A Stroll with Stu

The map of the Roxby route
The map of the Roxby route

Humming along to my tunes on a six-mile route

I’m one of those people afflicted with RMD (Random Music Disorder), a condition where the patients wake up each morning to find themselves humming some long forgotten chart hit.

All too often it is some painfully inadequate dross, but I was reasonably happy to start this six-mile circular walk bopping inexplicably along to Roxanne by popular beat combo The Police. More serious cases (perhaps involving Boney M), require immediate surgery.

I live in fear of a mornings worth of rap (with a silent “C”), or a video of the “I wonder how much longer I can keep getting away with this drivel” face of Will.I.Am.

Anyway, I mention all this just to assure you that if you find yourself unaccountably singing along to the Spice Girls, you are not alone.

Starting at the main road through Staithes, head back towards Boulby and turn left down the lane to Dalehouse. Go past the pub and just before the bridge, turn left onto a concrete track. After half a mile, near some static caravans, go sharp right over a wooden footbridge (ie not the metal/concrete one).

It is marked ‘Roxby’ and the path now climbs up to eventually meet a hedge where you take the left-hand option of two stiles, marked Borrowby. This will lead you through grassy fields and more stiles, eventually passing Plum Tree Farm - visible through trees on your left.

Just past the farm, take a stile on your left then another near the farm buildings leading to a stone trod curling to the right. From here, it is essentially a straight line slowly uphill over lots of stiles, until after some scrubby land below some woods, you emerge onto a tiny road at Low Borrowby.

The fields were full of newborn lambs and I met the lads from Plum Tree Farm in a makeshift corral administering some TLC (via a syringe). The elder gentleman looked like he’d done this many times before, and they were all enjoying the sunshine a little bit more than the large and aggressive ewe I soon encountered, wanting to know where its kids were and why I was walking on its dinner.

Go right on the road, then left at a footpath sign 10 yards later to follow a vague path adjacent to the buildings before arcing right and going steeply uphill. Ignore the stile on your left and head into bushes where there are a set of ancient steps leading to yet more stiles, then a field through which you should head diagonally right to a gate to drop onto the road at Borrowby.

Go left along the road in this tiny village and after 100 yards or so, follow the footpath sign on your right, up steps and soon over a stile and uphill through the centre of the field. Keep the bushes on your left in the next field and look out for a stile in the corner, leading through the centre of a further field, before climbing your one millionth stile of the day and bearing right to go through a gate onto the road in the village of Roxby.

According to Wiki, the population of Roxby has almost doubled in just 10 years, possibly because the pub’s opening hours are so limited and there is not a lot else to do.

Unnoticed, you’ve climbed almost 500ft and with the small exception of the ugliness of the Boulby Potash Mine, the views across to Kettleness, Hinderwell and inland to the moors have been increasingly rewarding.

Now it’s time for a contrast. Turn right and drop steeply down the road for half a mile through Roxby, noting the huge weather vane on your right. This is a 65ft tall larch maypole erected to celebrate the 65th wedding anniversary of Lord and Lady Tranmire, parents of the landowner. What an impressive anniversary gift, and imagine your embarrassment if they opened your present next and you’d only bought some towels from Primark.

Take a track on your left after St Nicholas Church dropping downhill.

For a mile, follow the field boundary and ultimately the edge of Roxby Woods, before a stile takes you into the trees where you drop steeply down to a footbridge over the stream.

These woods were alive with birdsong and the sunshine had caused the floor to burst into colour with lesser celandine, primrose, wild garlic and wood anemone all vying for attention. The path runs alongside the stream until, not far from an old mine tunnel away to your left, waymarks start pointing you diagonally uphill to the left.

The path is a bit indistinct, but you should have no problem following it until it drops you via a final stile onto the road. Turn right and it’s just half a mile or so back to Dalehouse and the exceptionally lovely Fox & Hounds Inn. Take the weight off your feet, and pop in for refreshments.