North York Moors walk - Goathland

A vintage steam train makes it's way across the heart of the North York Moors near Goathland (c) Dan

A vintage steam train makes it's way across the heart of the North York Moors near Goathland (c) Danielrao/Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Plan for this perfect post-lockdown leg-stretcher, which takes in the North York Moors, waterfalls and the odd well-known film location.

This gorgeous moorland village may have become more recently known for its role as Aidensfield in popular television series, Heartbeat, and as Hogsmeade Station in the Harry Potter films. But Goathland has been pulling in visitors since the 19th century. Once a thriving spa town, with a booming hotel and guest house economy, the Victorians flocked here to witness the local waterfalls of Mallyan Spout and Beck Hole.

It is also the starting point for this glorious 12-mile walk which starts at Goathland Church – found at grid ref. NZ828007 – although you could also start at the main car park opposite the shops and walk around the road to the church.

From the church go through the iron gate to the right of the Mallyan Hotel. The track heads downhill through woods, for 1 km towards West Beck. Once you reach the stream it’s worth turning left for to the Mallyan Spout waterfall. After wet weather, it can be spectacular, but it tends to dry up in the summer. Be careful crossing the stones – they can be slippery.

From here, head downstream. The track climbs away from the stream before dropping down again to join a larger track opposite Railway Cottage. Turn left towards Beck Hole but look out for a signpost on your left.

After locating the signpost, turn left and cross the footbridge into the woods. Head uphill until you find another signpost. Turn left here, still uphill, until you come to another sign and this time take the right fork. Within 0.5 km the track breaks out of the woods and turns right along a fence before following the fence through to Thackside Farm. Follow the farm lane until you reach the road.

The next part of the route is directly opposite across the road and runs down beside woods. This track is often overgrown. At the bottom of the slope the track turns right although it can be difficult to see. You need to head through the trees following a vague, boggy track. The path runs uphill through tall bracken until you reach a gate into a field.

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Follow this to the corner of the woods. The track then runs down across a field towards the Goathland to Egton Bridge road. Turn left (west) when you reach the wall. This comes to a gate with an obvious track running slightly to the left. Take this track rather than trying to follow the one on the map, which peters out.

The route is now across open moor and there are a couple of track junctions. Make sure to keep left heading roughly NW until you reach the road.

Turn left then right off the road to a track junction near the wall. Turn right here and follow the path down through bracken keeping the wall roughly on your left. After a little while there will be a gatepost and the track appears to continue on (northwards) with a lane to the left. Turn left down the lane and follow it through Swang Farm and across fields until you come to the farm lane. When this turns right – see grid ref. 799043 – look for a signpost on the left.

This track crosses fields, steeply downhill in places, and turns right before meeting the road. Be careful on this road, it is steep, narrow and twisting. At the bottom of the hill turn right towards Egton Bridge (there is a pub on the left if you need refreshment). After crossing the bridge look out for a lane on the right. This is not a public road but is a permissive bridleway.

After 2 km this lane emerges onto a road. Turn right and follow this to Grosmont. If you’re tired, there is another pub and a train back to Goathland. On foot, cross the railway and up the steep hill until, just before the road junction, there is a track down to the right. When this meets a farm road turn left and uphill to a gateway. The preferable route is to take the unmarked footpath on the right before the gate. The preferred footpath stays in the woods and passes Green End Farm before meeting a road at Hollin Garth.

The track onwards is on the left after about 100m. Follow this, with a wall on your right until it meets a rough vehicle track. The route onwards is usually difficult to see – head to the trees due east and don’t follow the track downhill. The track you want runs just below the small walled enclosure but there is also a good track next to the wall above this – they meet up anyway.

Follow this to a gate and onwards with woods on the right. At the next gate, past the cottages, turn right.

The track drops steeply downhill to a small stream. Cross the bridge and turn right to the ford at Darnholme. This is a beautiful place to stop, especially when it is not too crowded. Follow Eller Beck upstream and uphill taking you back onto the moor. After a short while the track starts to descend. If you parked in the village, follow this path down to the station and then up the road to the car park.

If you started at the church, continue above the station until you meet another road. Turn left (uphill) then right onto another path. This leads downhill past a camp site to a cottage by a stream. Cross Eller Beck and under the railway onto a lane past Abbot’s House then uphill to the campsite. There is a 4-way signpost here. Continue straight on, following the left-hand edge of the campsite. There is a stile in the corner and the path leads across fields back to the church.


Start/finish: OS grid reference NZ828007, YO22 5AN (approx. location only)

Distance: 12.5 miles/20.3km

Ascent: 1900ft/576m

Terrain: Moderate

Time: Around 8 hours

Parking: Goathland Visitor Car Park, (currently closed due to Covid-19) can be found on The Green in Goathland Village.

Refreshment: Goathland Tea Room in Westmount, is the perfect place for a quick bite, a Yorkshire cream tea, or a slice of cake - the ideal reward after your walk

Map: Ordnance Survey Explorer OL27