Walks: A glorious country walk from Harwood Dale

View over Harwood Dale
View over Harwood Dale

Harwood Dale is a small, straggling village in a pastoral location. Surrounded by woodlands, if you gaze south over the dale you see Broxa Forest. Then when the top of Reasty Bank is reached, there’s a great view across the valley to the North Sea.

Although St Mary’s Church is passed on this walk, the old ruined church of St Mary’s built in 1643, lies north-west of the village.

This five and a half mile walk is ideal for autumn or winter walking when cross-country routes become water-logged. It’s also grand by cycle, car, motorcycle, or horseback.

Access to Harwood Dale is from the A171 Scarborough to Whitby Road through Newby and Scalby.

Entering Burniston, continue past the Three Jolly Sailors, and turn immediately left just beyond the garage, along Limestone Road.

Follow signs to Harwood Dale, ignoring Gowland Lane (which forks off right) to pass Thirley Cottages and Waite Lane heading south. Moor End Road makes a right-angled bend down to Keasbeck Hill Farm and the Grainary Tearoom. This is your starting point, should you wish to take refreshment and enjoy all the centre has to offer.

Lying midway between Scarborough and Whitby, just off the A171. The Grainary has much to offer, including friendly animals, lakeside and woodland walks, plant sales and glorious country views.

You may well be tempted to stay for the day! There’s a play area for children, whilst you can enjoy anything ranging from a drink to a home-made meal, including gluten-free products.

Then take a fabulous walk or drive through glorious scenery of little more than 5.5 miles.

Leaving The Grainary, return up the driveway to meet the road, and turn immediately left into Harwood Dale.

Keasebeck Cottage is on the right, and sheep pasture. Drop down to the public telephone and chapel, then winding uphill you’ll see Moor Cottages etc to your right as you continue to St Margaret’s Church.

Descending from Harwood Dale village, magnificent views unfold as you approach Hardwick Farm and Hardwick House Country Cottages. A created lake is seen to the left midst sheep and cattle country.

At the junction near Murk Head, turn left. From the valley bottom climb up to a ‘T’ sign and ignore Low North Camp off to the right. Keep straight on along the road, climbing past a farm with views through trees to your left.

Arriving at Reasty Hilltop car park, the North Riding Forest Park sign features. Forestry lies to either side, creating a long, leafy tunnel – in summertime – heading directly to the crossroads at Thieves’ Dikes. Here, turn left as to Silpho Brow, through Surgate Brow Wood. A steep hill descends into open countryside once more, banked by ferns and wild flowers in season. Watch out for rabbits along this level lane.

Keep to the single track of Waite Lane across the valley, and rising by a lime kiln to Thirley Bank Cottage and Thirley Cotes Farm etc to reach Moor End Road. Turning immediately left returns you to the elbow-bend and The Grainary and more.

Distance: 5.5 miles – allow 2.5 hours of easy walking, but be prepared for some steepish hills.

Refreshments: The Grainary, Harwood Dale.

Toilets: The Grainary, Harwood Dale.

Map Reference: Ordnance Survey. Explorer Map OL27.

North York Moors Eastern Area. Scale: 2.5 inches to 1 mile.

Booklets : A new booklet by Maureen Robinson will soon be available. Village Rambles features 16 favourite villages, with colour and black and white photographs priced only £3 per copy.

All suitable for walks or drives, and all ages. Now available at both Scarborough Library and Scalby Library, or from Maureen and Michael Robinson. Ideal stocking fillers!