Let neither bog nor beams deter you, says GEORGE WILKINSON. This is a rare walk.

FEN BOG doesn’t sound a buoyant start to a walk. We skirted high above it, under the spooky presence of RAF Fylingdales, in moorland sunshine and radar rays.

In his very charming and intelligently traditional new book, The Moor, William Atkins is informed that the radar beam is angled at three degrees above the horizontal, information he regards as partial.

Let neither bog nor beams deter you; this is a rare walk.

Certainly the bog is the focus of many a scientist. From above it just looks like an off-colour field, filling the valley. It is dead flat, a mat of vegetation floating on a very deep morass of sodden peat. A deer bounded over without mishap.

We came down to the top end of the bog, to the tiny ruin of Fen House, a clear stream, minty scents and ragged robin flowers.

Today’s valley is North Dale, named Newtondale further south. It has the curves, the steepness, the depth, and the railway. A steam train chugged through now and then and a diesel with the ace InterCity logo.


We watched and listened as we strode round Fen Moor which gleamed with purple moor grass, a metallic colour, and wondered how to get into the valley.

Occasionally there are classy waymarks, arrows chiselled into stone, and one we followed down, it was steep, steeper because we lost the path in the bracken.

At the bottom, at the railway crossing, orchids flowered under bog myrtle shrubs, and we had a useful chat with a couple of walkers about ways out of the valley which, when it came, was a steep exit, but at the top, in the cool of the conifers is a generous bench, for a sandwich and the rest.

The shade was brief, then the moor looked vast. Green beetles flew, nothing else. Bang in the middle is Simon Howe, a prehistoric stone arrangement, together with a trig point and a walkers’ cairn that is probably part prehistoric stones.

There are 4,000 years and two miles between the howe and the radar station, a structure connected to Colorado 4,500 miles away and to a variant of the nuclear MAD policy, that is of Mutually Assured Destruction.

The end was nigh, parties of walkers came in on the Lyke Wake Walk, the exhausted, the legless, the lost (by eight miles) and those with bacon frying for them at the car park.


When in doubt look at the map. Check your position at each point. Keep straight on unless otherwise directed. (wm=waymark, fp=fingerpost).

1. From A169 along track, after Fen Bog info board and 50 yards before gate, left across rough ground, 200 yards, gate in fence, path mostly in heather, sometimes faint, ½ mile.

2. At tree, fork right downhill, 50 yards, fork right (stone wm with arrow), clear path downhill, bridge over stream.

3. From ruin, path steep uphill to right of gully, at moor pass stone wm with arrow other way, over moor, then path approximately by edge of valley. STEEP DROPS.

4. Right (stone wm with arrow), take care, steep downhill. Gated footbridge over beck, railway crossing (sign), footbridge, path up through grass to gate.

5. Right to forest track, 700 yards.

6. Left-hand bend, 50 yards, find path on left over tiny ditch bridge by small rock, steps steep uphill through wood, more steps.

7. At top, bench and right to grassy forest track, 1/3 mile. At left-bend fork right on makeshift path to pass small pond to your left, 50 yards, path with wall to your right and felled area to your left. STEEP DROPS to right.

8. Stile (wm) out of wood and left to wide ‘track’.

9. At gate on left, right to footbridge and path uphill (fp). On moor, stay on main path at fingerpost (bridleway). 10. Fork right to path 100 yards before Simon Howe (large cairn), right to track, fork left just before wooden panel grouse butts. Gate, railway crossing, footbridge, gate, track uphill to car park.

Fact file

Distance: Eight miles.

Car parking: Along track.

Right of way: Public and open access.

Date walked: June 2014.

Tourist information: Pickering TIC 01751 473791.

Refreshments: None.

Map: OS Explorer OL27 North York Moors eastern.

Terrain: Moor and valley.

Difficulty: Steep descent and ascent.

Please observe the Country Code and park sensibly. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, walkers set out at their own risk.


• YORK HOBOES: York Hoboes Rambling club is looking for new members to join its long-established walking club. Membership is open to anyone over 16, and children over 11 if accompanied by an adult. Cost of membership is £5 per year ( this entitles you to 10% off in selected outdoor shops). Walks take place on the second Sunday of every month, leaving York by coach between 8.30 & 8 .45, usually returning between 6 & 7 PM.

We have A & B walks, always walking together, B Party usually between 6 & 8 miles, A Party may do up to 12 miles depending upon terrain. Walks are usually in the North York moors, the Dales, the Wolds & occasionally further affield. Rambles are led by competant members of the club, at the end of the walk we usually have 1 hour for refreshments.

For details phone 07939143846 or E Mail millybogs@btinternet.com