A Stroll with Stuart - A waterfall the final destination

Stroll with Stuart
Stroll with Stuart

With vitamin D deficiency beginning to set in after a miserable April, I thought I’d lift the spirits with a trip to one of the area’s waterfalls, figuring that it may resemble Niagara after a week of non-stop rain.

Starting from Grosmont (use Northern Trains, M&D 99 bus, or the 11am NYMR steam service from Whitby), head up Le big hill on the road to Sleights.

After 300 yards or so, a path goes right into the woods and winds through acres of bluebells and wild garlic.

If aromavision is ever invented, this is what an episode of Masterchef will smell like.

Emerge from woodland after a footbridge over a pretty waterfall and turn left on a metalled track.

After a metal gate, a stone trod heads right into the woods to emerge a mile or so later at Hollin Garth.

However, I decided that mud avoidance would be best served by following the track further uphill. You can go either way – the choice is yours!

My route soon zig-zagged right and left through Dale End farm whilst offering lovely views back to Grosmont, and up the secluded valley of Lythe Beck.

After half a mile, it crosses what appears to be a dry valley, but which is in fact a line of old quarries on the same whinstone dyke that made such a pillock of me on my recent walk near Great Ayton (Frankly, I wish it would go away).

After Morton Close Farm, go right down a minor road and step back in surprise at the sight of a BT phone box, essentially in the middle of nowhere (you’d be hard pressed to find one in the middle of Redcar).

There’s also a noticeboard offering information on hedgehogs and a giant marrow competition, but quite who is meant to read it, then use the phone box to tell their friends, isn’t immediately obvious.

Half a mile downhill at Hollin Garth (where the woodland alternative path joins from the right), head left at a footpath sign on a thin track skirting around the edge of the hill.

A wall soon joins you on your right, but where it dips away again after half a mile or so, go straight on.

The path kind of vanishes here, but head diagonally uphill towards a mound and beyond it, a large tree.

That tree (and a few smaller ones), is in an old stone enclosure and on the far side of that you’ll see a waymark sign to reassure you that you aren’t lost.

Go uphill to another wall then follow it round to an unnamed cottage. Pass through a gate and as the access track bends sharp left, you need to go straight on, cross a stile then drop steeply down to your right to Darnholme.

Turn left just ahead of the ford, to cross a grassy area then steeply up alongside a wall with the railway down to your right.

This path soon drops back down to Goathland station.

The North York Moors Railway is a charity operating a fabulous service on the 18 mile route between Pickering and Grosmont/Whitby.

The line, which dates way back to 1836, was closed from a plush civil-servants office in London in 1965, but fully reopened by volunteers just 10 years later.

NYMR got their hands on various forgotten British Rail relics which had been shunted off to remote sidings and left to slowly seize up because younger, sleeker specimens, were deemed to be the way forward.

Well, with a bit of TLC and some spit and polish, they have a new lease of life.

Okay, they are heavy on fuel consumption and don’t go as fast as they used to, but it’s still a remarkable transformation.

Cross the tracks and go through Goathland village, admiring the continued attempts to milk a few quid out of TV’s Heartbeat, long after Oscar Blaketon pulled his last pint of Strongarm in the Aidensfield Arms.

Follow the road left after the shops and cafe, and after half a mile take a path to the right just in front of the Mallyan Spout Hotel.

This drops steeply down to the river where, 200 yards to your left, is the waterfall.

Okay, it’s not Victoria Falls, but it is the highest on the moors at 60 feet and it’s well worth scrambling over the rocks to see.

Retrace your steps but stay on the beckside path for a mile towards Beck Hole, where I implore you to divert to the village to visit the Birch Hall Inn.

It’s a tiny, wonderful and historic pub doubling as a sweet shop in this sleepy hamlet and has featured in countless national newspaper articles as well as winning several pub-of-the-year awards.

Drag yourself away if you must, to cross the bridge adjacent to the pub, then head left down a track to rejoin the trail heading back to Grosmont.

This is essentially flat for just under two miles, as it is the original route of the Grosmont-Pickering railway.

It’s well signposted all the way back, and emerges into Grosmont after passing the loco sheds and climbing over the rail tunnel then left through a kissing gate into the village.

Grosmont boasts a pub, a shop, several tea rooms and an art gallery. You can also take the opportunity to have a look at the engine sheds and get all nostalgic about steam, or try the tea room which boasts that it is the “home of the Grosmont tart”, which ever does it for you!