Written by Maureen Robinson
Before embarking on this very varied and interesting walk, I do suggest you equip yourself with an Ordnance Survey map of the scale 2.5 inches to the mile. I recommend North York Moors eastern area – an essential map where more detail is provided.
This 5.5 miles route starts from Woodlands Drive near Scarborough Hospital. If you use public transport along the A171 Scalby Road, you should turn off along Woodlands Drive, and beyond Woodlands School is the hospital’s main entrance. Continue just beyond for a few paces only, to a large opening by an old metal gate. This is now where the public footpath begins. [The neglected, signed public footpath is almost opposite the public house The Duchess].
Follow the new, easier path along the edge of a field, with the Graham School boundary fencing several paces to your left. Meeting a tarmac path bear right as far as the second lamppost. Then go left to ascend the bank, and keep to the school boundary to meet a stile. Cross the stile into a field. A line of electricity posts guide you over the field to gorse bushes. Pass through, or under bushes; negotiate a boggy area and reach the perimeter of a caravan site.
Keeping caravans to your right, and fields of livestock (eg llamas) to the left, access Row Brow Farm. The official public footpath is through the stockyard and via a gate, though I understand the farmer prefers one uses the pathway to the left. Ascend the woodland bridleway (usually very muddy) or keep to the left banked side.
Reaching the top you’ll discern two tall masts. Here, turn left along Row Brow, with woodland to your immediate left. Stride out and enjoy the peaceful scene as you head towards the vicinity of Seamer Beacon and Baron Albert’s Tower on Seamer Moor off right. There are several tumuli in this area, and an earthwork.
Don’t miss the access point to Baron Albert’s Tower, as there’s no sign or waymarker, just padding over the field’s boundary to prevent injury.
Baron Albert’s Tower is in complete ruins, elevated and overgrown by trees and brambles etc. There are several means of access which you’ll appreciate on the OS map.
Scramble over the large boulders and through undergrowth to explore this almost haunting retreat.
Enjoy a picnic up here with magnificent views in all directions . On one boulder is the inscription: ‘Baron Albert’s Tower’.
Can you find it? Do you have any information regarding this site, or Baron Albert himself maybe?
I suggest you retrace your steps to Row Brow and continue your direct route towards the A171. Eventually, fork left to keep company with woodland and reach the A170.
Cross the busy road with care to a sign post opposite. Cross a track, and follow metal rails around Jacob’s Mount caravan site seen to your left. Sheep pasture is to your right.
Arriving at a prominent communications pylon, descend Jacob’s Ladder.
This is a flight of 62 steps through woodland, a section of footpath, and short flights of a further 35 steps. Next, cross the field ahead to enter the track from Lightfoots Road, and you’ll find immediately adjacent to the public footpath you’ve left, a public bridleway sign.
Enter the gate and follow the sign: ‘Bridleway to Woodlands Drive’.
Ascending The Mount, you may find the track very muddy after rainfall, so do be prepared. Views over allotments feature to the right, and as you gain height the scenery unfolds. House Cliff Lane wanders through Harlands Nature Reserve with a host of wild flowers in season.
Meeting a cross-track, veer left and you enter Stepney Road.
Here, cut across the road with care, for almost opposite, but a little lower down is a ‘Bridleway to Woodlands Drive’.
The metalled road passes cottages, and Stepney Croft to reach a gate. Please leash any dogs before entering the field beyond. Sheep etc may be grazing.
Keep hedging to your right and follow a track around the field boundary to a gateway in the corner. Beyond, you cross a final grassy field, gently rising to a gate providing your exit from this country trek.
Turn right away from the crematorium to admire the broad, grassed verges planted with mature trees of cherry and lime etc. Graham School now features to your left. The public house named The Duchess awaits you on the corner of Hovingham Drive.
Returning to your departure point, glance back at the skyline to see Row Brow silhouetted against the horizon.
Distance: 5.5 miles approximately.
Refreshment: The Duchess, on the corner of Hovingham Drive and Woodlands Drive. Take a picnic to enjoy en route.
NB Binoculars very useful.