What To Do

Rosedale Abbey and North Dale


Map based on Ordnance Survey mapping by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of the Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office. © Crown Copyright.

Distance: 4 miles/6.4km

Height gain: 495ft/151m

Walking time: 2-21/4 hours

Start/Finish: Rosedale Abbey car park behind the Milburn Arms Hotel. GR725961.

Type of walk: Meadows, enclosures and fields, then head down through thick woodland plantations to pleasant field paths

This spectacular walk explores two glorious dales ­ North Dale and Rosedale. Beginning by a delightfully placid beck, the path quickly heads for the slopes of North Dale. The road at the top reveals a breathtaking panorama of Rosedale, once a centre for ironstone mining. Extensive plantations shield the path for some time before the walk heads across pastoral countryside to finish as it started ­ by the banks of a beck.

Today, Rosedale Abbey is an integral part of the North York Moors tourist trail. However, the scene was very different during the second half of the 19th century, when the village played a key role in the Ironstone Age. It was the dawning of the Industrial Revolution that signalled a huge demand for ironstone, with much of it being transported to blast furnaces in the North East for use in shipbuilding. At the height of this activity, the population of Rosedale Abbey increased significantly, with more than 5,000 men working in the nearby mines. The crumbling remains of the calcining kilns can be seen outside the village.

From the car park go through the gate and across the sports field to the next gate. Cross a stile and continue towards the next boundary. Keep going with the Northdale Beck running alongside the path, its dark, peaty water in stark contrast to the luxuriant green carpet of the surrounding meadows. Wild garlic grows in the banks and undergrowth on this stretch of the route, its distinctive scent often floating on the breeze. Continue on the path as it skirts the meadows, following the beck through the lower reaches of North Dale. The delightful scene changes little at this early stage of the walk.

Cross numerous field boundaries, following the white waymarks which signify this is a concessionary path, and a little later a bridleway sign and a yellow waymark (public footpath) are seen up ahead. Cross the footbridge spanning the beck and pass through a gate. Avoid a footpath running off to the left and continue ahead on the bridleway as it rises above the beck. Cross a field boundary to reach the road on a bend and join a footpath opposite. There are glorious views of North Dale at this point. Cross the field to a ladder-stile, then head diagonally across the next field to cross its boundary. Keep going along the grassy slopes of the dale, following the vague outline of a path which climbs gradually to a fence.

Keep to the left of the boundary, pass some dilapidated farm outbuildings and join a track leading up to a gate by some trees. Turn left and follow the track up the steep slope, pausing at the top to admire the breathtaking views of North Dale. Look for an opening in the bank on the right, leading to a gate beyond which is the road. The view of Rosedale, the walk’s next objective, is no less impressive. Turn right for about 40yds/m to a stile on the left. Follow the path down through mixed woodland into the dale. Cross a beck and continue through the trees. On reaching the edge of the woodland, avoid the stile and bear right, following the path along to Clough House. Pass behind it, veer left and make for a stile in the fence.

Turn right and follow the drive to the junction. Bear left and walk down to a gate and seat by the road. Turn left and walk between lines of terraced houses, a reminder of the days when Rosedale Abbey was an important mining community. Some of the houses have unusually long gardens at the front. Cross a beck and at the junction continue ahead towards the centre of Rosedale Abbey. Follow the road round a right-hand bend, then bear right by the buildings of Bell End Farm to join a public footpath, following it down the left boundary of a field. Cross a stile and continue between margins of undergrowth before descending via a flight of stone steps to a footbridge.

Follow the path over several stiles and continue with a field boundary on the right. Pass through a kissing gate and head straight on along the drive leading to a caravan park. Turn left at the public footpath waymark and walk along to the road. Bear right, then left at the junction and keep left at the Abbey Tearoom and Stores, passing the parish church before reaching the junction. Cross the road opposite the Milburn Arms Hotel and return to the car park.

The information given in this walk has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a general guide. Whilst all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that details were correct at the time of publication, the author and Country Publications Ltd cannot accept any responsibility for inaccuracies. It is the responsibility of individuals undertaking outdoor activities to approach the activity with caution and, especially if inexperienced, to do so under appropriate supervision. The activity described in this walk is strenuous and individuals should ensure that they are suitably fit before embarking upon it. They should carry the appropriate equipment and maps, be properly clothed and have adequate footwear. They should also take note of weather conditions and forecasts, and leave notice of their intended route and estimated time of return.