A Stroll With Stu: Beeboles moorland hike around Glaisdale

Glaisdale village.
Glaisdale village.

A feeble winter had already been escorted to the naughty step when I walked this gorgeous six-miler in March.

It’s a circular walk from Glaisdale station, so leave the gas guzzler at home after retrieving your boots from the garage. (They’re behind that broken lawn mower mate, covered in cobwebs).

Snowdon Nab.

Snowdon Nab.

Head down the road towards Beggars Bridge, but turn right ahead of the railway on a path over a stream, bearing right again to follow a wide track climbing ever more steeply uphill.

Follow this up through the woods for a good mile, taking care not to be run down by Darth Vader look-alikes on noisy motorbikes.

The path flattens out at the pretty Snowdon Nab, before joining a road coming up from Egton Bridge. Follow this uphill until you reach a cattle grid.

I’d been following three youths who were making a nuisance of themselves by taking pot-shots at a nearby wildlife with Daddy’s shotgun, and after passing the still warm body of a pheasant on the roadside, I wondered what I would do if I caught up with them.

Upper Glaisdale.

Upper Glaisdale.

Have a quiet but educational word? Call the Police? Insert said shotgun into an appropriate cavity?

Well, my dilemma was spared because, as I crested a small hill, they had just vanished into thin air. I spent the rest of the weekend dreaming that the murderous little ratbags may have fallen down an old mineshaft, perhaps with some upraised spikes at the bottom.

Or a vat of boiling oil. Or a hungry lion.

It’s diagonally right after the cattle grid, following a sign marked “Beeboles”, more of which in a moment.

You soon reach a wall where a stile takes you onto a path heading sloppily downhill through new woodland, eventually slithering to a wall and then a stile, keeping the wall on your right.

After a large pine tree, stop to look at the Honey Bee Boles. These elaborate recesses built into the wall (restored and now protected by a mesh fence) would have held heather skeps to attract honey bees.

There are 77 Bee Boles in this wall – probably the largest surviving such stretch in the country. They face south to encourage hive formation and this is effectively a honey farm dating back to the 18th Century when sweet stuff was a valuable trading commodity for local farmers.

Carry on ahead, with fabulous views over Glaisdale accompanying every step.

Warm spring sunshine meant that I was ushered along the ridge by curlews, an overwintering peacock butterfly, a green lizard and a variety of other creatures preparing themselves for another long summer.

I was particularly thrilled to see my first ever adder sunbathing on the track, before it spotted me and slithered into the bracken.

It was only a tiddler to be honest, but given a few years and several pints, I’ll be claiming it was an Anaconda.

Rotting tree stumps betray the fact that the woodland shading on my OS map was once accurate, but this is a clear path essentially following the wall on your right until about 200 yards ahead of a thick forest plantation, where you take a right fork.

An ear-poppingly steep drop brings you to a partially hidden gate in the wall on your right, which in turn takes you to a gentler gradient on a path leading all the way down to the road at Low Gill Beck Farm.

After 50 yards on the tarmac, follow a sign right into a grassy field, bearing left up to some old gate posts.

The indistinct path leads down the valley from those posts, soon to a waymarked stile, immediately left through a gate, along to a double stile over a beck on your right, then left through two gates and on to the access track of Bank House Farm. Just ahead of the farm, zig-zag down to your left taking a path with a wall on your right. This clear track carries on through gates for a mile or so until it evaporates ahead of a wooded valley.

Turn sharp left at that point, down to a gate leading to a little bridge. The path is well marked beyond here, climbing up and left until you approach buildings on the Daleside. Before reaching them though, go sharp right through a stile leading to Hart Hall.

A ladder stile then continues the route into a grass field where you should skirt round several large trees on your right, before dropping diagonally down to the road leading back to the start point at Glaisdale Station.

Sadly the pub was shut, but a handy train took me down to the scrumptious Horseshoe Hotel at Egton Bridge, where I frightened the locals with tails of the giant snake I’d seen up on the Moors.