Places to Visit in North Yorkshire
phill@philljamesbroadcasting.co.uk
phill@todoinyork.com

Goathland and Levisham Moor North Yorkshire

Visit York and North Yorkshire through Video

   

The video below is pertaining to Goathland and Levisham Moor North Yorkshire. We will explore the Hole of Horcum, Levisham Moor, Skelton Tower, and catching the steam train to Goathland village where we explore this North York Moors attraction. 

For more Yorkshire Reporter Episodes click here.

Useful Links for Levisham Moor, Hole of Horcum, Goathland Village North Yorkshire

Levisham Estate

Hole of Horcum

North Yorkshire Moors Railway

Skelton Tower

Heartbeat Rally

Goathland

Coastliiner Bus Information

Where is Levisham Moor?

Watch The Yorkshire Reporter Goathland and Levisham Moor North York Moors Video

Hole of Horcum North Yorkshire

Goathland and Levisham Moor North Yorkshire

We first start our walk across the North York Moors by following the steps to the path and turning right to walk around the perimeter of the Hole of Horcum. If you have a camera of some kind with you, then you will probably want to take some photos. As a brief reminder, there is a legend of Wade the Giant having an argument with his wife and scooping up some of the earth to throw at her, thus forming the Hole of Horcum. Legend aside, it is more accurately due to water sapping which erodes the more vulnerable materials forming a hole as it were. This occurs over thousands of years and still occurring today. 

Hole-of-Horcum-Levisham-Moor
Hole-of-Horcum-Levisham-Moor

The best time of year is July to August when the heathers are out in bloom, forming a purple splash of colour over the moors. You will receive a huge sensation of space stood above the Hole of Horcum which can be somewhat awe inspiring. So much so, it is difficult to get it all in through one lens! From the tip of the Hole of Horcum looking down the valley is sometimes the best place to take a photo, but it is all equally stunning. It is also a good area to use the panoramic feature on your camera or smartphone if it has one.

As you walk around the tip of the Hole of Horcum you will notice a path down into the basin on your left, and we took this in our Hole of Horcum episode, but today we are going to follow the path straight on instead. However, there is nothing to stop you from following the circuit through the Hole of Horcum and back up to Dundale Pond instead if you wanted to lengthen your walk.

Ling Heather on Levisham Moor North Yorkshire

Goathland and Levisham Moor North Yorkshire

Walking over the moorland however, takes you through some heather laced scenery. When in bloom the heathers attract bees which can make some interesting close up photography if you have a constant shutter finger such as mine. It grown between 20-50 cm tall so it is a low growing perennial shrub. Heather like acidy soils and really thrives in open sunlight, so the moors is a perfect location for ling heather. So if you are growing heather in your garden, then find the sunniest spot possible. 

Another interesting point is that there are just as many sheep on the moors as there are heather, and what is interesting about it is that heather is kept down by livestock grazing. In the winter months, some of the heather is burned on a rotational basis in order to encourage growth as well as keep those nasty ticks down. 

RAF Fylingdales North York Moors

Goathland and Levisham Moor North Yorkshire

On your right hand side, it won’t take you too long to see RAF Fylingdales in the distance. The base serves as an early warning system for both the UK and the US, one of three. It is also part of the Allied Space Surveillance Network and can detect debris is space that can be misunderstood as a ballistic missile. It could possibly detect our socks after this walk but we won’t go there. 

RAF Fylingdales
RAF Fylingdales

You will also notice some stunning scenes across the moors heading out towards Goathland where we will be visiting a further time today. Granted we have visit Goathland on a circuit walk, but today we are going look more at the village itself with the series of Heartbeat in mind.

Levisham Estate North York Moors

Goathland and Levisham Moor North Yorkshire

The Levisham Estate is under the care of the National Park Authority as part of the North York Moors National Park. And they keep the park maintained by planting trees, creating wooden damns, revegetation, gully locking, heather burning and maintaining rivers as well as paths such as this one. 

Speaking of paths however, stick to these. It was too quick for the camera but we witnessed a snake crossing the path in front of us. This snake we believe to have been an adder so please be careful. They are not around every corner but the do exist and are venomous. Keep dogs on a lead at all times and refrain from wearing shorts. 

As you progress, you will receive this feeling of immense space. The moors are extremely open. I live in the Vale of York which is a large area of flat land, still unlike the moors, there is always something to obscure the horizon. The moors is not without hills and slopes but as you are elevated here you can see for a considerable distance, making the views amazing.

