North York Moors walk - Arden Great Moor
- Credit: Paul Kirkwood
This walk guarantees some far-reaching views and definite seclusion in the heart of the North York Moors
I always feel rather clever finding routes that jump out on the Ordnance Survey map. The majority of this walk in the North York Moors doesn’t follow green dotted or dashed lines denoting public rights of way but no trespassing is involved as it’s all within open access land (see note, below). Well surfaced, clear and broad grouse shooting tracks provide simple navigation.
Shaped like a pouncing cat, the route starts at the tip of the tail. The climb is quite hard work but the going is very easy once you’re on large pancake flat top of Arden Great Moor. It feels like you’re up on the roof. The landscape gives the impression of a mountain with its top three-quarters chopped off, your route following the point of incision.
Views all around the rim are tremendous. The first feature that stands out is the Emley Moor TV transmitter piercing the sky like a needle. A little further round I ventured briefly off the track and through the heather to a cairn to admire the panorama across the Rye valley towards Hawnby Moor. I felt like I was on the bow of a ship. A burial mound provided the perfect perch for sandwiches. The best vista of the day is from Hambleton Street overlooking Whitestone Scar and Kepwick Moor and right across the Vale of York. I rank it as highly as the view from Sutton Bank but, unlike that renowned spot, you will probably have it to yourself.
At the start I mistook the sound of a farmer on a quadbike hailing his sheep for a curlew (which, along with redwing breed in the area). He was one of only half a dozen or so people I saw all day. I was reminded of the words of the Carole King song: ‘On the roof it’s peaceful as can be and there the world below can’t bother me’.
1. Cross bridge over stream and through gate onto track leading to Locker Farm. As track bears sharp L turn R through bridlegate onto initially sunken bridleway. Go through fieldgate then follow grouse shooting track as it bears L and sharply up hill passing shooting butt number 9.
2. Emerge on top of moor and turn L to pass post with white top. Shortly afterwards look out L for top of cairn which you can easily divert to through heather. Return to track and continue circumnavigation of moor. Pass line of butts and the head of a v-shaped valley.
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3. After 800m turn R and away from wood ahead.
4. After another 2.5km, a t-junction of paths in front of wall, turn R onto Hambleton Street track following acorn waymarker.
5. Go over cattle grid and, as footpath bears L turn R onto grouse track, passing ‘No Bikes’ sign. After completing moor top circuit drop back down towards the farm the way you came.
OS Explorer 26: North York Moors, western area.
Start/finish: SE 511944. For a shorter walk cutting out the initial ascent park at the small car park at SE 489915. Walk 800m north then join route at 3..
Distance: 13kms (8 miles).
Accessibility: Short, steep ascent to the moor but thereafter flat, clear track.
Time: 3 hours.
Parking: Lay-by beside gate for Locker Farm. Space for up to about five cars if dry.
Refreshments: None nearby. Try Osmotherley on the way home.
Note: Arden Great Moor is often not open to walkers during the shooting season from August 12 to December 10 and dogs are sometimes prohibited. Check the situation for the date of your walk via openaccess.naturalengland.org.uk.