SE 5489/02 Thorodale and Great Arden Moor
This walk takes us west from the village of Hawnby into the hidden valley of Thorodale, onto the western escarpment of the moors and back across the edge of Great Arden Moor. On a good day the views to the west are very impressive, looking out towards the Pennines while the views into Thorodale are interesting on all but the foggiest of days.
Ascent: 1,550ft/ 475m
Length: 8.8 miles/ 14km
Map: Explorer 026 North York Moors West
Last Walked: 15 October 2005
There is a limited amount of roadside parking in Hawnby. Take care not to block any gates or impede access.
1 (SE 542 898)
We start at the highest point in the village of Hornby, close to the pub and the southern end of Hornby Hill. Head west out of the village, passing to the right of the pub. The road heads steeply downhill towards the River Rye.
2 (SE 534 899)
Follow the road as it crosses over the River Rye, and then turn left onto a footpath. This path runs parallel to the river for a very short distance, and then curves around to the right and begins to climb up the slope. The path passes through two fields, becoming a rough track in the second field. At the very start of a third field, turn right and climb straight up the side of Coomb Hill.
3 (SE 530 899)
Our track climbs up the side of this third field, approaching the south east corner of the woods on Coomb Hill. Just before it reaches the edge of the trees, turn left onto a track that heads around the south side of the hill. Follow this track as it enters the wood. Ignore a track that leaves to the left heading downhill, and keep on the main track as it curves right around the hillside.
4 (SE 522 902)
Where the track leaves the trees, the OS map shows the path zigzagging across the next field. There is now a permissive path that cuts off this corner. Head north west across this patch of open ground towards the corner of the field. At the northern edge of the open ground a track heads back into the trees, heading away to the right. Follow this until you reach a minor road.
5 (SE 523 904)
Once at the road turn left and follow it for just over two miles. After passing to the left of Arden Hall, the road becomes more of a track, climbing gently up the southern side of Thorodale. It soon emerges out of the trees, and crosses some open fields, before reaching the heather. Follow this track until it reaches the western escarpment of the moors, and the Cleveland Way
6 (SE 489 914)
Turn right onto the Cleveland Way, and follow it north as it runs close to the top of the escarpment. Ignore the first right turn, about a third of a mile along the path, where a stone wall climbs up from the left, and continue on until you have walked about half a mile along the Cleveland Way.
7 (SE 491 922)
For most of the time we are on the Cleveland Way, there is grass to our right. After about half a mile we pass through a stone wall and reach the heather. Almost immediately after this turn right onto a track that heads east across Arden Great Moor.
8 (SE 505 916)
This track passes around the northern end of Thorodale and a side valley. After passing the top of the second of these valleys, the OS map shows a footpath that keeps close to the edge of the moors, but this was not visible on my last visit, so stick to the track. Where the track splits into two, take the right hand branch, and follow it as it curves sharply around to the right and descends into Thorodale.
9 (SE 502 915)
Where the track reaches the edge of the woods in Thorodale, turn sharply left onto the track that heads east into the woods. Follow this track as it winds its way down Thorodale, ignoring any single tracks joining from the side. At one point we reach a crossroads where two forest tracks cross - continue straight across here. The track eventually emerges from the trees just to the north of Arden Hall. Continue due east towards Mount Pleasant Farm. One field before reaching the farm our track joins another one climbing up out of the valley - turn left onto this track (seen here with a pheasant on the gate).
10 (SE 525 911)
At Mount Pleasant turn right onto the track that heads due east through the farm. Continue along this track for just over one fifth of a mile.
11 (SE 529 912)
After crossing two fields, this track turns sharply to the left. At this point leave the track and turn right onto a footpath that heads south, running gently downhill towards the edge of Half Moon Plantation, then runs along the eastern edge of the woods.
12 (SE 530 907)
Last time I did this walk, the bridge over the stream running out of Thorodale had been washed away in flooding, and so I had to wade across. Hopefully it has been replaced by now. Cross the stream and continue south, returning to the road. Turn left onto the road, and follow it back into Hawnby.