An enchanting walk round Great Fryup Dale

View of Great Fryup Dale from Lealholmside
View of Great Fryup Dale from Lealholmside

Great Fryup may suggest a good old, full English breakfast. The name sounds attractive, but I’m afraid it has no connection with cooking. You’d better enjoy your eggs, bacon and mushrooms before you depart.

The title is the name of a village lying south-west of Lealholm, and south-east of Danby. It’s believed to come from the name of an original Norse settler ‘Friga’, and ‘up’ is a corruption of hop meaning a small valley. Between Little and Great Fryup Dales is Fairy Cross Plain. In this area, residents believed that little green men lived in cracks and crevices, or underground in hiding. They certainly paid the wee folk due respect and courtesies.

This enchanting walk of about six and a quarter miles encircles Great Fryup Dale, using single-track lanes which are remote and beautiful. The advantage of country lanes means you can’t get lost, and don’t suffer the problems that cross-country routes may present. This route is ideal for walkers, cyclists and motorists alike, enjoying farmsteads, and misty horizons over towering hillsides embracing the dale, watered by Great Fryup Beck.

Access to the starting point is by taking the A171 Scarborough to Whitby road, to the outskirts of Whitby. Then keep straight forward at the traffic lights over New Bridge. Passing the Caedmon School, proceed to the next traffic lights as signed to Teesside. At the roundabout, remain on the A171 Teesside Road heading for Guisborough. Seek a left turning as signed to Lealholm 2.5 miles. Keep to this road, as steep and winding hills drop into Lealholm from all sides.

Passing a school sign, cross the railway bridge just east of Lealholm station, and the Catholic Church stands on the left hillside site. Continue past the Board Inn, and seek Mill Lane Farm on the left.

From here, go right off Lealholm Lane, to park near the lane junction as signed to Fryup. Having parked with consideration to local farmers, enjoy this circular route. [If you prefer a shorter walk, take another driver with you, and alternate a little walking with driving, so it’s about three miles each!]

Start. Follow the single track lane between stone walling via Wildslack, with most impressive views. Continue to the next lane junction, heading towards Danby and Fryup, but at the approach to Wheat Bank Farm, go left to Fryup Dale. You’ll see Fryup End Farm to your right, and then fabulous views are revealed across the dale. Finkel House lies to the left, later followed by Glen Garth and Woodbine Cottage, Hollin Hall and Hollin Barn, The Coach House and Prospect House etc, before a grassy island is reached. At this point turn right through Street along Street Lane. You may see Street Farm off left.

Crossing the level floor of Great Fryup Dale, take the roadbridge over Great Fryup Beck and wander up the lane between fields, gaining height as the ascent meets a road junction. Here, leave the Danby road at Nuns Green Lane and turn right towards Lealholm. Great Fryup Dale is now to your right as you return. You may observe a profusion of ash and holly trees in this locality. During winter months fieldfares from Scandinavia gorge on the holly berries.

Ellers Farm lies to your right descent, and then you may see Great Fryup Outdoors Centre. Look out for black, melanistic pheasants in the vicinity of farms, and wend your way to Fir Tree Farm and Brookside Farm. There’s a sharp bend as you approach Furnace Farm. Ignore a turning left to Houlsyke. Head for Lealholm 1.75 miles. Pass Wheat Bank Farm on the left, and at the road junction turn left to return along your outward-going route to your starting point.

Distance: 6.25 miles of easy walking along country lanes.

Refreshment: Yorkshire Cycle Hub, Great Fryup Dale and return by way of Lealholm village for shops, tea rooms and inn.