2629 lat, -0.9627 long

Turn left through the kissing gate into a pasture and continue straight ahead, following the line of the wire fence on your right. Stay with this fence-side path and it will lead you out of the pasture via a kissing gate (just to the right of a field gate). You will emerge to a staggered road junction. Go straight ahead on the small lane signed to Helmsley (although this signpost was slightly skewed when we passed), taking care of any traffic. Further along, the lane begins to descend.

To your right here is the site of Kirkdale Cave, part of an extensive cave system formed by underground streams thousands of years ago. In 1821 workers discovered a large quantity of bones within the cave. Great sensation was caused when these were identified as bones of elephants, hippopotamus, rhinoceros, antelope and hyenas dating back to the last inter-glacial period – the oldest archaeological find in North Yorkshire. Oxford-based palaeontologist William Buckland studied the remains in 1822 and determined that the bones were the remains of prey animals brought into the cave by hyenas who had been using it for a den.

Follow the lane to reach the ford, cross the river via the footbridge and keep ahead on the lane, climbing. Turn right into the access lane for St Gregory’s Minster and follow it up to the church. St Gregory’s Minster is one of the smallest, but perhaps the most interesting church in the area. It is called a minster because it was once the centre for missionary activities and occupies the site of an ancient Saxon edifice. The sundial above the south-facing door bears an inscription recording the rebuilding of the church between 1055 and 1065 (just before the Norman conquest).

St Gregory's Minster to Lund Head
St Gregory's Minster to Lund Head

Start point: 54.2629 lat, -0.9627 long
End point: 54.2656 lat, -0.9859 long

When you have finished at the church, retrace your steps back to the junction with the lane. Turn right for two paces and immediately right again, climbing the steep unmade bank (signed as a bridleway). At the top, go through the bridle gate to enter a crop field and turn right along the grass field boundary, with the fence on your right and crop field on your left. On the slope to your right you will see a beautiful mixed woodland that has a carpet of wild flowers in the spring. Follow this field boundary ahead, passing through (or alongside) the first bridle gate (that marks an old field boundary) and, soon after, passing through a second bridle gate to join a path through woodland.

Follow the path through the woodland and you will emerge to a junction with a quiet tarmac lane. Turn left along this, continue to the T-junction and turn right. Follow the lane for about 500 metres to reach the entrance track for Lund Grange on your left (signed as a public footpath). Turn left to join this stone track which leads you directly to the entrance gate for the property (don’t worry – you are still going the right way).

Go through this gate to enter the property’s grounds and walk straight ahead, following the hedge line on your right and passing the house on your left. Exit via another wooden gate to join an enclosed grass track. This leads you to another property, Lund Head.

Lund Head to Nawton Village
Lund Head to Nawton Village

Start point: 54.2656 lat, -0.9859 long
End point: 54.2541 lat, -0.9943 long

Keep straight ahead to join the access drive, passing the stone buildings on your left. Follow the sweeping driveway which leads you past a number of interesting specimen trees. When the stone wall on your left ends, stay with the driveway as it swings right, leading you between an avenue of trees and wide grass verges. At the end of the drive, pass through the gap to the right of the vehicle gate to reach a T-junction with a quiet lane, Guncroft Lane.

Turn left along the lane and, just as you reach the first property on your right, turn right onto the stone access drive for this house (signed as a public footpath). Stay along the left-hand edge of this drive to reach a bridle gate ahead. Go through the gate to enter a sheep pasture. Walk ahead, following the fence line on your left. When this fence line ends, cross the pasture diagonally left (between 10 and 11 o’clock) to reach the kissing gate set within the left-hand hedge line.

Pass through this and maintain your direction, heading diagonally across this second sheep pasture. In the bottom field corner, pass through the next kissing gate to enter a third pasture. Once again, maintain your direction, heading diagonally left (this time, uphill). This pasture, part of Kirkdale Manor, typifies old estate parkland and is dotted with beautiful mature trees.

In the far left-hand corner go through the kissing gate, keep ahead along a section of enclosed path and pass through the next gate to reach the village road. Go straight ahead to join this residential lane and, at the staggered junction, turn left into Chapel Street. This leads you down to a T-junction with the main A170 road in Nawton village.

Nawton Village to Pockley Village
Nawton Village to Pockley Village

Start point: 54.2541 lat, -0.9943 long
End point: 54.2645 lat, -1.0235 long

Turn right to follow the pavement alongside the A170, crossing over the High Street side road and passing the fish and chip shop across to your left. Keep ahead on the pavement, passing the bus stops, to reach the sign marking the start of Beadlam village. At this point, turn right into Howldale Lane, passing the village church on your left. At the end of the lane, ignore the footpath signed left into the pasture. Instead, go straight ahead along the public bridleway track, leading you through a tunnel of trees.