One of the amazing view of course is over the Hole of Horcum, and you will see this tiny derelict farmhouse which is Low Horcum Farm. However, if you have watched the Hole of Horcum episode you will know that it is not that derelict at all. If you want to move into this farm house, you need to be either a bat or barn owl as it is a wildlife habitat. The building has been especially adapted with letterbox windows and ventilation holes to assist the inhabitants dwelling there. No broadband unfortunately. 

You oftentimes see the clouds (as there are typically many!) cast shadows over the land below which makes it all the more fascinating. 

However, the path continues to take us to Dundale Pond where we encounter what I consider to be a hairy treat to the walk. All will be revealed in just a moment. That will keep you guessing! Still its amazing to have this path a head of you and overlooking a valley on the left hand side. The land is covered with these tiny creamy-white sheep almost like walking flowers in the grass across the valley. 

The path on this route is quite wide up to Dundale Pond, and I have also seen cyclists use the path too, although they are more than likely intended for walkers and the occasional adder. 

Iron-Age Dyke North York Moors

Goathland and Levisham Moor North Yorkshire

If you watched our Hole of Horcum episode, you will remember the iron-age dykes on the moors. The North York Moors also has burial grounds from the bronze-age too. So the hole region has reflections of a prehistoric past. However, the moors wouldn’t be such a fantastic place to live as far as the weather is concerned, especially in winter. As mentioned, the moors are open which also means they are open to the elements too. Although they are subject to the best views, they are also subject to colds and flu! There wasn’t a road across the moors until around 1764 and Whitby was better accessed by the sea. Therefore, we take the A169 for granted these days which serves much of Britain’s most scenic bus route. The sheep don’t seem to mind however. 

Iron-Age-Dikes-Levisham-Moor
Iron-Age-Dikes-Levisham-Moor

The A169 can be problematic in winter with snow and thick fog at times. However, it is one of those roads that is very hard to lose sight of with the moors being so open. As the road is quite elevated at times, you can always see it on the horizon. In turn of course, when you are travelling along this route on the Coastliner, you can receive some fantastic views as a result, especially when the heathers are in bloom. 

As far iron-age dykes are concerned, there are a lot of theories why such dykes were constructed around the country, but it is more than likely a method of marking boundaries. You may instantly believe they were used for drainage or to prevent flooding, but there are also theories of them being cattle droveways and earthworks for defence. However, boundaries are considered to be the most likely reason for their existence. However, the information we receive at this particular dyke was to mark the boundary of a fortified farmstead and formed part of the earthworks for a defensive wall around it. When you look at the width of the dyke here, it is consistent to them being the earthworks to a walled farmstead. 

As mentioned, some of the heathers are burned on a rotational basis. These are done in winter because the pete is damp and also there aren’t any birds nesting on the ground at this time of year. So in winter, don’t be alarmed if you see columns of smoke bellowing into the atmosphere because these are controlled fires in care of the National Park Authority. However, during the summer it is very important not to use disposable barbecues, or any other flame and heat producing product on the moors. Fire’s can spread rapidly and it is not just the heathers and scenery that suffers, but livestock, nesting birds, grouse and even humans too. 

Dundale Pond and Junction North York Moors

Goathland and Levisham Moor North Yorkshire

As we progress further with our walk through impressive moorland and purple flowering heathers, we will eventually arrive at Dundale Pond. However, don’t forget to look back every now and then as you could be missing a nice view across the moors. Some just love the camera don’t they?

Egotistical sheep aside, it is at Dundale Pond where you might become unstuck when it comes to direction. Turning left takes you towards Levisham Beck, turning right will take you to Levisham Station. To get to Skelton Tower we need to follow the sign to Levisham Station initially. 

Just prior to the pond you will see a single post stuck in the ground and a short decent downhill towards the pond. When we reach the pond however, we saw something we didn’t expect to see. 

