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SE5194/01: Arnsgill Valley and Cow Ridge

This walk is in one of the quietest, most isolated parts of the moors, and yet is only just over four miles from Osmotherley, one of the bigger of the moorland villages! The walk starts in the upper reachs of Rye Dale, before taking us to Head House at the very end of Arnsgill Valley, and back along Cow Ridge, with stunning views back into Rye Dale, including an unusual view of Hawnby Hill.

Ascent: 915 feet/ 250 meters
Length: 5.7 miles/ 9.2 km
Map: OS Explorer Map OL 26
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To reach the start point, drive south out of Osmotherley, before taking the first left turn, (signposted Hawnby). This road climbs up onto the edge of the moors, before turning sharply left and heading gently down into upper Rye Dale. After about a mile and a half of this, the road begins to drop more sharply, passing through Low Cote Farm before reaching a bridge over the Rye. Just before that bridge you will find a small car park (on the right).

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From the carpark turn left (heading north), along the road and straight up the hill towards Low Cote Farm. The stream on your right is actually the River Rye, getting close to its source in the Cleveland Hills.
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At Low Cote Farm the road bends sharply left. Here we leave the road and take the track that continues on in the same direction we have been walking, passing in front of the farm buildings. Stay with this track as it decends back into the valley. Keeping on the track, cross over a farm bridge across the River Rye. The track begins to climb again. Follow it.
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Hill End SignAs the track begins to level out, another track leaves it to the right, heading up towards Hill End Farm (signposted as a footpath). Take this turn and keep climbing up the track.
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As you reach the farm, the track turns right to face the farm, and then just before the main farm buildings turns left to head up onto the high moors. Take this left turn onto another track. This track will take you all the way along Arnsgill Ridge, with increasingly impressive views back towards Great Arden Moor.
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The track heads out along Arnsgill Ridge, before starting to decend back into the valley. Ignore the footpath signposted as heading away to your left along a stone wall. Instead, head through a gap in the wall, and keep on the track past Head House, one of the most isolated houses on the Moors.
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Arns GillContinue on the track down to Arns Gill. Cross over the Gill, and follow the track as it starts to climb onto Cow Ridge. There is a footpath marked on OS maps leaving the track and heading directly towards the ridge, but it has disappeared under the heather. Instead, keep to the track as it climbs up onto the ridge (if the gate on the track is locked head along the wall to find the footpath gate). Two hundred meters after passing through the last stone wall, the track turns sharply right. Take this turn. Ignore another track that turns off to your left, and head south along Cow Ridge, before following the track as it climbs up the highest point on our walk.
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At this point, the track once again takes a sharp turn right, and now runs along the top of Cow Ridge down towards Rye Dale. Ignore any sidetracks, and keep on going straight down the ridge, enjoying the views of Rye Dale, Arnsgill Valley and Black Hambleton on the skyline.
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Hawnby HillCow RIdgeNot a navigation point, but a viewpoint. As you continue down Cow Ridge, you will spot a very tall, thin cairn on the skyline, and begin to suspect that it might mark a rather spectacular viewpoint. You'd be right. Just beyond the cairn, the ridge steepens, so from here you get an uninterupted view of upper Ryedale, down as far as Hawnby Hill. This is one of those moorland views that is simply too vast to photograph sucessfully, so you are going to have to walk here yourself to truly appreciate it.
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The track eventaully reaches the road through Rye Dale. Turn right onto this quiet road and return to the start. On this last stage of the walk, we keep a lot of the height we gained until very close to the end. The road drops two hundred feet in the last fifth of a mile.


Explorer Map OL26This walk is on Ordnance Survey Explorer Map OL26 (North Yorks Moors Western Area)

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