UNUSUAL for the North York Moors two steep sided, heather coated hills dominate this walk, one at the start and one at the end of the walk with both providing excellent views over Hawnby and the surrounding moors.

Hawnby is a small village north of Helmsley on the western edge of the North York Moors. It is hidden away on the River Rye a few miles off the busy B1257.

Before setting off on the main walk head west for 400 metres and visit All Saints Church. Originally built in the 12th century it was rebuilt in the 14th century having

been destroyed by a Scots raid (probably). It is beautifully situated and has two bells set in an open bell turret.

Return to the centre of Hawnby and take to a path heading north up steep hillside. Keeping the woods to your right continue up the path as it climbs the broad shoulder of Hawnby Hill.

The hill is like an upturned boat so the steep initial slopes do flatten out and soon the walking becomes easier and thoroughly enjoyable.

The path passes a neat conical cairn before dropping steeply off the northern edge.

The views to the north are in to the heart of moorland country, to the east the bulk of Easterside Hill (slightly higher than Hawnby) and to the left the wooded Coomb Hill only partially hiding Arden Hall.

Having tested the knees on the descent off Hawnby Hill arrive at a road with some parking and a choice of paths.

Head north east along a lane to Sportsmans Hall but just before arriving at the hall take the footpath to the left and drop down to cross Ladhill Beck over a footbridge.

The large aerial to the north is Bilsdale Transmitter, over 1,000ft high and one of the most powerful in the country. After crossing the bridge climb out of the valley crossing three footpaths contouring the slopes of the second hill of the day, Easterside.

There are no official routes up Easterside Hill but this is Open

Access land and it is definitely worth the climb. The main footpath skirts the fell on its eastern side but leave this after you cross the northern spur of Easterside Hill.

A faint track heads directly up the fell but it is intermittent so just strike south and uphill, Easterside is not high and after a steep climb you will soon be on the summit plateau. It is a wonderful place, full of interest and great views.

It is almost a mirror image of Hawnby Hill. The trig that

apparently used to sit on the

summit has disappeared and aside from a cairn and a multitude of bird feeders it is completely barren.

From the cairn carry on south and as the hill starts to descend steeply join an excellent path that emerges from your left and drops down towards Hawnby. It joins the road at Easterside Farm and from here it is a pleasant walk back to Hawnby. Unfortunately, the pub is closed but there is a café or if you are after alcohol buy a can and return to the church grounds.


Distance: Roughly five miles.

Height to Climb: 350 metres (1,150 feet).

Start: SE 543898. Parking is available in Hawnby village

Difficulty: Medium/hard. There are two steep but short climbs and the walk is not long.

Refreshments: The Inn at Hawnby is sadly now closed but there is an excellent café to satisfy the thirst.

Be prepared: The route description and sketch map only provide a guide to the walk. You must take out and be able to read a map (O/S Explorer OL26) and in cloudy/misty conditions a compass. You must also wear the correct clothing and footwear for the outdoors. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, walkers head out at their own


Please observe the Countryside Code and park sensibly.

Jonathan Smith runs Where2walk, a walking company in the Yorkshire Dales:

•Jonathan has written his own book, the “Dales 30” which describes the highest mountains in the Dales

•He also runs 1 Day Navigation Courses for Beginners and Intermediates

•Join his Learn a Skill, Climb a Hill Weekend in October

To find out more details on any of the above and details of the 100s of walks in the Yorkshire Dales & Moors visit his popular website, Where2walk.co.uk https://where2walk. co.uk/