West Cleveland Circular Walk
Try this specialised walk from Kildale to Easby Moor and Captain Cook's Monument. There is an alternative route you could use back again.
First and foremost, getting to Kildale: The village can be reached on two routes that converge just to the west of Kildale and near the (practically invisible) remains of one of the Percy family's minor castles. Leave the A19 from York/Teesside/Tyneside for the A172 near Ingleby Arncliffe and take this road east to the big roundabout outside Stokesley, where the B1257 from Helmsley joins from the south.
Take the A173 for Great Ayton, coming off that road to the right onto a minor road that takes you past Easby and into Kildale. You could also leave the A172 earlier to the right for Great Busby and Kirkby, crossing the B1257 for Ingleby Greenhow and Battersby. From Battersby the road leads over an un-gated level crossing northward to a 'triangle' of roads. turn right for Kildale from here.
There are more choices for parking earlier in the day, obviously, during the summer and you might have to park further away from the village centre. I've sometimes managed to find space outside the Glebe Cottage Tearooms, but that's been more luck than judgement.
Rail travellers should take note of train services from Middlesbrough to Whitby - less frequent between September-March - and alight at Kildale Station below the church. From the station climb the short road past Glebe Cottage Tearooms to the Stokesley/Great Ayton-Commondale road and start your walk from there.
[There is a web site: Walking Scenes on the North Yorkshire Moors, Cleveland Hills & Hambletons].
You might wish to visit the licensed tearooms before beginning your walk or on completing, depending on what time of day you arrive. Take note of their opening times and tailor your walk accordingly if you might not make it back before closing. Before the energetic part of your walk you might like to stop off at the church of St Cuthbert across the small bridge over the railway. If you've arrived by train, you could take in the church first. Either way it's worth a look.
Kildale's earliest settlement was by the Northmen. The name Kildale has links with Scandinavia. In the 19th Century their graves were found in the small cemetery that surrounds the church. Sheep graze in here, so not to worry if you find yourself eyeballing a yew whilst looking closely at some of the memorials. They also feature in the church in the form of stained glass window adornment. There's a pleasant view north across fields from here. The Norse field term 'Skrysker' survives in a modified form around these parts.
Nearby in the woods is evidence of a destroyed Norman castle (refer to Ordnance Survey Explorer Map No. OL27). Little remains to be seen of what must have been one of the Percy family's possessions. They were 'wrongsided' in the time of Henry VIII, in taking part in the Pilgrimage of Grace near Osmotherly further south. The leading notables were indited for treason (it wasn't hard in Henry's time) and their properties confiscated. Another erstwhile Norman family, the de Mowbrays suffered the same fate.
A priest and church are recorded in Domesday, 1086, and a charter to hold a market was granted in AD1253 by Henry III. St Cuthbert's church has both Anglian and Norman features. What you see of the church these days is a major 1868 rebuild by Fowler Jones of York. During the work artefacts of Danish origin were found, such as swords, daggers and the head of a two-handed axe (the shaft having rotted long ago). Large sepulchral slabs with floriated crosses can be seen in the porch, two bearing the Percy arms, as well as mediaeval gravestones and a Norman font. Carved heads juy out from the top of the south wall, but they might easily be 19th Century copies of the originals.
Start your walk in earnest from the side gate on the narrow road outside the tearooms. Take this road downhill, under the railway and over a small bridge on the River Leven that rises on the moor. Pass Bankside Farm on the uphill section of the road and take the lower path through Mill Bank Wood. This is where you approach the lower slopes of Easby Moor. Looking towards Great Ayton there are signs of 19th Century industrial activity - a stone quarry, where the stone was lowered down an incline to be loaded at Great Ayton sidings.
follow clockwise along a path that traces the foot of Easby Moor and climb to a tall stone obelisk, Captain Cook's Monument, at the highest point of the moor. From here there is a different view of Roseberry Topping. Take the path due east to Pale End Plantation, back down to Bankside Farm, built in a Norse style common in this region (a longhouse that was originally constructed with a cruck roof, farmhouse, outbuildings, cow-shed and pigsty 'in line', my father's grandmother owned a farm at West Rounton near Northallerton in the same style that has since been converted to three dwellings and a small pub), and on to Kildale village.
There is an alternative route to the monument by way of nearby New Row. Take the road east out of Kildale towards Commondale, over the railway bridge and along the base of a moor. Take the narrow road north off this road towards the row of former miner's cottages, over a level crossing. Past this row of cottages are woodland plantations on the lower southern slopes of Kildale Moor. The rise is marked on the O.S map as Quarry Hill. On the hillside look west towards Coate Moor. climb to the crest of Easby Moor where you have an uninterrupted view of Roseberry Topping from Cockshaw Hill south of the car park. A little way north of Easby Moor is a memorial to three RAF crew ho perished here in an air crash in 1940.
Return past Kildale Hall on the eastern side of the village. Aside from the licensed Glebe Cottage - which also does hot meals and snacks - Kildale would be a 'dry' village, like Battersby to the south-west. The nearest pubs are at Ayton, Ingleby and Commondale. Enjoy the walk!
A wander around Kildale, up to easby Moor and back
This is familiar territory...
... being a few miles south of where I lived on Teesside. When I started driving I brought my family to Kildale, to the cafe mentioned above. You can see Roseberry Topping from the top of Eston Moor (see also 'WALKING THE MOOR' in this series), as well as the moor behind. The walk is for the energetic, but by no means inaccessible for those a little less able. You'd just need to take it a little easier. As a reward you can settle down in the cafe for an hour for a coffee/tea and chinwag before making for home.
Know your way around, and Mike Bagshaw will show you whereever you wish to go. The walk you're on here takes in part of the northern fringe of the North York Moors and the coast is not far away to the north-east, the Cleveland Hills to your south-west (you can see them plainly a little way west around the course of this walk), and the Cleveland Way skirts the area on its way east to the coast. James Cook took the well-known footpath on his way to Staithes to take up his apprenticeship to the storekeeper William Sanderson. He'd grown up at Aireholme Farm not far from Great Ayton to the north-west of Kildale. There's a lot of history and his guide will take you through all you need to know.
WWII RAF Memorial
© 2012 Alan R Lancaster
Alan R Lancaster (author) from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) on July 16, 2012:
You'll find a warm welcome there, whatever the weather! Just make sure you take some waterproofs, a compass and a good map.
mecheshier on July 13, 2012:
Wow, what a beautiful place to tour/visit. Fabulous pics and great info. Voted up for useful and awesome.