A Stroll With Stu - five-miler around Glaisdale made for perfect sunny Easter walk
I feel it is my duty to pay a visit to any new independent café, to see if I can blag a free cup of tea by promising a five-star write up in the Gazette (I don’t really – I just see it is a new excuse to rest my wobbly old legs).
Accordingly, this five-mile figure-of-eight route from Glaisdale was punctuated with an early refreshment stop in the rather incongruously named Bev and Bob’s Brew – Organic Tea Garden.
It was the hottest Easter Saturday on record and I was relieved to escape Northern’s massively overcrowded two-car train from Middlesbrough which had seen at least 50 people turned away en-route.
Fortunately a bus had been ordered, which would get them to Whitby in time for Christmas.
Head up the main road to Glaisdale and as you begin to enter the main part of the village the café is on your right.
Located within extensive gardens and with a superb view over the valley, I heartily recommend this premature pit-stop where I enjoyed a pot of tea, a warm herby scone, some butter, home-made jam and a little chunk of cheese in exchange for a fiver.
Continue into the village, but quickly turn downhill on a road marked ‘local traffic only’. This bends sharp right after cottages on either side, soon revealing a path on your left leading downhill in mature woodland.
At the bottom is a pretty old corn mill, complete with a dilapidated waterwheel.
The path runs to the left of the mill and soon splits in two. Take the leftmost option, climbing up to a stone stile (with wooden handrails) then onwards through an avenue of holly bushes.
The bulbs of wild garlic, bluebells and daffodils lurk beneath your feet until, after a gate, you come out into an open field leading on over a stile before rising to pass through the back garden of the utterly lovely Limber View cottage.
Good for them for not trying to divert the path.
Go through the front gate onto Rake lane – your occasional companion for the next hour or so.
Follow it downhill and bear left as it changes from Tarmac to cinders ahead of a house, soon zig-zagging more steeply down to the river.
The footbridge is a perfect spot to look for Kingfishers, though I confess that apart from a glimpse near Castleton, the only one I’ve ever seen was on a beach in Southern Crete.
I did however, see a curious bird with a distinctive white throat dipping up and down on the rocks beneath the rail bridge (a quick Google search revealed it to be a white-throated dipper, suggesting it was named just before clocking off time), and lots of orange tip butterflies, a species that seemed very rare a few years ago but was certainly quite prolific here.
Turn sharp right immediately after the footbridge, over a stile to get under the rail bridge then soon left through a gate and up through the field following the left hand fence.
Now, talking of prolific, I have never seen so many rabbits in one field as this.
Absolutely hundreds of them – Father Ted’s Bishop Brennan would have kittens – and dozens of rabbit holes too, so watch your step if you value your ankles.
The path curls away up to Park House Farm, where a signposted diversion was in operation.
Either follow the diversion instructions on the gate, or the shiny new waymarks if they’ve reinstated the original route.
Back out on Rake Lane, 150 yards uphill from the farm, follow a bridle path sign to your left, through a gate and along a grassy ridge.
Edge left of the trees, then curl left under the railway into Underpants Farm (OK, Underpark).
Now, it is straight on and left through a gate after the farm buildings to follow a lovely path alongside the river, before climbing up to emerge on – you guessed it – Rake lane.
Follow it downhill and re-cross the footbridge you used 45 minutes ago, climbing back up the cinders then turning left to cross the railway bridge.
Cross a second rail bridge (over the path of the unfinished Paddy Waddell’s railway) and opposite the exquisite Rake Farm with its quaint arched windows and duck pond, cross a stile on your right leading to a path alongside a wilder extension of that duck pond.
Soon, cross the railway line, then head left in open pasture to a gate in the far corner leading back into the woods.
Two minutes later and you are back at the old corn mill, passing it on your left this time to retrace your route uphill to Glaisdale.
At the road, unless you fancy another organic brew, turn left and this will take you back towards the station via the welcoming sight of the Arncliffe Arms.