In his 'North Riding' published in 1941, Arthur Mee describes Glaisdale as 'the name of a dale shut off from the world by the moors and of a village of old and new houses dotted on the hillside climbing to Glaisdale Moor'.
Distance: 6 miles
Time: 4 hours
Grade: easy, one initial steep climb
Conditions: well signed throughout
Refreshments: Carr End
OS Explorer Map OL27
Originally published: 11 April 2014
We explore both valley and village in this easy 6 mile walk which takes in stretches of moorland, peaceful pastureland and even a short stretch by the River Esk. Our starting point is Beggar's Bridge over the Esk just below Glaisdale Station (GR 785055). There's an excellent new explanatory board by this graceful packhorse bridge which still has its barely legible datestone of 1619 on the crown of the parapet.
From the bridge go under the railway arch and cross the footbridge by the ford over Glaisdale Beck. The lane beyond is at first hard surfaced before curling to the left and climbing steeply through East Arnecliff Wood. After half a mile it flattens out and from Snowdon Nab Farm follows the access lane up to its junction with the road from Egton Bridge to Rosedale.
Turn right along the road to a path signed right just beyond a cattle grid. In the angle of the road and the path is the Bronze Age round barrow of William Howe. There are widespread views from here down Eskdale and over to Egton on its ridge some 3 miles distant.
After some 250 yards the path passes through a small plantation. The next section is a delightful panorama walk high above Glaisdale's farms and chequered fields. Just beyond the trees is another historical treasure. Recently restored and dating from at least the 19th century is a line of 77 bee boles. Built into the side of the wall we are following, they acted as shelters for the skeps, the hives of wicker, straw or heather which would be left here in the summer. South facing, this would help the swarms to benefit from the sun and the proximity to the heather moorland.
Beyond them the path is well signed and there are traces of a stone trod before it reaches Wintergill Plantation in about half a mile. Head for a prominent gate into the trees and continue downhill into Glaisdale on a path cushioned by pine needles. Where it leaves the wood the path crosses a field to reach the valley road to the left of High Gill Beck Farm.
Turn right along the road to the next farm, Low Gill Beck, where a bridleway strikes off left across the valley floor. Bear right in the first field after which it's easy going to Glaisdale Beck. There's a two slab clapper style footbridge for a dry crossing and from it a stone causeway continues almost to Plum Tree Farm.
From there simply follow the farm track up to the dale side road. To be more adventurous try the path just beyond the farm which goes half right across a sloping field to the lower end of a small wood. There you'll find a moss covered stepped wall stile before a climb through the trees to the right where turn right.
The road is accompanied by a very fine stone trod, part of an extensive causeway running the length of the dale. In 100 yards you reach Glaisdale Head Methodist Church built in 1821. Though tiny it is ashlar built, the stones finely tooled with a herringbone pattern and almost certainly, like the causeway, came from the sandstone Post Gate Quarries on the hillside above. On the opposite side of the road is Postgate Farm which might have a connection with Father Nicholas Postgate, the 17th century Catholic priest and martyr.
The walk continues up through the churchyard to a gate on to a green track which we follow uphill to the right. In a few yards you'll notice a low bridge on the left. This is still crossed by a track up on to the moors. The bridge was built to allow an incline to be constructed from an iron mine away to your left which operated for a few years in the 1870s. There are no traces of the mine but you can still follow the incline under the bridge and then up the hillside ahead on to Glaisdale Low Moor (there's a parallel path too).
At the top our walk follows the line of the railway as it skirts the sheer faces of one of the quarries on the right. The high quality stone in the 19th century was used in the building of London's Waterloo Bridge as well as one of the lighthouses at Whitby.
In about 300 yards we join the hard core track which comes in left from Glaisdale Rigg. This is still occasionally called the Coach Road for it was in the 18th century the main route south from Whitby to Pickering and York. Bear right along it for about 400 yards to a gate at the end of the moor (with welcome seat). It's now a quarter mile stroll down Hall Lane into Glaisdale village.
There's a little green where the lane joins the village street. Turn right for 100 yards to the Robinson Institute, given by Thomas Robinson to the village in 1911 to mark George V's accession. To the right of it a path descends steeply to the sound of the rushing Esk far below. Where it reaches a tarred lane go left downhill down to the riverside.
In 200 yards on the left a private bridge leads to the site of the Glaisdale Ironworks which used the ore extracted from the mines at Post Gate Hill and, closer to hand, from Glaisdale Mine marked by humps in the field on your right. Little remains except the brick built explosives magazine in the same field.
The lane now climbs to a junction by the Arncliffe Arms at Carr End. Go straight ahead down a rough path and over Glaisdale Beck to pick up the outward route.