Northallerton has never seemed like a place to start a walk, but three new routes alert GEORGE WILKINSON to a walk in the woods, skirting a gate that shouldn’t have been locked.

NORTHALLERTON, the county town flat on the plain, has long been a stopping place, but it is not an obvious place to start a walk, and we never have.

So when we read an article celebrating three such walks that had been sorted out by the Northallerton Ramblers and North Yorkshire County Council, we chose the one with the woods and the hill, polished our boots and headed for town.

The start is by the prison, the youth detention centre, unmistakable and now empty. We made a break for the countryside, street by street.

At the edge of town a woman said she saw “loads of dog walkers” and we moved out, past an unpicked hedge of elderberries, as a siren pulsed over the greening, rolling fields.

A new signpost kept us moving, metal kissing gates clanked, tall hedges were full of berries, a stream trickled down Dibdale and a wood rustled in the breeze. A pair of jackdaws were the brightest of the birds.

This is a walk for the views. I never realised there was a hill here. So often one is in the Dales looking across to the Moors, and visa-versa; this walk, being in the middle, alters perspectives and nicely locates Northallerton.

First, we watched the trains slide over the plains, and that same way, southwest, the backdrop is the Dales. Later we could see to the North York Moors and in particular to Black Hambleton with Roseberry Topping behind. Perhaps the star angle is into the mouth of Wensleydale.

The going was good but then, near the hamlet of Bullamoor, we were distracted by a cross-field footpath that the farmer had not reinstated and by a gate fastened with a Gordian knot of tight and rusted chain. This, despite the publicity for the route, and despite that County Hall, the headquarters of North Yorkshire County Council, the body that polices footpaths, is in Northallerton, two miles as the crow flies.

The descent was smooth, with nothing to stop the weather, with Northallerton laid out below, and a black cloud dumped a column of rain on the far side of the town.

Talking of rain, we were diverted around the construction of some interesting new waterworks – three million pounds worth of pipes, ponds, and concrete for the collection of floodwater from the local beck, to protect 172 properties and more. It is apparent from the walk that the beck flows off a hill significantly cultivated and treeless.

Starlings made a fuss in the suburbs; we fancy another go, on a crystal clear day.


When in doubt look at the map. Check your position at each point. Keep straight on unless otherwise directed. (wm=waymark, fp=fingerpost). There are directions for this walk and a route superimposed on the OS map on Northallerton Ramblers and NYCC websites.

1. From Crosby Road car park, leave by exit furthest from prison then right to road (cycle route signs, Lascelles Lane – no nearby sign), right at T-junction, half mile, right to Knotto Bottom Way (sign).

2. At Knotto Bottom Close, path (wm on fence) on left by house No 1 to field-edge path, hedge gap, right to field-edge path, left at corner with hedge to right.

3. Join road (fp), 300 yards. At lay-by, steps to metal snickelgate (sign), path swings right to steps, footbridge (wm), steps, 100 yards, snickelgate (wm) and left to field-edge path then grass path uphill by hedge and tree-lined banks of beck.

4. Metal snickelgate (wm post) in corner and into wood, path (wm posts), footbridge. Snickelgate out of wood, left to wide field-edge path, around corner.

5. Right to road (fp), 200 yards, drive on left (Old Tom’s Barn, fp, wm), edge of garden, wooden gate (wm), field-edge path, right at corner, 30 yards, hedge-gap by tree (wm post), 2 o’clock across field (path not reinstated), fieldgate.

6. Left to road, left at junction and immediately right (sign Brompton), 300 yards, pair of metal fieldgates on left (no sign, tangled chain) opposite white house, across field, gateway, by fence and crest hill, stile (wm).

7. To skirt farm – 2 stiles (wm), right then right and left around field-edge (wm post). Join farm track, left-hand bend, 200 yards.

8. Right to EITHER path with stream to your right OR if closed, track with stream to left to skirt flood works.

9. From between two bungalows, cross road to fenced path, pass school, 100 yards, left at T-junction (no sign), left at T-junction (Meadow Lane, no sign), left-hand bend with nearby garages to your right.

10. At T-junction (Meadow Lane sign), right to road slightly downhill. Left at mini-roundabout (Valley Road sign) and rejoin outward route by taking the first right.

Fact File

Distance: Five miles.

Car parking: Crosby Road car park.

Right of way: Public.

Date walked: October 2014.

Tourist information: Northallerton TIC 01609 776864.

Refreshments: Northallerton and the Fox and Hounds, Bullamoor.

Map: OS Explorer 302 Northallerton and Thirsk.

Terrain: Hill.

Difficulty: Quite easy.

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