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Goathland Circular Walk via Mallyan Spout

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Goathland Circular Walk via Mallyan Spout. In this episode, we are going to visit the North York Moors village of Goathland which is well known for being a calling point on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, it’s waterfall and for being very closely connected to ITV’s Heartbeat drama series. We are going to discover Goathland in a circular walk across the moors.

Goathland Levisham Moor Best North Yorkshire Walks
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Goathland Levisham Moor Best North Yorkshire Walks
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Goathland is around 9 miles away from Whitby on the North Yorkshire Coast. It often made an appearance on ITV’s Heartbeat as Aidensfield. There are car parks in Goathland with public conveniences as well as being on the Leeds to Whitby bus route, the 840 operated by Coastliner.

Starting from Goathland Village Shops

Goathland Circular Walk via Mallyan Spout Waterfall

We are going to begin our walk at the village shops and we can split this walk into two walks if you need to. Our first is via the Mallyan Spout Waterfall and our second is via Moorgate.

You might wonder why Goathland has so many shops for a small village. Of course, today it is centred on tourism owing to the drama series and the heritage railway. Back in Victorian times, it was also popular as day-trippers would travel by train to see the waterfall here and of course they would come here by train. Therefore, Goathland has been a visitor hotspot for quite some time.

Shops aside, there are also eateries as well as ice-cream outlets and Goathland Tearooms has a popular garden where you can eat alfresco as well as inside. The gift shops mainly retail items pertaining to Heartbeat otherwise the local area and the is also a rural clothes shop too.

If you arrive at the right time, you might see some classic cars from the series including some Ford Anglias that were constructed in the 1950’s that were superseded with the Ford Escort. These are the deluxe versions owing to their chrome fronts. These cars are quite small compared with many vehicles we have today of course. One is a mock police car from the 1960’s period and they tend to be attached to charity buckets. This isn’t the car used in the series as it is in poor repair, but it certainly presents a 60’s theme.

On the right hand side before the bend in the road you might recognise what was the doctor’s surgery from the Heartbeat series.

Heading around the bend to the left you will see some further attractive stone dwellings on the opposite side of the road over looking a green space. However, we are going to follow the sign for the church and Mallyan Spout.

Don’t be surprised to see sheep wandering around the village freely, this is in line with a local common right to graze sheep across the moorland.

Following the road along you will come to a church which also appeared in Heartbeat locally known as St Mary’s Church. This landmark is relevant as opposite to this stands Mallyan Spout Hotel.

Of course, if you desire to stay overnight, Mallyan Spout is one of many places to stay in the village, and this particular building is grade II listed and has been around since 1892.

On the right hand side of the hotel and cafe, there is a path that heads downhill to West Beck and Mallyan Spout Waterfall. This path insists that it is best to perform this walk clockwise. Let’s just say it is easier to walk down it than up it unless you have the agility of a mountain goat!

In any case, as we are elevated we can see a considerable distance across some stunning moorland.

The Path to West Beck

Goathland Circular Walk via Mallyan Spout Waterfall

We make light of this descent, but even if you walk uphill it is assisted with steps and the occasional bench for a rest. However, for me, I like to feel the force of gravity and float swiftly downhill rather than up. Another benefit is that you are facing the distant scenery instead of a series of steps. Please be careful in winter months concerning any mud.

Sadly, you can’t see the watercourse owing to the trees, but this is no hardship at the end of the day because Mallyan Spout is a waterfall you can walk right up to. This short walk to West Beck is clarified by the sounds of trickling water ahead as well as bird song.

I personally find West Beck a very dynamic beck which is regulated by recent rainfall in the area. It is also very rugged with local stone which is being washed with natural spring water as it flows through the ravine.

In reality, Mallyan Spout is not on our circular walk but just astride from it. The sign post directs along a short path where you negotiate some large rocks to get up close to the waterfall. There are some points in the becks path where you can get close the water and dogs love it. This is a dog friendly walk but it is best to have them on a lead where there are grazing animals in particular.

I don’t find the wet stones a problem when wearing proper hiking shoes, but if they have a film of green on them they do tend to be slippy, so take care. The rocks may seem a little daunting to some, but I have seen elderly people handle them.

The waters of West Beck are curiously labelled “River Esk” on Google Maps and in a way it is partially correct. This is because the beck merges with the River Esk near Grosmont which then empties out into the North Sea at Whitby. West Beck merges with Eller Beck near by first forming the Murk Esk prior to Grosmont.

It is not uncommon to see grey wagtail in this area. You might simply consider this bird to have grey plumage owing to its name, but in actual fact it has a bold yellow belly.