Highland Cattle on Levisham Moor North York Moors

Goathland and Levisham Moor North Yorkshire

Certainly we see plenty of sheep grazing on the moorland, but we didn’t expect to see a favourite of mine, Highland Cattle. The most common tend to be a woolly ginger colour but in fact they come in a variety of colours including white with a black nose! Some are even brindled, or patterned. Their long-wavy horns are also a clear give away to what they are. They originated in the Highlands and Outer Hebrides, and the males weigh around 800 kilograms, 500 kilograms for the females. In any case, I’m always jealous of anyone with more hair than I have. However, for me they are a favourite and I always enjoy seeing them so I had a pleasant surprise today. Sadly however, I just missed one bathing in Dundale Pond. The pond is a habitat for wildlife, but a festidious beast wasn’t what I had in mind on arriving here. Perhaps I should have offered him or her a towel and some styling gel to boot. 

Highland Cattle
Highland Cattle

Reaching a Stone Wall on Levisham Moor North York Moors

Goathland and Levisham Moor North Yorkshire

As we head right on the path to Levisham Station, at last we walk somewhere where it is not quite so open and at this point it becomes quite hilly. Do not be too alarmed at this because the walk uphill is gradual. In fact, this walk has been devised to be downhill much of the way to prevent exhaustion. 

Skelton Tower Levisham Moor
Skelton Tower Levisham Moor

When you reach the stone wall with a sign post, you might come unstuck here. However, at the sign post it is important to follow the route across the moor and not beside the stone wall. This is the path to Skelton Tower and it is relatively short and downhill. Very downhill. You can miss out Skelton Tower and go straight to the station following the other path if you wish to. The path to Skelton Tower takes you across the moor and meets with a steep hill but with a manageable descent. You will see Skelton Tower in the distance as well as the valley in which the moors railway negotiates, a route we take shortly. At the other side of the valley you will see the densely forested area which is extremely scenic. Skelton Tower overlooks Newtondale and you also receive views over Goathland Moor looking northwards. This is what makes a diversional walk to Skelton Tower a must simply for the views if not the tower itself.

Skelton Tower, Levisham North York Moors

Goathland and Levisham Moor North Yorkshire

The tower was built by Robert Skelton who was the vicar of Levisham, constructed around 1830. Interestingly, Robert Skelton used the tower for many purposes including sermon writing, having a quiet drink and also entertaining the ladies here. I’m just wondering if he baptised highland cattle in Dundale Pond too. Of course, the tower is somewhat weathered over time and not all of the structure is still standing. However, the two-storey tower overlooks the grassy headland of Corn Hill Point as well as Newtondale. So no doubt, he constructed the tower at this location owing to the fantastic views. In fact, there were walkers having the lunch here, so there’s an idea! don’t forget to look over the valley for the North York Moors Railway. You might even see a steam train approaching.

Path to Skelton Tower
Path to Skelton Tower

Direction to Levisham Station North York Moors

Goathland and Levisham Moor North Yorkshire

You will be more than pleased to know that you don’t have to walk up the steep hill that you have just descended, unless you want to. Instead, you want to follow the path southwards along the edge of the valley until you come to a wooden fence that protrudes out from the valley side pointing across the moor. At this point we follow the path across the moor with the steep hill on the left of us. It is a good idea to take a look at the hills behind you as they are quite stunning to look at. 

This path takes us to a narrow road. The left of the narrow road ascends uphill, but fortunately we take the road right and gently walk downhill towards Levisham Station that is not far. As you are walking downwards, it is highly recommended to take a brief look behind you as the scenery is breathtaking. 

The road however bends to the right and you will see the caution sign for the forthcoming humps. It is a good view of the valley here especially as it is dense woodland. You will then notice the former station house on the left which is now a holiday home. However, as you venture further you will see light at the end of the tunnel if you pardon the pun. 

Levisham Station, North Yorkshire Moors Railway North York Moors

Goathland and Levisham Moor North Yorkshire

You will notice the two platformed Levisham Station and level crossing over the railway. The station is set on the 1912 theme, and you will see the rolling stock beside the station buildings. The station has an award winning lamp room which is the wooden maroon and cream building in shot. 

Levisham Station
Levisham Station

Amazingly as we reached the platform the train was approaching for Goathland which was a huge relief. How about this for impeccable timing? Our locomotive is a Southern Region Class V Schools loco named and numbered 906 Repton and was built in Eastleigh around 1934. 

Goathland Station North York Moors

Goathland and Levisham Moor North Yorkshire

About 30 minutes over Goathland summit we reach our destination point of Goathland or as some like to call it Aidensfield from the Heartbeat series on ITV. In fact, Goathland Station was the station used as Aidensfield in the series. It has also made an appearance on Harry Potter movies, but sadly this train doesn’t call at Hogsmeade so you can leave your wands at home. To preserve the station, the platforms are shorter than the train so you need to ensure you are situated in the right carriages to alight. It is recommended to alight the train and head over the to road bridge over the tracks, you will receive a good view of a passing train coming the other direction if due. However, be careful of oncoming road traffic if you do. You will also see a volunteer with a circular token ring hand who hands it to the driver. This token gives the driver the right to use the single track line towards Levisham. Without this token, the train cannot occupy the line. 

The station of Goathland or Aidensfield for Heartbeat fans, is set with a 1920’s theme. If you have watched the Pickering episode, you will know that the North Yorkshire Moors Railway’s stations are all set in differing eras. Grosmont for example is set in the 1950’s. As you walk around the station, you will see that there is a booking office, goods shed, water tower and signal box, as well as various items of rolling stock on show. The beck that runs alongside the station and under the bridge is Eller Beck that merges with West Beck near Beck Hole around a mile away. 

Village of Goathland North York Moors

Goathland and Levisham Moor North Yorkshire

If you subtract Heartbeat, Harry Potter and Britain’s most scenic bus route away from Goathland, you are still left with a fantastic village with some stunning walks and rural structures. On entering the village you will first notice not only the station but the Mill House beside it. Eller Beck will have powered this mill and there is a weir at the station’s bridge underneath. This will have regulated water flow to power the wheel. The house is not the mill itself as that resides next door to the right. The mill has 13th century origins, but the mill suffered fire damage in 1960. Today it is a domestic dwelling.

As you walk further up the road you will notice a rather familiar building known as the Aidensfield Arms in the Heartbeat series. However, off screen it is the Goathland Hotel which serves a s public house as well as a place to stay in the same way as the fictional Aidensfield Arms. Don’t worry however, as the other guests won’t pinch your family silver! The building now is quite familiar to most people around the world because Heartbeat has been promulgated as far as Australia and other countries.

Aidensfield Arms Goathland Hotel
Aidensfield Arms Goathland Hotel

Immediately across the road resides Aidensfield Garage and Scripps Funeral Services. Ironically, Peter Benson who played the fictional character of Bernie Scripps died only recently, as has Geoffrey Hughes who played Vernon Scripps and of course Bill Maynard who played Greengrass. I always find the old petrol pump fascinating as much as the building itself.

On the right hand side you will notice a reading room where the more educated would read to the poorer communities. It was constructed in 1894 and was part of the Methodist chapel.

Beside the Reading Room is the village visitor car park and if you are requiring the toilets, there are some free to use here. You can also walk to Grosmont along the Goathland Rail Trail that starts here. 

Aidensfield Garage
Aidensfield Garage

Another prominent part of the village, as well as a bus stop for the Coastliner, is the Village Shops. There are gift shops, post office, tearooms, ice-cream parlour and a rural clothes store. I recommend the rum and raisin since you asked. Whatever your favourite flavour ice-cream, the gift shops are worth a browse through and can keep you entertained and possibly penniless for days. The gift shops are complete with Heartbeat memorabilia as you’d expect and as the series continued for 18 years it stands to reason. 

The ice-creams are that popular here that the dogs cannot wait to place an order, and neither can I. As a completely unrelated tip for ice-cream goers, one of my favourite places on the most scenic bus route is Balderson’s at Thornton le Dale, this is because they do Cherry and Amoretto which is a favourite of mine. 

One thing you are sure to see are some classic cars, namely Ford Anglia. These Ford Anglia cars and the deluxe editions owing to their chrome fronts. The first early Ford Anglia’s were built between 1939-1948, but the cars we see at Goathland were built between 1953 to 1968 at Dagenham and Halewood. You will also see the Ford Anglia Police Car although not the original car used in the series. The car used in the series is in quite severe condition, but this car clearly represents the Ford Anglia police cars used in the sixties era. These cars a lot smaller than the cars we have today and probably why policeman required a helmet. The classic cars outside the village shops are there for charitable purposes and have a plastic collection bucket, securely attached to a police car. 

Ford Anglia Police Car
Ford Anglia Police Car

You might recognise this cottage on the far right. It was the doctor’s surgery in the series and after the police house was destroyed it became a temporary police house for the village. You will also see the First World War Memorial just astride from it. 

There is both a coffee shop as well as a tea rooms in the village and I’ve eaten at Goathland Tearooms as well as enjoyed a Mocha which were reasonably priced and good value. There is an enormous seating area in the garden at the back with a pond too.

Around the corner is St Mary’s Church and also the Mallyan Spout Hotel which appears in our Goathland circuit walk episode if you desire to find out more about them. The path beside the Mallyan Spout Hotel takes you to Mallyan Spout waterfall which is around 60ft high. This forms a short walk via part of the Rail Trail back to Goathland Car Park. 

You will also notice some attractive stone cottages in the village which certainly emphasise the North Yorkshire feel. If you want to live in Goathland then join the queue because I’m at the front. 

As you walk further you will notice St Mary’s Church on the left which was also used in Heartbeat with dramatic weddings and funerals.  On the opposite side of the road you will notice the stunning Mallyan Spout Hotel. This marks our decent to Mallyan Spout waterfall.

You will see the footpath downhill on the right hand side of the hotel. Chime to get some exercise! 

Goathland Circular Walk

Goathland and Levisham Moor North Yorkshire

Just before we start however, ensure you are wearing an appropriate pair of shoes, suitable clothing for the climate and you have some water with you, and don’t rush. Depending of the time of year, some parts of the footpath and entire walk can be muddy and therefore slippery. Common sense is the order of the day here. 

However, you can admire the scenic views venturing down hill. You can do this walk clockwise or anti-clockwise. However clockwise is recommended because the climb back uphill is more gradual – so you can thank me for this advice later! As a word of advice, it is best to avoid placing your feet on mud as this tends to slide under your feet, even if you have good grips on your shoes. Try to keep your shoes as dry as possible. 

Before Heartbeat made the area more famous, the Victorian daytripper’s used to alight the train here and venture downwards to admire the waterfall as well as the area. Of course, this in the days that Coastliner buses were merely a twinkle in someones eyes. 

It’s thought that Goathland gets its name from a corruption of ‘good land’ or it may derive from ‘Goda’s land’ as Goda was a common old English name.  You might think the estate belongs to Lord Ashfordly but in actually fact falls to the Duchy of Lancaster (or rather the Duke of Lancaster) since 1399. 

Today the area is taken care of through the National Park Authority who maintain the footpaths and gates that we encounter in our walk. They also maintain the seating on the way down hill if you need a breather!

When you reach the foot of the hill you will come to West Beck and a sign post. Google maps strangely identifies the beck as the River Esk but in fact it isn’t, although it does merge with the River Esk prior to its emptying out into the North Sea at Whitby. In fact, West Beck also meets Eller Beck not far from our walk today. 

You will notice the sign post where we turn left to admire the waterfall. However, you can omit the waterfall if you are not comfortable about the rocks and venture towards Beck Hole where we will head shortly. 

West Beck is a dynamic beck that gushes it’s way over rugged stones and negotiates attractive woodland. This of course attracts wildlife including some interesting birds such as Grey Wagtails for instance. 

To get to the waterfall, we need to carefully negotiate some rugged stones but do not be put off by this. I have seen people of all ages manage to stay upright to see Mallyan Spout. To further your confidence, if I can do it without mishap then you can too. In any case, be sensible, never take any risks and do not keep well hold of your partner because they may stumble first! Personally, I’ve found that the rock itself isn’t as slippery as mud and also the green layer of moss found upon the rocks. Therefore, I would recommend not standing on any rocks with a green sheen on them. 

It’s not at all far from the sign post we encountered to the waterfall, and you can further admire West Beck falling over rocks and its a good idea to sit down for a while and take it all in. And read your guide book!

About Mallyan Spout, North York Moors

Goathland and Levisham Moor North Yorkshire

You will more than likely hear Mallyan Spout before you see it because it is tucked away around a corner.  The amazing thing about this waterfall however, is that you can walk right up to it and touch it. 

Mallyan Spout is made up of natural spring water from the accompanying moorlands situated above. The water is then forced off a 70ft heigh ledge above and falls onto the rock below and merging with the already dynamic West Beck.  It’s good to note that the more rain that has fallen previously, the more dramatic this waterfall is. You may even encounter a small rainbow at the foot of the waterfall depending on lighting conditions. 

The waterfall is situated where the beck itself is on an almost 90 degree curve which makes it so much more dramatic when you are surrounded by thundering water. 

If like me you are a budding photographer, it’s quite difficult to get it all in landscape mode owing to its dimensions even with a wide-angle lens, so you may have to flip your camera over to portrait. You can head a little further around the corner to achieve a landscape shot which incorporates the scenery the waterfall finds itself in.  

Aforementioned, with the introduction of the railway, the Victorian’s loved to alight here and make their way to the waterfall.  Today however, the railway is owned and preserved by the famous North Yorkshire Moors Railway. We on the other hand have alighted a comfortable Coastliner bus, enjoyed Britains most scenic bus route and followed our Victorian ancestors footsteps to this stunning waterfall. 

In any era, this waterfall is in a location that is unspoilt and is especially pleasant during the summer months when everything is in full bloom. Additionally, you might occasionally see some amazing bird life which may be missed when are eyes are distracted on the dominant waterfall. More often than not you will see Grey Wagtails but not exclusively so. In fact, the North York Moors is red squirrel territory so keep you eyes open for these too.

After viewing the waterfall we return back to the sign post we encountered earlier to continue a 3 mile circular walk back to Goathland. However, after a pitstop at Goathland you can extend the circuit which we will cover In this documentary. 

Instead of climbing the steep ascent back to Goathland, we’re going to follow the wooden walkway towards Beck Hole. 

Path to Incline Cottage Beck Hole North York Moors

Goathland and Levisham Moor North Yorkshire

This relaxing path takes you beside West Beck and into Carr Wood towards Incline Cottage and meet with the Rail Trail, a public right of way between Goathland and Grosmont. 

However, before we do, don’t forget the walkers code of conduct, that is to close more gates than you open. If you have a dog with you, please ensure its on a lead at this point because of grazing farm animals. 

On our left we gradually ascend above West Beck with lush green pasture ground on our right. The woodland that you see along this route is Carr Wood. 

One piece of advice I will give you is that if you ever see a sheep on its back, pop into the field and help it back on its feet, otherwise it could die. The farmer would more likely be grateful than complain about trespassing, especially if the sheep is in lamb. Fortunately, today we see quite a number of lambs on our circular walk. 

Committing to this walk clockwise is the easiest way to carry out this walk but occasionally there are some steps as you ascend above West Beck. They tend to be short and sweet however. 

Depending on how much time you have to spend, it is worthwhile just taking a breather every now and then and take in the scenery. This helps you absorb your surroundings, and if you are a keen photographer it gives you a moment to find a good composition for your photos. There are some fantastic views to record even if you just have a camera phone. 

There are a few gates on this route and generally some tend to spring-close by themselves, but please ensure that they latch when you’re through. 

This path is great in summer because it is very shady and keeps you out of the blazing sunshine should we get some. However, always ensure you have plenty to drink especially in hot weather. You can purchase chilled drinks from Goathland to carry with you. 

Another favourable aspect about this walk is the varying scenery and terrain. One moment you passing one of Yorkshire’s tallest waterfalls, then you’re walking through woodland, grassy pastures, moorland and rural villages. 

Eventually you will see a farm on a hill in the distance and some holiday chalets. The rolling green hills give you an extraordinary sense of space and the air tends to be very fresh considering we not too far away from the east coast. 

Many of the farms and out buildings tend to remind you of Heartbeat country and locations used in the series. Much of them have been built in creamy coloured limestone that seasons the idyllic beauty of the area. 

You will eventually come to a tall descending staircase bringing us back to the level of West Beck. This is where you will thank me for advising you to commit to this walk clockwise. When you reach the bottom turn around and look back at the descent.

If Heartbeat is anything to go by, North Yorkshire Police would arrest this staircase for grievous bodily harm. 

You will shortly arrive at a junction in the public right of way where the path meets the rail trail at Incline Cottage. The cottage once housed railway workers on the former George Stephenson’s route. 

If you wanted to see another smaller waterfall, you can follow the path left until you see a stone bridge next to a public house with a sign to Thomason Foss. Today however, we are going to gradually ascend uphill by turning right. This public right of way takes us back to Goathland. 

Goathland Rail Trail North York Moors

Goathland and Levisham Moor North Yorkshire

As an alternative, you might want walk the Rail Trail instead which is around 3.5 miles long each way. It begins in Goathland and finishes as Grosmont where the North York Moors Railway meets the Esk Valley line from Middlesbrough to Whitby. There is an engine repair workshop there with a gift shop for the Moors Railway.  Grosmont was built to house the iron mine workers as iron mines were once common in the area. 

However, our walk now takes us through further woodland with a narrow stream of water running to the right hand side of us. The ascent is gradual and it is a short walk back to Goathland. 

You will eventually reach a seat dedicated to Peter Wash whose idea formed the British Rail Wednesday Walkers. 

This curvy woodland walk can also be a shady walk to keep cool in and attracts some interesting bird life. You will also notice that the ascent is more manageable than the way back to St Mary’s Church where we began our walk. 

After passing a Yorkshire Water site on your right, you meet a crossroads. Turning right takes you back to the village shops where you might want to stop for refreshments or end your walk. Otherwise, you can walk straight across the road towards Goathland Car Park where toilets are available should you require them. 

This particular lamb is subliminally encouraging us to take a break here before continuing the second part of our walk and extending the route further if we should wish to. 

We mostly consider the police in Heartbeat country but did you know that Goathland has a Fire Station made up of volunteers? Turning right here takes us to the public conveniences, bus stop, car park and village shops. 

Just beside the Fire Station is a road, a short cut that takes you towards Goathland Station and the road the Coastliner bus entered the village. We simply follow the zig-zag until you can see the railway station on the left. We then walk downhill to the railway station and cross either on the level crossing (if a train is not present) or using the footbridge at the other side. 

Goathland Station North York Moors

Goathland and Levisham Moor North Yorkshire

Completely unplanned, we arrived at the right time to see a steam locomotive pulling a train bound for Pickering. 

The North Yorkshire Moors Railway began with a group of local volunteers in 1967. The sixties was a time of woe for the rail network as Dr Beeching closed many of the unprofitable lines which is why the Pickering to Whitby line is preserved. Before 1967, the line continued further meeting the Scarborough line at Rillington near Malton. 

The North York Moors Historical Railway Trust is a not for profit charity and the railway is maintained by volunteers with just a core of paid staff. There are around 550 volunteers working on this preserved railway. 

The station is not just famous for its role as ‘Aidensfield’ in the Heartbeat series, but perhaps lesser known is its roles in the Harry Potter movies. However, it should be pointed out that you cannot board a train to Hogwarts here otherwise it would be Britain’s most scenic train route.

Path to Moorgate Goathland North York Moors

Goathland and Levisham Moor North Yorkshire

We also need some steam now because we have just a short ascent to climb. On the right hand side of the furthest platform is a gate and a path heading two directions. 

If you want a good view of the station, we recommend using the left path, but either path takes us to the top of the hill where we head right. Particularly on the right hand path, be careful if it is muddy as it can be slippery. If this is so, it might be better to take the stepped left path instead.

Fortunately, at out age there is the reward of a wooden seat at the top overlooking the station. 

In the distance, you will see RAF Fylingdales which of course once were enormous white golf ball looking structures. In any case, we walk this direction until we meet the road we arrived on where we turn briefly left. 

Just a short walk uphill brings us to our bridleway on the opposite side of the road. Please be careful when crossing and follow this bridleway along, keeping to the path. 

You will notice that the railway is on your right hand side as well as a farm. 

The terrain isn’t suitable for growing crops on the North York Moors, so the farms in this area tend to deal mainly in livestock. In fact, agriculture has been the basis of the economy for over a thousand years as well as tourism. Grouse shooting is also common because of the vast expanse of heather laced moorland.

You might at times see columns of smoke on the horizon. This is because heathers are burned in rotation in controlled conditions when they get to ‘wellie’ height. This generally takes place in winter and early spring when birds are not nesting on the ground. 

Along the bridlepath is a seat which is a resting place to sit back and watch the heritage trains rolling by. From this vantage point, you get to see the expanse of the North York Moors and beyond. 

However, afterwards, the bridleway dips downhill towards a beck in which we cross, heading towards Partridge Farm. 

The North Yorkshire Moors Railway is a single track with passing loops of which are mainly at stations. This location is a great place to watch them go by and enjoy the sounds of steam as they disappear into the horizon. 

As we stride over Little Beck, we gently walk up hill towards the farm. The beck you cross at Goathland Station is Eller Beck which merges later on with the Esk after colliding with West Beck at Combs Wood.

Eller Beck may sound familiar because the Coastliner bus crosses Ellerbeck over a stone bridge on the A1079 prior to arriving at the second junction for Goathland. It will also sound familiar because it also touches Dalby Forest and Eller Beck is also found at Thornton le Dale. 

