A 3 mile circular walk around the wooded Pennine valley of Hardcastle Crags, near Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire. Owned by the National Trust the valley comprises a beautiful shallow river, Hebden Water with steep wooded valley sides and you will have chance to discover lots of wildlife plus some industrial archaeology along the way. If you have children with you, you may wish to bring along crayons and paper as there are several engraved markers around the site, showing the various leaves and seeds in the woodland.
Grosmont and the North Yorkshire Moors Railway
Distance: 4½ miles
Duration: 2 hours
Level of walk: Medium View Walks KeyCheck latest weather
Why you should do this walk…
If you are a fan of ‘Steam’ or are one of those riding the nostalgia wave, then the start and finish at Grosmont will be a treat. The North Yorkshire Moors Railway station welcomes dogs in the outside part of the café, next to the platform and you can take your pooch on a steam train ride too! This is a pretty walk beginning on the old railway track bed, before continuing through woods and out on to the edge of the moors. Your pooch is free to be off the lead most of the time.
What else you need to know
How to get there – Grosmont is signposted from the A169 Whitby to Pickering and A171 Whitby to Middlesbrough roads. Or you could arrive by train, using the Middlesbrough to Whitby service operated by Northern Rail, or the NYMR itself from Pickering or Whitby. Alternatively, the No.99 bus operated by M&D Mini Coaches runs to Grosmont five times per day (except Sundays) from Whitby.
Suggested map – OS Explorer OL27 North York Moors Eastern
Car park – Grosmont Station, or follow the road under the railway to the North York Moors National Park car park on the right. Both are ‘Pay-and-Display’.
Start – Grosmont Station
Length/time – 4½ miles, takes around 2 hours
Terrain/difficulty – MEDIUM, mainly good paths, but can get a bit muddy towards the end of the walk. There is one steepish climb on the road out of Beck Hole.
Dog friendliness – there are two stiles with dog-gates and one double stile. Please keep your dog on the lead when sheep are about, on the small section of road walking and at the Station, other than that, there are plenty of opportunities to have a good romp and a swim.
Food and drink – the Station Tavern at Grosmont is dog-friendly and there is a great ‘war-time’ café at Grosmont station. There is a tiny pub in Beck Hole too. Dogs allowed in station’ tea garden’ and can also travel on the trains. See Directories for details.
Public toilets – FREE at Grosmont station
Other interesting info:
The walk retraces part of the original Whitby to Pickering railway built by George Stephenson and opened in 1836 as a horse drawn tramway. After being sold to George Hudson, the so-called ‘Railway King’ in 1845 the line was upgraded to use steam locomotives, before being superseded by what is now the NYMR 20 years later.
- From the station café – cross the railway line by the level crossing and take a path in front of some cottages on the right. Cross the suspension bridge over the Murk Esk and follow the ‘Goathland Rail Trail’, left at the fork uphill towards a church. Keeping the church to your left continue uphill towards a kissing gate with a sign pointing towards the ‘Rail Trail’. Your dog should now be free to be off the lead as you turn to the right and continue uphill with Grosmont NYMR locomotive depot visible through the trees to your left.
- Immediately ahead there is a sign for the ‘Goathland Rail Trail’. Follow the path to the left and continue downhill through two gates to a cinder path right alongside the railway line, where locomotives may be seen parked. Turn right and follow the path – the bed of the original railway track, straight ahead towards the pretty settlement of Esk Valley.
- At the line of railway cottages, continue onwards through the gate ahead of you, still on the old track bed path, into a wooded area. The path is wide and quite flat, suitable for wheelchair users and push chairs, as well allowing a good romp round for dogs!
- Keep following the obvious path through gates and over a wooden footbridge, with the NYMR visible to your left climbing through the trees. On your right is the Murk Esk again, and your dog may wish to enjoy a quick paddle as the path eventually closes to run alongside.
- At the next footbridge, stay on the same side of the Murk Esk leaving the ‘accessible’ path, and taking a more rugged route uphill – ignoring the sign for Egton. Keep ahead to unsigned but clear and obvious route through the trees, before coming to a wall on the right with a clear view of fields. The path rises to a gate, beyond which is the road into Beck Hole, so make sure your pooch is put back on the lead before entering the pretty village – a good place to stop for tea and sandwiches are the benches on the green.
- Immediately to the left of the gate, the road climbs steeply as it bends sharply to the right and then the left before crossing the railway – a good place to watch the steam trains go by. After the bridge, turn left and continue up the road for a short while to a farm on the left, just after a pathway joins the road from the moor to your right. Passing the farm buildings, there is a way-marked gate to the left; follow the path through the fields and gates – which may well have sheep grazing in them, until reaching a farm. Pass through the farm and turn left onto a tarmacked lane.
- At the end of the lane, look for a green and white public bridleway sign to your right. Take this path through a gate and then another way-marked gate on to a grassy path towards a track lined with Hawthorne hedges – dogs are usually fine off lead here.
- Continue downhill to a gate and a sign saying ‘Bridleway Closed’. Turn off the bridleway here, following the yellow arrow indicating a footpath to Grosmont and taking the path down towards the trees to your right. Follow the rugged, obvious path through woodland to a stile and a dog gate. Continue onwards to your right and another stile with a dog gate, before emerging onto the edge of a meadow and talking the obvious path to your left.
- Ahead is a double stile – you may need to lift your dog over it, and the path continues into the next meadow. Continue downhill towards a footbridge and enter woodlands again. Keep ahead as the path climbs into the trees towards a gate on the right. Pass through the gate and turn left through the field keeping the tree line to your left, until meeting a track coming down the hill from the right.
- Join the track and pass through a gate before following a public footpath sign downhill along the wide lane – traffic does occasionally use this lane so keep your dog under control. At the sign for a ford, take the public footpath indicated to the left and cross a footbridge over the Murk Esk again before climbing a flight of stone steps back to the church by the railway at Grosmont. Follow the path through the churchyard and return to Grosmont station.