Mallyan Spout Waterfall

Goathland Circular Walk via Mallyan Spout Waterfall


I can only say that Mallyan Spout Waterfall is approximately 60-70ft tall because I have read 60ft from one source and 70 from another. In any case, the best time to see it is after heavy rainfall owing to the quantity of water being forced of the ledge above. There are two features that I love about this waterfall. Firstly, you can walk up to it and place your hand under it, and secondly because it is situated on a right angled bend of West Beck. If you time it right, specifically in bright sunlight, you can sometimes see a small rainbow in the spray at the foot of it. In winter, you can see more of it when you cross the footbridge around the corner when the leaves aren’t present. There is also a further path back to Moorgate, a road we meet later. Still, at any time of the year, this is one of those rare occasions when you can literally get up close to a natural waterfall which is astonishing when you consider the length of the drop. You can understand why the Victorians enjoyed coming here so much.

We are going to follow the bend in the beck back towards the signpost we encountered earlier, and follow the direction of Beckhole.


The Way to Beckhole

Goathland Circular Walk via Mallyan Spout Waterfall


Some of the path to Beckhole has been boarded to assist you in winter months which is more pleasant to walk on than mud and puddle. Of course, we always want to close every gate owing to livestock in the area as well as to keep to the path.

We don’t actually enter the village of Beckhole but you might want to walk over the stone bridge there and find a path to a second waterfall Thomason Foss.

This route does have a couple of ups and downs and they tend to be aided with steps. If you are making Goathland a family day out with pushchairs, you might find this route a little awkward, yet I have seen people achieve it.

You gently ascend further with West Beck now well underneath you on your left as it heads towards Carr Wood. On your right you have some pasture land for the grazing sheep. On the hill behind you, you will see Goathland in the distance.

The trees overhang you above which is great for shade in the summer and perhaps an umbrella for winter. At the time of filming, there was lots of wildflowers integrating to the pasture land.

You will also see some farms and holiday accommodation in the surrounding hills facing you such as Hill Farm Holiday Cottages here.

You will come to a stepped descent curving around the hillside, still following the course of West Beck on the left. We head through a small kissing gate at the bottom and follow the beck further towards Incline Cottage. The steps are another reason to do this walk clockwise!

You will see a stone structure on the opposite side of West Beck and I am at a loss to what this was. As we are close to the original George Stephenson route of the railway, it may be railway orientated, or perhaps associated with the iron mines that were in the area.

What I do know is that Incline Cottage was a former railwayman’s cottage on the original route created by George Stephenson. The current railway is just slightly off path of the original route between Grosmont and Goathland.


The Rail Trail

Goathland Circular Walk via Mallyan Spout Waterfall

On the subject of this railway route, we now merge with the Rail Trail between Grosmont and Goathland and turn right which ascends gently uphill. We are now assured that walking clockwise is the best way back to Goathland and we are walking along some railway history. This history may not be apparent at first glance as there is very little evidence of anything railway other than the cottage.

Actually, I may eat my words because there is a bench in memory of Peter Walsh who established the British Rail Wednesday Walkers who lived between 1943 and 2015.

In any case, this is a very scenic path that curves its way back to Goathland moderately. You may hear a trickle of water as there is a very narrow watercourse beside the track on the right hand side. This ascent is far more manageable than the stepped path back up to Mallyan Spout Hotel.

When you reach the gates, you have a decision to make. To head back to the village shops you turn right. Today we are going to head straight across and follow the path further and make our way to the second part of this walk from Goathland Station.

When you reach the other side you will encounter something that you didn’t expect to see, Goathland Fire Station which is run by brave volunteers. Just beside is a track to the approach road into Goathland from the A169. Although it is a no different to a bridleway, The Mill Greenway also has some properties alongside it on the right. When you reach the road you turn left towards the railway station belonging to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. Looking right you will see the rooftop of Goathland Hotel where we finish our way later.

Just prior to the railway station you will pass by the mill house which is the large Tudor style building that is more than likely the first property you see entering the village. The actual mill itself has been converted into a house next to it.


Goathland Station

Goathland Circular Walk via Mallyan Spout Waterfall


Goathland station is quite famous as not only was it Aidensfield in Heartbeat, but it was also Hogsmede in Harry Potter, a location in Simply Red’s Holding Back the Years and also it was Mannerton in an episode of All Creatures Great and Small.

The goods shed is a tearoom and there is also a camping coach here for holiday accommodation.

One perfect view of the station to watch the trains enter and depart is from the stone bridge on the approach road from the A169. It is also a great place to take a photo or two, but please be mindful of traffic.

