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Newtondale/photo by Arnold Underwood

NYMR at Darnholme/photo by Arnold Underwood

NORTH YORKSHIRE MOORS - Hole of Horcum to the edge of Newtondale

'One Walk - Many Views'

The climax of this walk is the stunning view of Newtondale, but there are other sights to behold before then. Just a few yards from the car park is the view across the Hole of Horcum. Legend says that here, the giant Wade scooped out the earth and threw it at his wife, missed, and created a hill, Blakey Topping, to the east. From the top of Levisham Moor opens a panorama from the Vale of Pickering to the moors near Goathland. Down below is Skelton Tower with Cropton Forest beyond. Then the climax - Newtondale - thousands of years ago gouged by glacier melt waters - and not apparent until you reach its edge by Skelton Tower. This surprise factor makes the scene all the more dramatic. Steam trains now slowly chuff their way where once waters rushed. George Stephenson built the line through the gorge in 1836.

Fact File

Distance 8km (5 miles)
Time 3 hours
Map OS North York Moors East
Start/Parking Hole of Horcum Car park (A169-Saltergate Bank) Pay-and-Display 2 per day
Terrain Field paths and moorland.
nearest Town Pickering
Refreshments None - the Saltersgate Inn is currently closed and likely to remain so for some time
Public Transport Yorkshire Coastliner 840
Suitable for all
Stiles 4

  1. Start: Cross the road and walk down to a ladder-stile. From here take the rough path that descends into the Hole of Horcum. At the bottom, walking gets easier as you head across green pastures. The valley narrows and the path is confined to a ledge above Levisham Beck. Cross at a footbridge and bear right to head up Dundale Griff to reach a crossing of paths by Dundale Pond.

  2. Continue past the pond across the moor to a wall corner. Bear right away from the wall to reach the western escarpment of Levisham Moor. A rough track cuts diagonally down hill and across the moor to Skelton Tower and the edge of Newtondale.

  3. From the Tower follow the path northeast along the edge. Gradually the main path swings east keeping below Levisham Moor. So, about 1.5km from the tower take a lesser path to the left, which brings you back to the edge. Take care here, as there is a shear drop.

  4. Negotiate the gully where a stream drops steeply into the valley, and continue along the edge above Yew Tree Scar. Here you get your last view up the valley - the railway emerges from the trees and swings north towards Goathland and 'Heartbeat' country. Turn right alongside a wall and head for the Saltersgate Inn, visible in the distance. On your left a beck has carved another steep gully as it tumbles down into the valley. Leaving moorland you join a farm track, which leads up to the road near to the boarded-up Inn.

  5. Cross the road to a stile. Take the right-hand path, which climbs steeply up through trees to bring you out on the roadside at the top of the hill, near to the car park. With no refreshment at the Inn, your only option may be for an ice-cream from the van in the car park!

    Along the Way

    Skelton Tower - a ruined hunting lodge overlooking Newtondale. Built in the early 19th century by Rev Robert Skelton, Rector of Levisham.

    Saltersgate Inn - dates from 1648. The name comes from the days of salt smuggling. Fishermen brought their catch here from Whitby and Robin Hoods Bay to be salted in the beer cellars and avoid paying the salt tax. Legend has it that a man from the Inland Revenue was murdered by the smugglers, and was buried under the fireplace at the Inn. Since then, the fire has never been allowed to go out for fear of the tax man reappearing!
    Postscript (2012) - Alas the fire has not burned for several years. The Inn was so sold to developers who promised a major refurbishment and expansion, but work ground to a halt and the building has been a derelict shell for several years. Promised re-opening dates have been and gone. Will the legendary Inn ever reopen? Who knows?

    Arnold Underwood (March 2002, updated May 2012)

This page was created by
Arnold Underwood

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