Middleton Tyas is a quiet village of limestone houses on the lower slopes of what was once Gatherley Moor. However two centuries ago it was a bustling place with 16 licensed inns providing accommodation for travellers passing through Scotch Corner, only half a mile away. Traffic on the main roads that meet there also meant work for the many wheelwrights, joiners, smiths and other craftsmen who lived in the village.
Distance: 8 miles
Time: 5 hours
Conditions: field paths and bridleways, some mud on the field sections, mostly well signed, a couple of awkward, broken stiles
Refreshments: Village shop and Shoulder of Mutton in Middleton, Black Bull in Moulton
OS Explorer Map 304, both sides
Originally published: 26 March 2016
The little green (GR 226058) close to the sole surviving inn, the Shoulder of Mutton, makes a suitable starting point for this 8 mile walk through the little fertile valleys that lie to the south.
From the junction by the green follow the road to Moulton and in 100 yards turn sharp right into a little dell surrounded by woods. The lane, a short cut, rejoins the Moulton road in another 200 yards. Turn right and take the first lane to the left in a similar distance.
In the fields on both sides of the lane are numerous green mounds, the capped shafts of copper mines which in the 18th century helped to add to the prosperity of the area and contributed to the building of a number of fine houses both in the village and the surrounding countryside.
In about 200 yards our walk goes left through a gate on the edge of a small wood but if you have time then the parish church of St. Michael and All Angels in another 100 yards is well worth visiting. It is noted for its Norman columns in the nave and, in the south aisle, described by Pevsner, 'a 13th century exquisite coffin lid with a foliated cross and much more foliation'. On the chancel south wall is a monument to the Rev John Mawer who claimed to speak 22 languages and was descended from King Coyl. By the south entrance are a number of late 18th century skilfully decorated tombstone. As you return to the main walk look out for the base of a medieval cross at the entrance to the new churchyard.
From the gate the path descends into the valley of Cow Lane Beck which is followed downstream for one field to a footbridge. On the right side of the valley are a series of long green terraces, probably lynchets.
From the bridge the right of way heads left, out of the valley towards Murky Hill Farm, a quarter of a mile distant. Some 200 yards short of the farm, cross a hard core farm track and bear right on a green path which heads south towards Kirk Bank Farm. For the next half mile there are sweeping views, half left, to the Cleveland Hills.
The path keeps the farm buildings away to the right. At a junction turn left to a field corner where you should pass into the next field ahead before turning sharp right through a gate. The path continues over the next three fields to a row of cottages. Go to the right of the buildings and over two stiles (one provided by a water trough) to emerge on the access track to North Lingy Moor Farm. Go left down to join the road from Moulton to the Cowtons and turn right.
You could halve the walk here by continuing along the road into Moulton.
The main walk follows the road for 200 yards before turning left on a concrete track to South Lingy Moor Farm. At the farm follow the track where it turns right with offices on the left. The right of way is then signed sharp left between two barns to the field beyond. Cross the first field to a gate. In the second aim for the right hand corner of a small wood and continue along the next field side to a stile. Then turn right down the next field to emerge on a lane in front of the 18th century Uckerby Hall. Follow the lane in front of the hall and over Uckerby Beck to the Moulton to Scorton road.
Cross over on to a bridleway which then turns left (unsigned) down the gravel track by the side of Bridgeworth House. It continues through three red bridle gates to a grassy lane. Turn right along it for half a mile to a junction. Go ahead through a gate and over a slight rise for 150 yards to another junction.
Earlier OS editions show a pool here, obliterating the bridleway to the right. However the pool has been drained and the right of way restored. Follow it through to the hamlet of Gatherley. I was using an older OS map so walked a slightly longer alternative (both routes mapped).
From Gatherley our walk follows the lane to Moulton (a short cut across the fields to the right is also mapped). It is an easy walk and in half a mile passes Moulton Hall, one of two outstanding houses in the village, both built by the Smithson family. The hall (owned by the National Trust with access by arrangement with the tenant) was built of ashlar sandstone in the 1650s. It has Flemish gables and a most attractive hammer finished banding.
In another 200 yards is Moulton Manor, of the 1570s onwards, rubble built with ashlar dressings for the corners and window frames.
A few paces beyond the manor is the tiny former Wesleyan chapel of 1863 and a small green. Opposite the welcome seat a sign down the drive of The Granary indicates the path back to Middleton.
It's an easy walk though in the first field keep to the left and look out for a stile in the trees after about 100 yards. From there the path crosses three more fields along the lower flanks of a shallow valley (an old hedge line is help for part of the way). The path then joins a farm track shown on the OS map as Smithgutter Lane. Middleton Tyas is another half mile.