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Dales Trails

Newtondale in Autumn/photo by Arnold Underwood, Oct 2009

Sir Nigel Gresley rumbles down from Levisham/from a photo by Arnold Underwood, Oct 2009

Walking along Newtondale/from a photo by Arnold Underwood, Oct 2009

NORTH YORK MOORS : Newton-on-Rawcliffe

Newton Dale - 14.4km (9 miles)

Newton Dale is one of the most spectacular valleys in the north of England, created when melt water from an ice age glacier gouged a deep gorge through the hills.
Newton Dale’s forest & moorland, ups & downs, streams & steam trains together make this a classic walk on the North York Moors.

Fact File

Distance 14.4km (9 miles)
Time 4 hours
Map OS Explorer OL27 North York Moors (East)
Start/Parking Newton-on-Rawcliffe (near the pond)
Terrain Forest and moorland paths & tracks – two steep descents and ascents
Grading ****
nearest Town Pickering
Refreshments Black Swan Inn at Newton-on-Rawcliffe and refreshment kiosk at Levisham station (when trains running)
Toilets Levisham station
Public Transport Moorsbus (M6/M8 Pickering – Rosedale) operates via Newton-on-Rawcliffe (Sundays – March to Oct, also Wednesdays July - Sept)
Stiles 6

Route created using TrackLogs Digital Mapping
Image reproduced with kind permission of Ordnance Survey and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland.

  1. (Start) Walk due north from the pond up the road past the village hall towards a bend and a junction with two lanes on the right. Take the bridleway heading straight ahead (north) which drops downhill passing a cattle-shed. Newton Bank falls steeply on the right into Newton Dale. The track swings left and drops down to cross a stream at Raygate Slack. Ford the stream and take the more obvious path up the other side through silver birch and gorse. The path picks its way through trees and bushes across Stony Moor, occasionally boggy underfoot, until you emerge at an oasis comprising three former farms - Upper, Middle, and Lower Farms. These three buildings are now desirable properties in a superb, if remote location accessed by a track from Stape.

  2. (2.5km/1½miles) Turn right to walk past Middle and Lower Farms along the edge of forest to arrive, in about 400m, at a gate in the corner. Before going through the gate cut across to a seat situated at a viewpoint on the crags above Newton Dale. Here there is a view down the dale towards Levisham Station. Now go through the gate and head down a dark, damp sunken track into Raindale. The path bears right and continues down through conifers and out onto the forest road in Newton Dale. Turn left and walk along the road, passing the former Platelayers Cottages – now holiday homes, parallel to the railway. In about 800m (½ mile) the road swings left uphill. At the top of the rise take the bridleway to the right (Levisham Station Walk) into woodland. Cross a footbridge and walk through the trees to emerge at Kale Pot Hole Farm – now also renovated as holiday homes. Walk up by the fence to reach a forest track.

  3. (4.0km/2½miles) Turn right here along this track. High on the opposite side of the dale is Skelton Tower which will be visited later. Now you have a delightful walk along a forest track through Newton Dale parallel with Pickering Beck and the railway line. In spring and early summer look out for primroses, cowslips, and bluebells. Along here you come to the NYMR Newton Dale Halt - a convenient spot for a break. There are seats on the platform and a shelter, but no other facilities. It is a request stop for trains, so if they are operating, do not inadvertently cause one to stop without need!

  4. (7.0km/4½miles) After your break, turn through the bridge under the railway along a path by a stream behind the station. Cross the stream and a stile and start to climb up the edge of a conifer plantation. Cross another stile to continue steeply up the side of the valley to reach the edge at Hudson’s Cross, over-looking Newton Dale. From here, route finding is simple as you just follow the edge of Huggitt’s Scar south towards Skelton Tower. Skelton Tower is initially hidden from view, but you a rewarded with views into Newton Dale of the outward leg of the walk. At last, the path curves round to the Tower in its dramatic setting above the valley. Time this right and you can be rewarded with the sight of a steam train heading for Pickering

  5. (10.7km/6¾ miles) From the Tower, continue south along the edge of the escarpment and you will come to a path cutting diagonally down the hillside. This path meets a wall and turns right down to reach a gated crossing over the railway line. Cross the line with care and then a footbridge over Pickering Beck to reach the Forest Drive road. Turn left and walk along the road for about 400m (¼ mile) to Levisham Station where, if the railway is operating, you will find toilets and refreshments.

  6. (13.2km/8¼miles) After your station stop retrace your steps about 100m and cross a footbridge on the left to reach the foot of Newton Banks. It is now just a simple matter of heading straight up the hillside to Newton-on-Rawcliffe! The lower section involves negotiating an eroded muddy track up through trees then through gorse bushes. Plodding onwards and upwards, the final section looms ahead looking steeper than ever, but as you near it a narrow zig-zag path provides a way up to a conveniently situated seat at the top. Behind the seat a stile takes you onto a lane and along to the right you meet the road at the top end of the village..(14.4km/9miles)

    Along the Way

    Skelton Tower
    This was built in the early 19th Century by the Reverend Robert Skelton of Levisham as a folly. It is thought that he used it as an over-night lodging when out shooting on Levisham Moor, or perhaps he used the magnificent views when looking for inspiration for writing his sermons.
    NYMR – Levisham Station
    Since the formation of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, the Levisham Station Group has worked to recreate the station and its environs in the condition typical of a small North Eastern Railway station circa 1912. Christopher Ware is the North Yorkshire Moors Railway's official artist in residence - the first such professional post in the country. He is to be found welcoming visitors to his studio at Levisham station and raising funds for the railway whenever the trains are running - and often when they are not.

    Levisham Station from Surprise View on Newton Banks/from a photo by Arnold Underwood/Oct 2009

    Arnold Underwood with Hornsea Walking Club (Oct 2009)

This page was created by
Arnold Underwood

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