Maps: OS Landrangers 100, 101 and 94; Outdoor Leisure 27
Start: Hole of Horcum viewpoint (852937)
Finish: Bus stop at Goathland car park (833013)
Distance: 7.6 miles
Natural England NCA: 25 (NY Moors and Cleveland Hills)
Special interest: Malo Cross, Fylingdales
Start from the Saltersgate National Park car park and bus stop.
Follow the A169 road north to the bridleway, first turning on the right. Turn here and then go left at the next fingerpost (A). At the path junction (B), go right, staying on the path which skirts the edge of the steep cliff side. The route follows a ditch (on the left) then bends right before cutting down left. At the bottom of the slope stands Malo Cross (C).
Turn left, following the direction to Lilla Cross and stay next to the boundary fence on the right. (Note that much of the forest shown on older OS maps has probably been felled.) The flat surface makes this a boggy stretch, even in summer, so be prepared for wet boots.
Cross the Forestry Commission (FC) access road and then soon, just before the RAF Fylingdales boundary fence, bend right and take care to follow the bridleway marker posts to the small gate at (D).
The next section of the walk follows a Permitted Path within the MOD property and goes parallel to the direction of Eller Beck as far as (E)*. Here it joins the p.r.o.w. which is part of the Lyke Wake Walk. Turn left and carry on to Eller Beck Bridge (F). If required, this can be used as an emergency escape point.
Turn right and use the wide grass verge to reach the road turnoff at (G). Go left towards Goathland and follow the road as far as (H). Leave the road and take the tarred bridleway to Birchwood (I).
At Birchwood the path goes to the right of the farmstead and then at the end of the small wood there is a sharp bend left up to Partridge Hill Farm (J). Here turn right; follow the bridleway down over Little Beck and stay on the open unfenced road to the junction at (K).
Cross the road; go left for about 60-70 metres and take the signed footpath. It skirts round the front of the buildings and then, after crossing a wide track, leads down to Goathland railway station. Cross the rail line; note the old mill on the right and continue ahead to the car park and bus stop on the right hand side of the road.
* Our original plan had been to turn right at (D), take the bridleway along Worm Sike Rigg, turn north to Lilla Cross and then follow the Lyke Wake Walk westwards down to (E). However at the time of writing, the last section is a quagmire; hence the reason for using the MOD concessionary route.
Reference the MOD Permitted Route as shown on the accompanying map, please note the following:
The permitted agreement started on 20 April 2012 for a period of ten years subject to three months’ notice to terminate at any time. There are three restrictions:
(a) No dog(s) are allowed unless kept on a short lead
(b) Access is not available on 2nd January each year
(c) Access is not permitted during the hours of darkness, that being after dusk and before dawn
Lewis Graham has suggested a five-fold classification for the enigmatic crosses found on and around the edge of the North York Moors. Many of them remain as only stumps without their cross-pieces. Preaching Crosses are thought to have originated when Celtic monks spread the Christian message across North Yorkshire. Memorial Crosses are believed to have been erected in memory of particularly well-loved priests or monks. Boundary Crosses or Stones indicate divisions of land between adjacent landowners. Waymarker Crosses were invaluable navigation aids across desolate moorlands in poor weather conditions. Market Crosses marked the focus of both the economic and social life of village communities.
Malo Cross (like Mauley Cross) is named after the de Mauley family, apparently notorious poachers, who resided at Mulgrave Castle. It stands at the foot of Whinny Nab on a branch of the Pannierman’s Road which runs south-west from Lilla Cross. On the head of the cross is the initial K with R E underneath – Sir Richard Egerton Kt. For about 50 years the cross had disappeared but was returned in 1924 after being found in a Pickering garden.
Lilla Cross is by far the oldest cross on the NYM and is regarded as one of the earliest Christian monuments in northern England. The Cross stands on the Robin Hood’s Bay Road (i.e., the Old Salt or Fish Road). This track starts at Saltersgate Inn and joins a number of other tracks leading to Robin Hood’s Bay. Lilla Cross was moved to its present site in 1952 by the Royal Engineers to avoid possible damage from gunfire on artillery ranges.
Lilla is recorded by Bede as one of King Edwin of Northumbria’s thegns who, in AD 626, saved the king from an assassin by taking the fatal blow himself. Why Lilla’s body should have been carried many miles to be buried in this Bronze Age barrow is a mystery, only compounded by the discovery in the 1920s of some Anglian jewellery in the Howe – but dated to some 300 years later than Lilla himself.
Fylingdales ‘Golf Balls’ (‘ping-pong balls’ was another nickname) were the three huge white spherical domes (‘radomes’) built in the early 1960s to give advance warning of a nuclear attack. The globes were designed to protect the radar equipment inside from adverse weather conditions on the moor. As time went on, the radars were used for tracking space satellites.
In 1989 work began to replace the Golf Balls with the construction of the truncated tetrahedron (‘pyramid’) that we see today. It is probably fair to say that many of those who initially had reservations about the wisdom of building huge radomes in a National Park, now think back nostalgically to the good old days; after all, Golf Balls were far more photogenic than a miserable looking half pyramid!
Fylingdales is a Royal Air Force radar base and is also part of the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System (BMEWS). As part of intelligence-sharing arrangements between the United States and United Kingdom, data collected at RAF Fylingdales are shared between the two countries. The primary purpose is to give the British and US governments warning of an impending ballistic missile attack (part of the so-called four minute warning during the Cold War). A secondary role is the detection and tracking of orbiting objects. While the radar station remains a British asset operated and commanded by the Royal Air Force, it also forms one of three stations in the United States BMEWS network. The other two stations in the network are Thule Air Base, Greenland and Clear Air Force Station, Alaska.
The Saltersgate Inn was built in 1648 and contains a peat fire which, until recently, reputedly burned continuously since 1801. Once a stopping place for stagecoaches and a tollhouse, it was called the Saltersgate Inn because it lay on the Robin Hood’s Bay Road from where fish was brought for salting before being sent to towns inland.