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Dalby Forest Woodcock Way Loop

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Dalby Forest Woodcock Way Loop
Author: Claire, Published: 20 May 2017 Walk Rating:star1 Dalby Forest Woodcock Way Loop Walking Guide star1 Dalby Forest Woodcock Way Loop Walking Guide star1 Dalby Forest Woodcock Way Loop Walking Guide star1 Dalby Forest Woodcock Way Loop Walking Guide star0 Dalby Forest Woodcock Way Loop Walking Guide
North Yorkshire, North York Moors
Walk Type: Woodland
Dalby Forest Woodcock Way Loop
Length: 3 miles,  Difficulty: boot Dalby Forest Woodcock Way Loop Walking Guide boot Dalby Forest Woodcock Way Loop Walking Guide boot Dalby Forest Woodcock Way Loop Walking Guide
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0018_cloudy_with_heavy_rain Dalby Forest Woodcock Way Loop Walking Guide Today's weather
11 °C, Moderate rain, Wind: 6 mph NNE
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A 3 mile circular woodland walk within Dalby Forest, near Thornton-le-Dale in North Yorkshire. Dalby Forest sits on the southern slopes of the North York Moors and forms part of the North Riding Forest Park. It is managed for timber production and recreation, with well-maintained trails for walkers and cyclists. This waymarked loop takes you on a journey through the forest following lanes and paths, starting at the beautiful Staindale Lake, climbing to enjoy views across the moors and then descending to enjoy a magical stretch through the valley.

The majority of the route follows surfaced forest access tracks, but there are a couple of unmade woodland paths that can get muddy plus one descent through a rocky ravine that is uneven and can be slippery. There are no stiles or gates on route, but you will need to negotiate some steps, fence gaps plus two staggered barriers. You will not be sharing any of the paths with livestock, but watch out for cyclists and occasional vehicles on the forest lanes. Dogs are welcome in Dalby Forest and this route makes an ideal dog walk, with plenty of space for well-behaved dogs to stretch their legs. Allow 1.5 hours.

Dalby Forest is located just north of Thornton-le-Dale and this walk starts at the High Staindale car park within the forest complex. Leave the A170 at the crossroads in the centre of Thornton-le-Dale, heading north and following the brown signs for Dalby Forest. Ignore the first right (to Ellberburn) and take the second right (signed for Dalby Forest). This will take you to the vehicle barriers marking the start of Dalby Forest. Access is charged at £8 per car (Mar-Oct) and £4 per car (Nov-Feb) – follow local signage for ways to pay (correct May 2017). Follow the access road past the visitor centre and beyond to pass between a pair of car parks (Staindale Lake and Bridestones). Continue a little further, swing sharp right around a hairpin bend and then turn immediately right into the High Staindale car park. The nearest post code is YO18 7LR.

Walk Sections

Start to Turning Point
Start to Turning Point

Start point: 54.3014 lat, -0.6442 long
End point: 54.3071 lat, -0.6461 long

With your back to the car park vehicle entrance, cross the car park diagonally left (passing the main noticeboards on your right) to reach a tall waymarker board (also on your right). This marks the start of the Woodcock Way Trail, which is waymarked with orange discs with black arrows. Join the narrow path winding up the steep grass bank. At the top, cross over the access road and join the grass and stone vehicle track just to your left. This track leads you past a vehicle barrier and climbs gently through the trees.

Part way along you will pass an orange disc, confirming your route. Ignore the grass track to your right here. At the next waymarker, turn right, following the stone and grass track which continues to climb. The track leads you past a picnic bench on your left and then levels off as it crosses the top of Yondhead Rigg. The track begins to descend and leads you to a turn in the track, with grass paths to your right and the stone track continuing to your left.

Turning Point to Tabular Hills Path
Turning Point to Tabular Hills Path

Start point: 54.3071 lat, -0.6461 long
End point: 54.3124 lat, -0.6349 long

Turn left here to continue on the stone track (as directed by the orange waymarker). You will come to a fork with a bench ahead, take the right-hand branch. Follow this stone track bearing steadily right and then left. At the next junction, ignore the track to your right. Instead go straight ahead and, at the end of this track, you will come to a T-junction with another vehicle track. There are beautiful views through the trees ahead. This marks the junction with the Tabular Hills Path, although there is no signage on the ground for this.

