The sound of silence

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by Maureen Robinson

Few people experience the sound of silence nowadays. Perhaps even fewer thrill to the haunting call of a curlew; the “laughter” of rippling water, and the graceful flight of a heron. Such lovely things are nature’s soothing balm.

The glorious scenic drive of 10 miles from Scarborough to Blackwood is one of the finest in the area. Just take the A171 Whitby road as far as Scalby/Newby library, and turn left at the Rosette Inn. At the far end of Hackness Road, turn right to cross the road bridge spanning the sea cut. Keep to the left at Scalby’s village green, up Hay Brow, and follow signs to Hackness. Pass St Peter’s Church and crossing the road bridge veer left. Reaching a road junction at Hackness Village Hall, turn right and head for Langdale End, with The Grange and the Moorcock Inn well beyond to meet your needs when open! You’ll observe Howden Hill off right. Continue along the lane to an obvious lane junction with signs. I suggest you park near the public telephone, or as convenient. Ignore the lane off left which leads to Dalby Forest Drive. Take the ‘Crosscliff Farms Only’ road to walk by Noddle Farm and continue along a broad track. Shortly, you see a lay-by to your left and follow the track, framed by lofty larch trees. Pass between a pair of gate posts, and you’ll observe larch trees to either side. Beyond, you’ll notice that larch feature to the left only. Just close by, seek a descending, timber-strewn grassy path off right. It passes a tree stump to your left as you take the upper grassy track with a large clear-felled area to your right, where a considerable amount of clearance has taken place. Follow the narrow, sunken path which becomes a grassy, rutted track curving at the foot of a low bank through woodland in a north westerly direction. Keep to the obvious descent, with woodland and rhododendrons to either side. Mosses carpet the wetter 
areas, and frogs appreciate the puddled hollows! Listen for chiffchaffs and other bird calls in the deep silence.

The track becomes wider, drier and littered by wind-blown twigs and leaves.

Cross a mere trickle of a stream to your left and keep to the lower footpath with Crosscliff Beck to your right. It may be muddy as you climb a short bank between rhododendrons, aided perhaps by the felled tree trunk to your right! Then descend to the level and keep straight on between rhododendron bushes which give a riot of colour in summertime.

Hearing the rushing surge of water, stand in awe of the stepped waterfall across the beck! Take the footbridge marked with a 2 and 9, and the netted footage will prevent slipping. Over the bridge, ascend the footpath through rhododendrons and brambles. A little higher, and you will discover not only another waterfall, but a glistening hidden gem – the jewel of Crosscliff Wood.

Before you stretches the placid water of Crosscliff Lake, in a beautiful setting of rhododendrons and alder. Fringed by the flowers of yellow flag or wild iris and frequented by herons, it’s a scene you’ll never forget. Why not take a photograph?

Leaving the lake, follow the footpath through rhododendrons to re-cross the footbridge. Keep Crosscliff Beck to your left as you return. Pass an electricity post and then 
ascend and descend once more alongside the felled tree trunk for extra safety! Go up the path and re-cross the trickle of a stream to ascend the broad track littered with leaves and twigs etc. Conifers are to either side. Shortly, leaving the shady, puddled path you’ll recognise the clear, tree-felled area off left, and proceed uphill with larch to your right. At an option of paths fork right beside the tall larch plantation. Having reached the top, and the forestry drive, turn left to retrace your steps.

Follow the forestry drive/bridleway and you may recover a ‘blue man’ sign. Continue through the open gateway between gate-posts, and identify many trees and bushes en route to the cross-road. Turn right to return to Blackwood Bungalow. Maybe you’ll decide to purchase home-made produce, such as prize winning preserves, free range eggs, and home-grown vegetables before making your homeward way to Langdale End 2 miles, and Scarborough 10 miles.

Distance of return route from Scarborough: 20 miles

Distance of short return walk: approximately 3 miles maximum.

Acknowledgement to Michael - the man behind the driving wheel!

NB This walk is a bit of an adventure when tackled for the first time.

Take care in wet weather – uneven ground, roots and wind blown debris. May be extended.

Map Reference: Ordnance Survey OL27 North York Moors Eastern area (scale 2½ inches to 1 mile).

Clogs used to be made from the wood of alder trees growing around Crosscliff. The wood was roughly carved before being floated down the streams. Later collected downstream, it was sent to industrial towns in Lancashire and the West Riding by rail. Farm workers who wore 
clogs locally, frequently stuffed them with straw for greater comfort.