A Stroll With Stu - trek takes in romance of Beggar’s Bridge, Glaisdale

Another Sunday and another little trek, this time a five-mile circular around Glaisdale.

Friday, 31st January 2020, 8:30 am
Panoramic view of Glaisdale.

A warm front deposited an ocean of water overnight, as witnessed by the turbulent River Esk redistributing earth down to Whitby harbour for the dredger to sort out.

But, in a timely fashion, said front departed for Holland and the grey skies turned blue as I headed down to Beggars Bridge from the train station.

The bridge was built by Tom Ferris, a local sheep farmer’s son, in 1619.

Beggar's Bridge.

He married the Squire’s daughter – Agnes Richardson – but only after leaving the area for six years to make his fortune through a fondness for Caribbean piracy.

The Squire insisted on Tom proving that he was worthy of marrying Agnes (and by worthy, I mean loaded), but clearly asked no probing questions and Tom married his beloved on his return in 1592.

Tom couldn’t get across the Esk to say goodbye to Agnes before heading off to the West Indies (the river was in flood then, too) and after she died in 1618, Tom built the bridge so that nobody would ever be kept apart from their loved ones again.

The soppy old fool.

Cross the bridge and turn left along the road, soon taking a thin path by the river.

The path was flirting with the waterline on my visit but I avoided an early bath as I followed it for a few hundred yards before re-joining the road.

The Tarmac soon swings right, but you should go straight on along a track tracing its way up to The Grange.

It’s a steady climb up until you reach an imposing metal gate, but just ahead of that gate you need to go straight on into a field, still climbing, with a fence on your right.

Soon, turn right through a gate adjacent to a big tree, along a decent farm track.

This is a permissive path, rather than a public footpath, so it is not waymarked (though it is easy enough to follow).

Keep the field boundary always on your left, including through a gate held shut by a rope around a huge old stone gatepost, and at the end of the next field look out for a derelict caravan on your left.

It reminded me of the site of Jesse’s diets on the Fast Show and you need to walk right past it and through the nearby farm onto the road, climbing inexorably skywards.

“Today, I are mostly be sweating cobs” as Jesse might say.

At the summit, turn very sharp left down the Tarmac path towards West Banks Farm, ignoring the footpath sign. This is another permissive path which leads eventually down to a ford over the river.

Now, there are also stepping stones here, but I’ve never crossed them because my visits here always seem to coincide with the monsoon.

The water was lipping over the top of them and once again I chickened out and declined the offer.

If you have better luck than me, cross the stones and head right, past the farm onto Rake lane where I’ll see you later.

Otherwise, 150 yards before the stepping stones, a footpath sign on your right takes you down to a riverside path, eventually under a railway bridge, then left on a footbridge over the river.

This is Rake lane and after a winding uphill section you’ll reach the rendezvous point with the stepping stones alternative.

Stay on the lane as it climbs up to Glaisdale village.

Turning left on the main road will soon bring you to the impressive Robinson Institute building.

Essentially a community centre for the people of Glaisdale (offering facilities for theatre, educational classes, dances etc.), it was built in 1911 by Thomas Robinson to commemorate the coronation of King George V.

Tom Robinson worked in the Durham coal industry, but started making serious money importing eggs in the 19 th Century – especially from Russia – before setting up a successful shipping company in West Hartlepool, Hull and Barrow.

He moved to Glaisdale in 1904, but died the year after the institute was built and left the building in his will to benefit the people of the village.

Immediately after the Institute, take a path left that winds downhill to give an interesting view of the rear of the village, before emerging onto the steep back road leading down to the Railway Station where you started.

For refreshments, I suggest a visit to the Arncliffe Arms near the station, a pub that has had a renaissance in recent years.

It was full of smiley happy customers enjoying Sunday lunch on my visit, and on other days of the week you could choose an egg mayo sandwich as a tribute to Thomas Robinson, though I doubt if the eggs come from Moscow.

Nice pub with nice staff!