Michael Turner shares his experience of his walk through Mixed Deciduous Woodland, A Greened Iron Mining Landscape, Heather Moorland and a Victorian Landscaped Parkland.
Distance: 6.5 miles
Start: Grid Reference 585153
My walk started at the Guisborough Forest Visitors Centre on Blind Lane in Pinchinthorpe (near the old railway station). The route is undulating with 2 short, but not over severe, climbs, I would advise that you just take your time.
There are 2 old railway stations here, a pair of small Victorian cottages or the much larger typical 19 century station. I took the path to Guisborough market place along the railway track and then onto the metalled mine track through the woodland until I came to a T junction, at which point I turned left. Here I could see Roseberry Topping to my right, Hanging Stone ridge ahead of me and Highcliff to my left. The latter and Roseberry have suffered from mining and quarrying, the word ‘Topping’ seems to be a local name for large conical hills on the North York Moors.
Continuing along the metalled road industrial track I passed a terrace of charming estate cottages with large gardens and surrounding trees, keeping the old mineral railway track on my left and fine views of Roseberry on my right. A sharp turn to the left brought me to Home Farm; a Grade 2 listed ‘New Model Farm’ with its built in Wilkinson Hydro Turbine power system installed in 1880 by Joseph Pease, the local industrialist mine owner. The farmhouse looks south over the buried remains of a Cistercian religious house, St Leonard Leper Hospital, a C16 farmhouse, a medieval village and several C19 century iron mine railway track beds, and Victorian Parkland .
The track ends at the tarmac road where I turned right for two hundred yards, and when opposite the old village I took the road along the railway track on my right up to the Hall Gill Mine and turbine reservoir. Near the gate I turned right and took the now forestry road through the mixed deciduous woodland, climbing steadily up hill. Turning neither left nor right for approximately 1 mile till I came out of the woodland, with fields on my right and a hillside on my left. For the next few minutes I follow the track on ahead until I reach the open National Trust. Here the path becomes narrow and uneven and signs of mining can be seen in spoil heaps.
I am now at the foot of Roseberry Topping and the hill now looks conical with signs of mining activity and tramways lying ahead. This mine employed women miners and was worked during WW1. There are information boards here and there are fine views of the hill escarpment and the plain below.
I turned left here up the sailors trod where sailors changing ships at Hartlepool or Whitby used to walk to get a new birth on board a ship, and journeyed via path and purpose made steps up the Cleveland Way route hillside, the second climb on my route. At the top fine views can be had all round the points of the compass, and Captain Cooks monument can clearly be seen. Here I did not turn left or right, but took the Cleveland Way long distance footpath, the middle path, over the heather moors. At the edge of the partly felled forest, I followed the forest earth road East till I came to Percy Rigg. This is one of the drove roads from Guisborough to the Vale of Pickering, and I followed it downhill through the deciduous woodland forest till I came to a crossroads. I turned right here along a metalled forest road past the Victorian reservoir and the open cast iron mining sites till I descended down the old railway track at Bold Venture Gill mine (45 degree slope) into Hutton Village. This purpose built mining village in the 1850s is where you can see the 3 grades of mining housing. It is a very desirable place to live now, a very pleasant wooded valley.
About 200 yards after the last set of terrace houses, I turned right onto a forest dirt track and followed the foot of hillside until I came to a track gently climbing to my right. Here I took a footpath to my left till I came to a wire fence which I followed down through the undergrowth till I came onto parkland off Hutton Hall. At the green locked gate marked private, I turned left past the ruins of the old hunt kennels and came out into a field with a track which takes you along the front of Hutton Hall and gives you fine views of the parkland and hills.
This was the home of Joseph Pease (Baronet), an industrialist who laid out this landscape and loved his Rhododendrons.
I walked through the gate, past the Timber House on my left, skirting around the former village school, and carried on up the track till I came to tarmac road and the old rail track to Hall Gill Mine. On your right you can find a stream coming out of a brick tunnel. This tunnel runs underneath the centre of the rail track I walked along at the beginning of the walk. At the tarmac road I turned right and returned via Home Farm, wondering how much it would cost today to create it, and onto Pinchinthorpe in which I took a bus home.
I have enough sight to go country walking by myself, but a long cane is essential even here when the route I took uses well graded paths.