After about 700 metres you need to take a left turn onto a side path. This is not a gate into one of the pastures, it is a path running uphill through the start of a belt of woodland, immediately after a sheep pasture on your left ends. Take this path up through the trees and you will emerge to the corner of a crop field. Keep straight ahead, following the grass path along the left-hand edge of this field to reach a junction with a lane. Turn left for a few metres and then turn right onto a stone-covered field opening (marked with a footpath fingerpost).

Follow this field-edge track ahead, with a hedgerow on your right and a crop field to your left (and stunning far reaching views). Just a few metres before the end of the field, you will see a waymarker post on your right. Turn right here and follow the grass track, staying close to the fenced woodland on your right. Pass through the hedge gap and continue ahead, alongside the woodland. Where the woodland ends, turn left to continue on a grass path with a large open crop field on your right and beautiful views beyond.

In the bottom field corner, turn right along the bottom boundary for just 80 metres and then turn left to join a narrow path leading you steeply downhill into a woodland ravine. (The post marking this path was broken but propped within the trees when we walked). Follow the path steeply downhill (taking care as it can be slippery) to reach a stile at the bottom. Cross the stile to enter a sheep pasture, cross the field at about 1 o’clock and exit via the stile within the top boundary. Keep straight ahead on the path, which passes through a small section of woodland and emerges at the corner of a crop field.

Go straight ahead on the grass path leading you steadily uphill, following the line of the hedgerow on your right. At the top, you will come to a T-junction with a grass track. Turn right and then pass through the field gate ahead to enter another sheep pasture. Walk straight ahead, following the fence line on your right, and exit via another field gate at the far side. Walk ahead along the grass track and, almost immediately, turn left along a side branch grass track. Pass a pretty thatched cottage on your left to reach a junction with the road in Pockley village.

Pockley Village to River Riccal
Pockley Village to River Riccal

Start point: 54.2645 lat, -1.0235 long
End point: 54.2652 lat, -1.038 long

Turn left along the village lane, passing more pretty cottages on your right, including the long thatched White Cottage. After the last house on your right (Oak Tree House), ignore the first stone track on your right and, just a few metres later, turn right through a wide gate to enter a pasture (signed as a footpath). Keep straight ahead along the stone track.

In the field corner, go ahead through the next gate and follow the wide grass track. When you reach a fingerpost, go straight ahead to join the grass path leading you downhill with a line of hawthorn trees on your left. You will come to a gate ahead. Pass through the pedestrian gate set within this to reach the woodland slopes of Riccal Dale.

Follow the obvious stone track leading you steeply down the valley slope. This track leads you directly down to the grass valley bottom where you will find the River Riccal meandering along. This makes the perfect spot for a summer picnic and a canine (or human) paddle. When you are ready to continue, cross the river via the footbridge.

River Riccal to Monk Holme Wood
River Riccal to Monk Holme Wood

Start point: 54.2652 lat, -1.038 long
End point: 54.256 lat, -1.047 long

At the far side of the bridge, go down the steps, turn right along the grass track and this leads you to a staggered T-junction with a stone vehicle track. Turn sharp left to join this track (heading almost back on yourself). Ignore the grass track forking right up the hillside and, further along, you will come to a fork in the track with a waymarker post.

Take the right-hand branch and follow this stone track leading you steeply uphill, heading out of the valley. At the top, you will come to a T-junction with a level stone track. Turn left along this and follow it as it swings right, left and right again. Where the track bends left again, go straight ahead to join the bridleway (marked with a blue arrow). Follow this grass track with a crop field on your right and a hedgerow on your left.

Ignore the branch into the field on your left, instead follow the edge of the crop field on your right. At the end of the field, bear right for a few metres and pass through the gate to enter a small woodland valley, Monk Holme Wood.

Monk Holme Wood to End
Monk Holme Wood to End

Start point: 54.256 lat, -1.047 long
End point: 54.2467 lat, -1.0616 long

Follow the stone track leading you downhill. At the bottom of the slope, swing sharp left (passing a waymarker post on your right) to join the grass path that runs along the bottom of this beautiful wooded valley, lined with elegant tall trees. Whilst there is no stream or river running through this valley, it can become water-logged in winter and after periods of rain. Continue to the end of this wooded valley where a wooden gate leads you into a sheep pasture.

Cross the pasture diagonally right and exit via the gate in the far right-hand corner. Turn left to follow the grass track running between crop fields (with a fence on your left). You will now be able to see the red roofs and castle ruin within Helmsley, across to your right. At the end of the grass track, pass through the gate ahead to enter a final sheep pasture. Go straight ahead, following the fence line on your right, to reach a waymarker halfway along the field. At this point, bear diagonally left along the remainder of the pasture and exit via the gate in the far left-hand corner.

Follow the enclosed grass track ahead to reach a T-junction with a residential road at the edge of Helmsley. Cross over to the far pavement, turn left and then turn right at the T-junction. Follow the pavement alongside this main road, which leads you directly to Helmsley Market Place where this final stretch of the Ryedale Market Towns Trail ends.

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network Ryedale Market Towns Trail Part 6: Kirkbymoorside to Helmsley Walking Guide Original GPX source file

Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2017 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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