Take the A170 back to AD90

Part of the Cawthorn Roman Camps' trail.
Part of the Cawthorn Roman Camps' trail.

Written by Maureen Robinson

Just three miles beyond Pickering, one can leave the A170 to ‘discover’ a further three miles ahead, the New Inn on the edge of Cropton village. The inn itself is not only surrounded by some of the finest walking country in England, but has its own brewery. Pick up a copy of Cawhtorn Roman Camps Trail, in readiness for your next stop at Cawthorn Roman Camps themselves! Your return route via glorious scenery includes Newton-on-Rawcliffe.

Start. If travelling from Scarborough, make your way to Pickering along the A170, and beyond Middleton and Aislaby, turn off right at Wrelton as signed, ‘Cropton 2.5 miles’. Passing Wrelton Farm turn right to Cropton 2.5 miles. This lane also leads towards Keldy Castle. Shortly reaching Cropton Brewery at the New Inn, you must call here to sample some of their home-brewed tipple, and obtain the little, comprehensive guide book to Cawthorn Roman Camps Trail.

Ale, according to the records, was brewed in this little village way back in 1613. During the 17th century, home-brewing was illegal, but it failed to deter residents producing pretty potent stuff, for soon Cropton merited its own stocks. So, from humble beginnings the brewery’s products progressed to win national recognition among ‘real ale’ drinkers.

During a guided brewery visit, one has the opportunity to see, taste and smell the brewing of award-winning beers. A potted history is given before each step of the brewery process is followed. Each beer has its own character, and Cropton beers have several unique brews to tempt your palate.

A tour of the brewery is available throughout the summer, and is located in the two-acre grounds of the New Inn.

Having enjoyed calling at the inn for your copy of Cawthorn Roman Camps Trail, continue to the village green just ahead. It’s a lovely oasis of green beneath the ‘arms’ of a widely-spreading tree where views extend to Rosedale. A photographer’s paradise!

Bearing right through the attractive village of Cropton itself you’ll find much to admire and may well decide to linger a while to seek its charms. Then – a gentle rise to the top of the hill before you head eastwards on a long, straight lane.

Ignore a turning left signed, ‘Sutherland Only’, and pass a turning right down to Cawthorn village. Slowing down, ignore the next turning left to see the sign almost quarter of a mile beyond, indicating your route off left along a track through silver birch woodland. This track leads to a car park around an island of trees.

Having parked your vehicle, read the information boards nearby: ‘Welcome to Cawthorn Roman Camps AD71. The army of the Roman Empire begins its occupation of northern Britain. Within a generation, the fierce tribes who lived between the Humber and the Tyne have been brought under Roman rule.

The main-control invaders built roads and legendary forces, forts and camps.

One of the finest examples of Roman military construction in Britain still exists on the edge of the North York Moor, about 100m from where you’re standing.

Cawthorn Camps is a group of three military fortifications built by the Romans between AD90 and AD130. Their defensive banks and ditches have survived for nearly 2,000 years. From here the Romans kept a watchful eye for restless natives’.

Find out more about this place by walking the waymarked trail. To fully appreciate the lay-out you’ll need Cawthorn Camps Roman Trail guidebook. It’s full of useful background information that really brings the site to life.

Now, enjoy the trail that follows a one-mile loop which may be completed in 45 minutes, but I’m sure you’ll wish to linger longer! Look out for marker posts which show the carved head of a Roman soldier.

Please keep to the obvious well-kept and level footpaths and respect this glorious countryside. Dogs are welcome, providing you have them under full control, and clear up any mess they leave.

There are eight posts in the entire trail, each indicated by a Roman numeral I to VIII, so you can’t get lost!

Follow the path from the car park, taking the right fork. Go through the gate (and please close it behind you), and continue along the path to post I. You’re on your way. Please note, when you’ve reached post VI, do go and appreciate the view from the edge of the escarpment. It may well prove to be one of the highlights of your visit. You’ll discover an amazing view point and seat for relaxation and observation too.

Take time to admire all the features so amazingly depicted on the Imperial Prospect’s panorama.

NB Should time permit, having completed the trail, do a Woodland Wander. Just follow the woodland walk sign from the car park through regenerating woodland, from moorland in 1945 to scots pine and silver birch woodland. Gradually oak, ash and sycamore will take over.

Returning to your vehicle your route continues left along the road to Newton-on-Rawcliffe. A viewpoint and seat to your left as the road swings through forestry is observed.

At a road junction, go right and wind down to picturesque Newton-on-Rawcliffe with green ‘islands’ and verges, plus the White Swan hub of village life. Quite a transformation from the ‘Mucky Duck’ of old!

A long, direct lane heads south to Pickering with views to the railway line, trout fishery, Pickering station, Beck Isle Museum, and Tourist Information. At the traffic lights in Pickering, turn left over the bridge, and it’s just 17 miles to Scarborough.

Total distance: 46 miles.

Refreshment: Village inns, but more choice for meals in Pickering.