Written by Maureen Robinson
Aislaby is an attractive village to the west of Ruswarp, near Whitby. It provides an admirable starting point for this Eskdale Valley walk.
Access is from the A171 Guisborough to Whitby road via Aislaby Lane, or from Ruswarp to the A171 turning left along Aislaby Lane.
Park in the vicinity of the inn and walk in a westerly direction past Pond House. Across the road is the former school which became the Parish Hall.
St Margaret’s Church soon features to your left, and a handsome War Memorial 1939-45 at a prominent forking of the roads.
Where Moor Lane forks off right, keep directly ahead along Egton Road. Here, the charming properties and grassed verges create a well-maintained image.
As your way descends, you may still observe the pathway of the Romans on an ancient stone beside left walling.
From the brow of the hill views unfold.
The lovely, peaceful lane above Eskdale provides access to a number of farms as you follow it for about a couple of miles.
Reaching a sign on the left indicating Newbiggin Hall, Private Road, turn left down this access drive which becomes the public bridleway known as Old Park Lane.
Descending this track, overhung by oak trees, remain on this main Sleights track to pass Newbiggin Hall Farm and Hall.
At a barn, beyond fencing, cross the field, and at the far end enter a second field and proceed with hedging to the right.
Your approach to Heck’s Wood is along an ancient trod, or footpath of paved stones. Your path continues along the perimeter of Heck’s Wood.
Leaving woodland, your route follows the edge of a field with trees comprising oak, ash and sycamore etc to the right. Your Esk Valley walk has begun!
At the next exit, keep straight on along the bridleway alongside a field hedged to the right.
Reaching the far end of this field your route keeps to the left field boundary of hedging and scattered oak trees. Remarkable views extend over the Esk Valley towards Ruswarp.
Leave the field at its far end and continue along a well-used trod, following the left field boundary of hedging.
Beyond a gate, and a way-marked post, cross rough ground, and winding down an insignificant path which may be muddy, you reach a narrow track. Here turn briefly right and then immediately left through Back Wood. Then veer left down a few steps to cross a stream. Enter a waymarked handgate and ascend the bank into a meadow.
Cross the meadow and continue along the footpath with a small wood to your left.
Entering a gate, keep to the trod beside the left fenced boundary of a field. Leaving this field, accompany the trod as it leads over the next hedged field. Remain on the trod as it descends to give you access into a lane.
Turning left up the lane and passing Lodge Farm to your right, you quickly reach Coachman’s Cottage to the left, and beyond a stone gateway veer left at a fork.
An ascent up the narrow lane leads to Applegarth, and Beechwood near stone gateposts.
Meeting the outskirts of Aislaby, turn right along the road to return to your departure point.
Distance: 5 miles.
Refreshment: I suggest a picnic, as there are no cafes along the route.