North Yorkshire Walk - Roseberry Topping

The iconic Roseberry Topping 

The iconic Roseberry Topping - Credit: Paul Kirkwood

Is it time to revisit one of North Yorkshire's most famous climbs?  Known as 'Yorkshire’s Matterhorn', Roseberry Topping always delivers big views and a sense of achievement - and this route explores its surrounding area

1. From the car park walk up gravel track. Go through gate then turn right and immediately fork left. Turn left at next fork at bridleway sign. Leave wood via kissing gate and follow broad grassy path past stone shelter on right. Pass through second kissing gate and follow paved path to summit.

2. With views of Teesside at your back head down eastern flank on steep, windy path with wall on right. Go through bridlegate and fork right onto stony track. At National Trust sign for Newton Moor strike out left across heather, initially to right of lone fir tree and pond aiming 200 yards to right of rocky outcrop. (A path is indicated on map but undiscernable). As you approach outcrop head towards standing stone to right which comes into view.

Starfish decoy

Starfish decoy - Credit: Paul Kirkwood

Maintain easterly direction, descending to sandy track. You should meet it close to Starfish decoy (barely marked on OS map: NZ 602124).

3. At track turn left. At end go through bridlegate and turn left onto bridleway. Just before National Trust  sign for Newton Moor turn right down sandy track in plantation. As track bears sharp left turn right down narrow footpath to Hanging Stone.

4 Retrace steps to track, turn right and immediately right again down winding path. At track turn right and at next junction turn sharp left. Fork and bear left on stony track. Pass through two bridlegates. Straight after the second gate turn right onto minor path. Continue ahead as path joins bridleway coming from left and contours around base of Topping. Pass through bridlegate then turn right onto track you started on.

Points of interest

Roseberry Topping and shooting box

Roseberry Topping and shooting box - Credit: Paul Kirkwood

It's known as Yorkshire’s Matterhorn. I call it the toddlers’ first mountain, ideal for little legs with big ambitions. But, whatever its name, Roseberry Topping – and it sounds like something you’d put on your dessert too – provides an irresistible allure for motorists bound for the Yorkshire coast on the A172. The ease of access, brevity of ascent and its volcanic profile all combine to make this one of the most popular walks in northern England, as evidenced by the graffiti etched into every rock and scrawled onto the trig point on the summit. This is a route for families, trainers and dogs. Descending east to the moors beyond, though, the crowds soon disperse and you can have the area largely to yourself.

Starfish decoy

Starfish decoy - Credit: Paul Kirkwood

The late 18th century shooting box on the approach to Roseberry Topping is an interesting feature and this route includes two lesser known highlights.  One is a Second World War installation called a starfish decoy. Taking its name from the initials SF for ‘special fire’, it consists of the control bunker for tanks that were filled with liquid that was ignited then quenched. The process created steam to give the impression of a burning city to approaching German bombers and encourage them to drop bombs on the moors rather than Teesside. The other novelty is Hanging Stone. It’s well worth the minor diversion to create your very own Lion King moment with views stretching all the way to the sea at Redcar.

Eat here

The Kings Head Inn in Newton under Roseberry

The Kings Head Inn in Newton under Roseberry - Credit: T Bloxham Inside Story Photography

The Kings Head, Newton under Roseberry. Modern, smart and dog friendly inn with views of Roseberry Topping, children's playbarn and courtyard for alfresco dining.

Velveteen Rabbit, Great Ayton

Velveteen Rabbit, Great Ayton - Credit: Paul Kirkwood

The Velveteen Rabbit Luncheon Club, Great Ayton. Very highly rated, Bohemian café as quirky as its name suggests. Specials include cajun spice halloumi toastie with pineapple salsa and home-made slaw.

Compass points

Start/finish: Postcode TS9 6QS, grid ref NZ 570128.

Time/distance: 3½ hours/9.7km.

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Accessibility: Includes off-piste stretch (1.2km) across heather requiring good navigation skills.


Map - Credit: OS

Map: OS Explorer OL26, Landranger 93.

Parking: Newton under Roseberry car park. £4.80 for the day. Contactless payment available.

Map link: