Mar 232024

First published in: The Times Click here to view a map for this walk in a new window
on Cold Moor Urra Farm old mine tips above Urra Farm paved course of Cleveland Way from Carr Ridge looking across Vale of Mowbray to Roseberry Topping Wain Stones Looking towards Wain Stones from Garfit Gap looking towards Cold Moor from Urra 4 looking towards Cold Moor from Urra 3 looking towards Cold Moor from Urra 2 looking towards Cold Moor from Urra 1

Bikers were out for a burn-up on the bendy road to Stokesley. We soon left them behind as we climbed to Carr Ridge up the Cleveland Way. This long-distance path, paved and pitched with stone, loops round the outlying hills of the North York Moors with grandstand views all the way.

Up on top it was cold and cloudy over the moors. The sharp shark-fin of Roseberry Topping stood out to the north, its western face a concave scoop showing where half the hill had once slid away in a massive landslip.

The flat flagstones of the Cleveland Way carried us dry-shod over bog and slutch. The stone slabs had once floored textile mills, and were brought here after the factories closed – a fine example of recycling. Blackfaced sheep dashed away and drew up to swivel round and stare madly at us before resuming their precise, selective nibbling among the bracken and sedge.

A side path left the Cleveland Way and headed across the moor to where pale heaps of spoil marked the sites of long-abandoned jet and alum mines. We picked our way between them, dropping down the hillside towards the red roofs of the farming hamlet of Urra in broad green Bilsdale below.

Here the landscape changed to cattle pastures and plentiful trees. We followed field paths down and up again, heading out of the sheltered valley and up a gritty track towards the aptly named Cold Moor. It was exhilarating to stride the northward ridge with a sharp wind in the face and a good firm track underfoot.

Down in the pass of Garfit Gap we met the Cleveland Way again and turned east for the stepped climb up to the sandstone outcrop of the Wain Stones. Blackened and sculpted by weathering, they stood proud of the ridge end, their Easter Island profiles and tall faces packed tight in a jumble of rocks.

We sat on a fallen boulder and took in the view under a clearing sky. Skeletal cranes and smoking chimneys of Teesside, the great patchwork lowland of Mowbray Vale, a distant suggestion of the Pennine hills against the clouds in the southwest. And sailing high in the north the outline of Roseberry Topping once more, less of a shark fin from this perspective and more like a giant ploughshare abandoned on the ridge by some mythical tiller of the moors, perhaps one of the giants of the Wain Stones themselves.

How hard is it? 7 miles; moderate/strenuous; cobbled/paved moorland paths; a little scrambling at Wain Stones.

Start: Clay Bank car park, near Great Broughton (NZ 573035)

Getting there:
Road: Car park on B1257 between Great Broughton and Chop Gate

Walk (OS Explorer OL26): Left up road. In 200m pass ‘Bilsdale’ sign; left up stone flagged path (‘Cleveland Way’). Follow CW; at top of climb, fork right (579030, ‘Bridleway’). In ⅓ mile (occasional posts), path bears right across slab bridge (583021). In ½ mile right (576018, ‘Bridleway’) to road in Urra (572018). Right; in 100m, left (‘Urra Farm’); then stile (yellow arrow/YA), gate, stile; field path down to footbridge and road (564018). Dogleg right/left (stile); up bank to gate at Broadfield Farm (562019). Left (fingerpost, gate); right (fingerpost, wall gap); up field to gate (560019); up to track. Right; in 100m, left up steep path. Follow it for ⅔ mile to meet Cleveland Way at Garfit Gap (554034). Right up to Wain Stones (559035); round them or scramble up through them to flagged path; CW to road (513033). Left to car park.

Lunch/Accommodation: Wainstones Hotel, Great Broughton TS9 7EW (01642-712268,


 Posted by at 01:09

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.