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Up hills and down Dales on the trail of the horseshoe walk
Part one – Rosedale to Church Houses
THE term horseshoe walk is given to a walk, surprisingly enough, where the route is walked in the shape of a horseshoe. Usually it is over high ground over old tracks and paths, often high up in the fells and mountains.
I know of at least 14 of this type of walk ranging from eight to 19 miles with seven in Cumbria, three in Wales and others scattered around the country as far away as Scotland and the Isle of Wight. Of course, the best horseshoe walks are on our doorstep, the paths mainly provided by courtesy of the mineral railways around Rosedale and Farndale.
So let us talk a walk around our very own horseshoes.
I have split the walk into two sections balanced between the two horseshoes with an overnight stay at the Feversham Arms at Church Houses.
We will walk the first part this month and follow with part two next month. Part one starts from Rosedale, once a powerful mining area where you can leave your car overnight. It finishes at Church Houses, your refuelling and rest stop before continuing the next day up a challenging hill from the start.
Let us not forget why these paths are available to us and thank the mining and railway engineers for doing a sound job leaving easy paths for us to walk on. Many an accident occurred around here in the mining days with trains being derailed or breaking the tow up the long pull from the mines at Hollins Farm to chimney bank top.
The winter weather caused great difficulties for the miners as well working on the deposits scattered around the area with some being trapped in the winter snow high above Farndale.
However, times have changed, but perhaps not the weather regardless of what the scientists might be telling us. So let’s put our boots on and get walking, we have a long way to go and it looks a bit like snow.
Start from the centre of the village and walk past the Abbey tearooms. Continue along until just past the entrance to the caravan site, then turn right over a bridge across the River Seven signed to Hutton-le-Hole via Chimney Bank. In a few paces the road turns sharp left, leave it to go right to take the public footpath through a gate alongside house number 20. Climb the steps to a stile into a field, then continue uphill to exit over a stile.
Cross the road, then take another stile into the golf course grounds. Follow the waymarked path through the golf course to soon exit over a stile into a field. Go left now to climb towards and over a large stile. Bear left here following the direction of the footpath sign to continue climbing to soon meet a narrow path which leads to a stile. Continue climbing until you see a row of houses above then head to the right of them, this is chimney bank top.
At the path, follow it round to the right to join the old railway track, the start of the Rosedale Horseshoe. Follow the cinder track for about four miles, then leave it on a path bearing off to the left to a small roadside car park. We now leave the Rosedale Horseshoe to join the Farndale Horseshoe.
Cross the road and take the Farndale road opposite, cross the railway bridge then go immediately right onto the old railway track to start the Farndale Horseshoe walk. Keep straight ahead across the Rigg on the wide, stony road. The surface hasn't changed much since carts and carriages used this road from Kirkbymoorside and York to Stokesley.
In a little over a mile on the top of a hill, you will see a large sloping stone on your left. This is the Cammon Stone with a Hebrew inscription said to have been erected and carved by an eccentric clergyman.
In about 1.5 miles another stone appears on the left, this time a guide stone with the inscription telling you that you are on the Kerby Rode.
Half a mile from this stone, at the bottom of the hill, another track crosses your path. Leave the Farndale Horseshoe here to turn left to pass through the old mine workings and exit onto the road near Monket House turning right. In 100 yards, just past the house, turn left at the road junction signed to Church Houses and Castleton, down the steep hill to your overnight stop at the Feversham Arms at Church Houses.
Distance – 16 miles (25.5km)
Time – 6.5 hours
Grading – Steep hill at start then easy walking
Best maps – OS Outdoor Leisure 26 or OS Landranger 94
Start/grid ref – Rosedale Abbey, grid ref 724960
Parking – Rosedale Abbey car parks or roadside
Refreshments – Look forward to the Feversham Arms at the end.