Saturday, 5 January 2013

Sutton Bank, North York Moors

The North York Moors National Park has a great deal to offer and its expansive views are one of the highlights for me. The Lyke Wake Walk gave us plenty of eye candy as we were surrounded by endless desolate beautiful moorland for hours on end, stretching as far as the eye could see.

The views from Sutton Bank are quite different in nature. Perched in the south-western corner of the National Park, the hills rise up out of nowhere. And sharply too, as anyone who has enjoyed a drive along the A170 from Thirsk to Sutton Bank will testify to. With this higher ground rising sharply and seemingly from nowhere, the views stretch for miles and miles right across to the Pennines over to the west. When you hit the higher ground along this walk you also get to gaze deep into Lyke Wake Walk territory - and it's pretty tempting to just keep on walking towards that mast in the distance.

Starting off at the National Park Visitor Centre it's a short walk through the trees before you arrive at the first of many spectacular viewing spots, where you can enjoy the view across the plains and down to Gormire reservoir far down below you. The path makes for a brilliant walk and it is well maintained and pretty level so this walk is great for walkers of all abilities - all you need to do is remember to turn around and walk back to the start!

Paths go off left and right at regular intervals giving you the option of heading deeper into the National Park or head steeply downwards into the woodland below. Our route saw us continuing northwards along the Cleveland Way, which is one of those "we'll do it one day" multi-day trails to add to the list alongside the Coast To Coast, Pennine Way, Cumbria Way etc.

We soon passed High Barn and shortly afterwards crossed onto a path along the old Hambleton Drove Road. This was as far as we went, and so we headed back through the woodland back on the Cleveland Way. We soon headed downhill which was a steep climb down and enjoyed the atmosphere as we followed the forest paths.

The ground underfoot started off as a good track but got gradually smaller until we were more or less stumbling around the boggy woodland.

We reached a wider but similarly boggy path where we had the choice of heading downhill to visit Gormire reservoir which was the original plan, but it was extremely slippery so we decided to head back uphill and onto the Cleveland Way path along the cliff tops. From here it was a fairly short walk back to the National Park Visitor Centre.

Instead of stopping here we decided to carry on back along the Cleveland Way to have a look at the glider field of the Yorkshire Gliding Club.

We were hoping to get a view of the famous Hambleton White Horse, but stood above the horse cut into the turf, it just looked like a patch of gravel from this angle!

Never mind, we retraced our steps back to the car, completing a fantastic walk.