George Wilkinson enjoys a walk across East Moors, near Helmsley – at least that’s what he thinks it’s called.
EAST MOORS – that’s what this place is known as, says my navigator, although this name lies two miles north on the Ordnance Survey map.
Helmsley Moor is nearer, but there are two of these, one north and one south. East Moor Wood is very near, on a nineteenth century map it is Collis Ridge.
Anyway, at the start of the walk there is the bright certainty of a red phone box, a red mailbox and, behind the rhododendrons, a little church.
It rained and on the drive up from Helmsley a ford was a few inches deep. A quarter of a mile along our first track, we crossed the charmingly named Bogmire Gill where thankfully there is a ford cum culvert and a walkers’ steel bridge.
Streams ran through pretty woods of oak and mossy birch. Cowhouse Beck is bridged at Old Fold.
The next woods, though, were not pretty, being recently felled, with the red logs stacked in triangles.
This is not a slow and claggy walk and soon we reached about 900 feet and the prospect of a lovely big bowl of pasture, of various trim and texture, with rushes on the north-facing side. And around this circle of green are forests of conifers and a dark screen of these held a patch of frost or hail.
We walked the edge of the bowl, a windbreak of pines trees hissed, molehills were black and streams and field drains clattered with clean water. Most peculiar, to all appearances, a long line of Christmas decorations was strung along an edge of heather moor. Their purpose was actually to make the game birds fly higher, over a wire fence.
The small farm at the end of the track is very neat and from it we took to moorland track through heather for a while, and here we splashed through another little side stream, one that starts just here, at the other top of our walk, at 900 feet again.
This half a mile of moor makes for variety, but is on the open access land of Helmsley Moor. So if you have Rover with you, you should instead look at the OS map and take a footpath through the forest.
And on another technicality, transferring from the open-access moor to a track through adjacent open access forest proved easy enough, not a difficult access point.
Then we were in the quiet and shelter, enjoying a smooth stride on the splendid forest track, for a mile-and-a-half in East Moor Wood, past all the shades and shapes of the conifers. Under the trees are giant ant-heaps.
When in doubt look at the map. Check your position at each point. Keep straight on unless otherwise directed.
1. From telephone kiosk and postbox by Old School House and church in trees, downhill on road 200 yards. Track on right (fingerpost), stile/fieldgate, footbridge/ford and left-hand track.
2. Bridge in front of Old Fold Cottage, right after cottage and its barn (no waymark) to grassy track, 200 yards, field gate to valley-side path.
3. Straight on uphill at tracks junction, 300 yards, right at junction (waymark).
4. Right at crossroads (fingerpost), ignore left fork after 30 yards, stay on track (sign Potter House Farm), track downhill, fieldgate (waymark) 5. Into farmyard, fieldgate out of farmyard (waymarks) and leave track and go straight across grass field.
6. Fieldgate to moor (waymark), 30 yards, right to track, ford, track becomes path as it goes downhill near and parallel to wood.
7. At lower edge of moor at wall/fence, right 20 yards, fence into wood, no gate, and immediately join good track ahead.
8. At junction, fieldgate on left and track downhill through field and rejoin outward route.
Distance: Five miles.
General Location: North York Moors.
Start: East Moors, Grid Reference SE609903.
Right of Way: Public paths and open access.
Date walked: January 2013.
Road route: Via Helmsley and Carlton.
Car parking: Roadside verge, near and north of red phone box.
Tourist & Public Transport Information: Helmsley TIC 01439 770173.
Map: Drawn from OS Explorer OL26 North York Moors western area.
Terrain: Moor and woods.
Please observe the Country Code and park sensibly. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, walkers set out at their own risk.