Tabular Hills Path to Main Viewpoint
Tabular Hills Path to Main Viewpoint

Start point: 54.3124 lat, -0.6349 long
End point: 54.3111 lat, -0.6258 long

Turn right and follow the stone track with dense woodland on your right and far reaching views through the trees on your left. Pass a couple of simple plank benches on your left and, further along, you will reach a more substantial bench on your left. This is your first opportunity to pause and enjoy the views (although there is a larger viewpoint shortly). A few metres later, where the main track swings right, go ahead onto the narrower stone path leading you through a gap in a low stone wall. Before you reach the parking area ahead, you will see the main viewpoint on your left, with picnic bench and information board.

It is worth pausing here to enjoy the far-reaching views across the North York Moors. This landscape was formed 10,000 years ago, by glacial melt-water eroding down through the rocks. In more recent times, manmade changes through creation of woodland plantations and grazing pastures, have led to the development of this patchwork of heath moorland and forest. At about 11 o’clock you will be able to see the white wedge-shaped building of the radar at RAF Fylingdales, a radar base and part of the early-warning ballistic missile detection system. At about 10 o’clock you will be able to see Blakey Topping, an isolated hill with an associated legend of a local giant who threw this handful of earth at his wife.

Main Viewpoint to Short Route Turn
Main Viewpoint to Short Route Turn

Start point: 54.3111 lat, -0.6258 long
End point: 54.306 lat, -0.6257 long

With the viewpoint on your left, turn right (as directed by the orange waymark) and follow the stone path, passing through two fence openings to cross a vehicle track. Keep ahead on the stone path which later turns left and emerges between waymarker boards to reach a junction with a wide vehicle track. Turn right along this, passing a Woodcock waymarker board on your left.

At the T-junction in the track, go straight ahead through the wooden staggered barrier in front of you to join an unmade woodland path. Follow this path winding through the trees and then exit via a second staggered barrier. Go straight ahead to merge with the wide stone vehicle track. Follow the track leading you downhill and swinging right. A few paces later, you will reach a tall waymarker board on your right. This marks the point at which the longer and shorter versions of the Woodcock Way Trail separate.

Short Route Turn to End
Short Route Turn to End

Start point: 54.306 lat, -0.6257 long
End point: 54.3016 lat, -0.6435 long

We are following the shorter route, so turn right to join a rough path into the dark tunnel of trees. NOTE: Take particular care on this descent as the path has rocks and trees roots and can be slippery. This sunken path with steep moss-covered slopes, has an eerie and almost magical feel. Could it be where the pixies live?

At the bottom of this rocky ravine, you will come to a waymarker post. As directed, turn left and follow the narrow grass path leading you along the level valley bottom. You will pass a deep, dark pool on your left before reaching a bench at the edge of a grass clearing. Walk ahead to the far side of the clearing and turn right to join a grass vehicle track, which swings steadily left. Stay with this vehicle track, continuing along the valley bottom, ignoring any steep paths up to the sides.

Towards the end, ignore a pretty arched bridge on your left (this forms part of one of the mountain bike trails). Pass alongside a vehicle barrier and continue ahead on the level valley-bottom track. This track leads you directly out to the hair-pin bend on the forest road. Cross over the road and walk ahead over the grass verge to reach the car park where the walk began. If you wish to extend the walk a little, you can take a simple circuit of Staindale Lake which sits at the far side of the car park.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2017 by iFootpath and the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.


1 comments for "Dalby Forest Woodcock Way Loop"

Lovely 3 mile walk with our dog in woodland. Follow the numbers as route not clearly marked both ways.

ADMIN RESPONSE: Yes, the trail is not clearly waymarked on the ground all the way, so this App-based guide with live GPS map and full directions is the best way to follow it.

By Axrush on 21 Sep 2017

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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