We again meet grassy pastures with plenty of sheep adorning the green landscape. In fact, sheep practically out number people in Goathland!

The Bridleway continues surrounded by dry stone walls before it meets Partridge Farm that you see on the right hand side. 

Although the land is grassy, you will notice also that it is very rugged. The sprinkled rocks upon the grass are almost like chocolate shavings on a cake.  You’ll also notice that tree’s are sparse and there are in the minority. 

Arriving at Partridge Hill Farm, we keep to the left continuing along the bridleway with the farm on our right hand side. 

The bridleway dips downhill again to arrive at another beck. When you get to towards the foot of the hill, it is recommended to walk on the grass verge because the bridleway tends to be muddy at this point. 

At the beck you will notice some stepping stones. Don’t be alarmed at these as the beck is very narrow and he stepping stones are quite large. It is child’s play crossing these yet please be careful if they are wet. As a matter of fact, depending on the time of year and rainfall, you can get away with not using them at all. 

What goes down must go up, and therefore we meet with a gradual ascent towards another farm called Birchwood Farm. Please keep to the existing path which tends to be discernible. 

You eventually meet with the farm track which we now walk upon until we reach Moorgate. Moorgate is the first turn off to Goathland from the A1079 which takes us to the roundabout near Mallyan Spout Hotel where the Coastliner bus turns around. 

Along this farm track, you can see much of the following moorland and during August the heathers are in flower leading to a purple carpet across the landscape. 

You’ll also see the A1079, the Pickering to Whitby road, in the distance. On your way back via Thornton le Dale, you can see how far you’ve walked providing you’re sat on the right hand side of the bus and up on the top deck. 

Certainly the views are spectacular and the air is clean so it’s kind of a detox physically and mentally. Also, just count the calories all these steps are burning! Another health benefit is that sometimes your phone signal is out of range. No phone no hassle!

Eventually you will see in the distance a house with a white gate beside it. Well, you get to see this close up as it serves as our path back to Goathland. 

You will also see the railway but also the former George Stephenson’s route behind it.

Just prior to joining Moorgate, you will come across the memorial for John Calvert who was a local man who fell asleep in death here. 

When you arrive at Moorgate, we need to take a right turn towards a stone bridge over a beck and another bridge for the railway. 

This bridge is the only over bridge on the railway. Bridges were expensive so many of the crossings are level crossings. As it is the only over bridge, it is a popular haunt for rail photographers and TV production company’s. 

Through the bridge you will meet a bend where another bridge is found. This disused bridge carried the original route of the railway before it altered slightly. 

Bridleway to Sadler House and Goathland Hotel North York Moors

Goathland and Levisham Moor North Yorkshire

After a cattle pin on the road, you will see the white gate to Sadler House, however, Sadler house is not the house on the left. Sadler house is a little further along the track here. 

Aidensfield Arms Goathland Hotel
Aidensfield Arms Goathland Hotel

I’ve a feeling these sheep won’t be sat here much longer.  As you’ve probably discerned, the wind has picked up. This goes to show that the Moors can have changeable weather so always come prepared.

You’ll see Sadler House on your right hand side, and the track continues back to Goathland in almost a near straight line. 

You might want to keep your eyes opened for some woodpecker because we encountered one which you are about to see on the left of this tree trunk.

Occasionally, the tree lined track can get muddy so a good pair of walking shoes are necessary. 

Eventually you will meet a caravan and camping site as well as a junction to walk towards Mallyan Spout and St Mary’s Church. However, we want to keep straight on until we reach Goathland.

You might be glad to know that our walk is almost over and a sit down is beckoning. When we reach Goathland, you might have time before the bus arrives so this is a perfect opportunity to explore the village if you have some excess energy. Alternatively, you can spend it in one of the cafe/tearooms or even a public house. 

Goathland Tea Rooms
Goathland Tea Rooms

You will finally observe the rear of the Goathland Hotel which played the Aidensfield Arms in Heartbeat as well as Scripps Funeral Services and Aidensfield Garage at the opposite side of the road. Goathland Hotel is obviously a pub and place to stay, and the garage is a gift shop.

Enjoy your journey! Until next time.


Further Series Pertaining to North Yorkshire

The North Yorkshire Reporter

My North Yorkshire Walks Video Diaries

North Yorkshire Photography Workshop (Phovlography)

Britain’s Most Scenic Bus Route