A WALK along the high plateau of the western North York Moors to Scarth Gap and return past the delightful Cod Beck Reservoir. A straightforward walk for a winter weekend.

Osmotherley is often referred to as the walking capital of the North York Moors. It is certainly at the cross roads of a number of long distance walks.

The Coast to Coast passes close by, the Cleveland Way goes through it, while the 44-mile one-day Lyke Wake Walk starts here before heading to the coast.

It is also an attractive village with a pleasant centre and three pubs vying for your business. Park near the centre and head north up a road soon leaving Osmotherley.

After 400 metres turn left in to a lane with some impressive houses on your right. This is the Cleveland Way.

The lane becomes a track as it contours around to the north and on to open fields. The views hear are superb over the Vale of York and the Yorkshire Dales in the distance.

Enjoy it because the track soon enters some dense forestry. Good because the path retains its height, bad because the views are temporarily blocked out.

After entering the forest take the right fork signed Cleveland Way that leaves the track and climbs steadily for 300 metres. The path soon emerges however above the forest line and on to the top of the scarp.

The path, still heading north, passes a TV tower until it arrives at the high point of the walk at 299 metres. Here there is a trig point.

Do not take the path that drops back in to the forest but continue to follow the Cleveland Way which now bends north east and around to east across open access land.

There is some lovely walking here and it is almost too soon that the minor road is met at Scarth Nick.

I am reliably informed it is a glacial overflow channel but regardless it is a pleasant spot. Leaving the Cleveland Way turn south and uphill as the minor road starts on its return to Osmotherley.

It is a lovely ‘Herriot’ road with no walls blocking the view and the chance to wander away from the tarmac itself. I can almost hear the music from the opening credits now. As Cod Beck Reservoir is not far away the road starts to descend by the picnic spot of Sheepwash.

Some parking on the right indicates the arrival at Cod Beck Reservoir, an indication of the local beauty spot.

Cod Beck Reservoir is managed by Yorkshire Water and they have improved the path on both sides of the lake. The west side path runs through some lovely mixed woodland.

The reservoir itself was completed in 1953 and is a significant conservation area for toad management.

In February the toads are moved from the moors and placed near the water, avoiding the potentially dangerous road crossing. The dam marks where the path returns to the road.

From here it is no more than a 15-minute walk down hill in to the centre of Osmotherley and the tricky decision of which of the three pubs to visit.

Fact file

Distance: Roughly 5.5 miles.

Height to Climb: 230 metres (750 feet).

Start: SE 457973. There is roadside parking in Osmotherley. It will not be crowded this time of the year.

Difficulty: Easy. The route is straightforward with only short sections of climbing.

Refreshments: There are three pubs and a café in Osmotherley centre.

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 risk.

Please observe the Countryside Code and park sensibly.

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

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

•2019 dates now available for Beginners and Intermediates Navigation Courses.

•Offers a Guiding serve for those less confident in the outdoors

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/