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River Rye



The River Rye is the main river of the western moors. Three of it's tributaries, the Rivers Seph, Dove and Seven run through the main valleys in the area (Bilsdale, Farndale and Rosedale) and drain much of the higher ground in the area (motorists might be forgiven for believing that the Rye runs up Bilsdale, which contains the main road north from Helmsley, but the Rye actually branches off to the west at Hawnsby).

In its lower reaches the Rye is a gentle meandering river, running through an attractive wooded valley, but it emerges from one of the emptier and wilder corners of the area, the moors of the Cleveland Hills and in particular Wharlton Moor and Snilesworth Moor, overlooked by the steep northern slopes of Arden Great Moor.

In its lower reaches the Rye passes the ruins of Rievaulx Abbey, and around Duncombe Park before marking the southern boundary of Helmsley. Further upstream it passes several farms, but Hawnsby is the only village that can lay claim to the Rye.


The River Rye rises almost at the western edge of the moors, just to the east of Osmotherley. Rye Head is just to the south of Swainby Shooting Lodge, at the south-western end of Whortlon Moor.


The Rye runs south-east through the Moors. The upper stretches of the river pass through some of the wilder parts of the area, before reaching Hawnby. Just east of the village the River Seph flows into the Rye. The Rye then flows through Rye Dale, passing Rievaulx before reaching Helmsley. After leaving the Moors it flows east, flowing into the Derwent just north of Malton.


Our walk on Hawnsby Hill returns to the village along the slopes overlooking the River Rye

Our walk into Thorodale crosses the Rye on one of the bridges damaged in 2005

Our walk on Cow Ridge starts from the River Rye

The Rye is not well served by riverside paths and the only real chance to walk along any significant stretch of the river comes in the access land around its head, where the going is often rather difficult.

Named Tributaries

Stonymoor Sike
Proddale Beck
Arns Gill
Wheat Beck
Locker Beck
Blow Gill
Eskerdale Beck
Arden Beck
Dalicar Brook
Ladhill Beck
River Seph
Mall Dike
Deep Gill/ Cadill?
Grass Keld
Haggs Gill
Snip Gill
Hollins Gill
Sword Gill
Borough Beck
Spittle Beck