One thing you might notice either from the bridge or on the platform is how a member of staff will either collect or issue a token to the engine driver. This is because the track becomes single line and only the token holder can occupy that stretch of track. This of course is a safety feature that prevents a collision.

There are two ways to cross the tracks at Goathland Station and that is either to use the footbridge or a pedestrian level crossing. When it is unsafe to use the level crossing, a member of staff locks the gates. In this case you have to climb the footbridge because there is either a train in the station or one on its way shortly.

There is a viewing area to watch the trains come in beside wooden shop. It is also another great location to take photos or even video of approaching steam or heritage diesel trains.

To continue our walk today, we have to cross the tracks and the more direct route is using the pedestrian level crossing if it is available for use. On the opposite platform is a further gate to access the public right of way uphill. This public right of way is split, left for a stepped route, right for a direct route. It is not too difficult to walk upwards and their is a seat at the top that looks over the station below. In fact, it is a great view of the station from here full stop.


A Stroll Across Moorland

Goathland Circular Walk via Mallyan Spout Waterfall


At the top we turn right and walk towards Fylingdales that you can see in the distance. You can walk across towards the houses or stay on the main track towards the road. Again, as you are elevated you can see some fantastic views from this height. Heading up hill on the road known as Cow Wath Bank, you will see a turn off on the right which is a public bridleway.

This route now takes us above the tracks that are running parallel on the right hand side. You will see the iron bridges below which were needing to be replaced owing to age as well as wear and tear.

The track is a gentle stroll down hill decorated with bracken at either side as well as some sheep adorned fields below towards the railway. You will also see a farm as well. The moors isn’t ideal for growing crops so farming tends to be mainly livestock consisting of cattle and sheep.

There is also a convenient bench placed here so that you can watch the steam trains head back and forth along the tracks or just to admire the views. The views by the way are amazing and very Yorkshire too! The scenery continues too as you walk towards a small bridge over a beck at the foot of the hill.

Just as hardy for the windy moors like the ling heather is the gorse bush that flowers a golden yellow. They grow around 2m and they flower between January and June.

The beck under your path merges with Eller Beck that runs beside the railway station which we crossed and where the former mill is situated.


A Path with Two Farms

Goathland Circular Walk via Mallyan Spout Waterfall


As we walk further you will see an impressive sign for Partridge Farm and you may find some roaming sheep in this area. Therefore if you have a dog it is best to keep him or her on a short lead.

The sheep, rolling scenery and dry stone walls add to the Yorkshire feel and you can receive some amazing views over the North York Moors. This section of the walk is also quite rugged owing to some random rocks scattered throughout the moor.

When you reach Partridge Farm, we walk alongside it and not through it, following the path towards the trees. This route heads down hill and to the right towards another beck.

You will see some large stepping stones over the beck which are very easy to walk along owing to their size. In fact, sometimes you can cross the beck without them if there has been little rain.

The route heads immediately uphill once again after heading through a gate. Again, the scenery is very rugged still which is the kind of scenery I enjoy. You have these small trees, sheep and rocks scattered at random all over the landscape, almost as if someone has thrown them all up in the air and they have landed in no particular order.

Birchwood Farm is situated on the right of you and we use its access road as a public right of way while enjoying the idyllic scenery around us. This landscape makes some amazing photography and no matter where you aim your lens you are bound to return a great photo. In fact, the scenery seems to stretch out for infinity.

By now, you can see the earthworks of the original George Stephenson route for the railway with a cattle arch set within it. Obviously, the cattle arch was to assist livestock cross the line without coming into contact with the railway tracks. You will also see a house with a white gate and we pass through this gate shortly and follow part of the original route back to Goathland.


The Original Railway

Goathland Circular Walk via Mallyan Spout Waterfall


At the entrance for Birchwood Farm you will see a memorial stone for John Calvert who was a local man who fell asleep in death here.

We then turn right down Moorgate which touches on Goathland near Mallyan Spout Hotel. You will see a bridge over a further beck and also a bridge underneath the railway, and this before we see the cattle arch. On the road we walk single file on the right hand side facing oncoming traffic. We use this road for just a short time until we come to the white gate. You will notice how the earthworks for the original route heads straight across the road in the direction of the white gate and this public right of way takes you along what was once the original route of the railway and along the rail trail we were on earlier.

Unusually, I had some sheep in my path that seemed to be taking a break rather than roaming freely. Unfortunately I had very little option but to make them scatter simply by being there!

You might think that the house we just passed by was Sadler House but in fact it wasn’t. Sadler House is just a little further along beyond the trees.

At this point, the track turned into more of a grassy path for a short time which looked amazing and was cosy underfoot. However, the wind had picked up considerably and the moors are renown for being quite windy at times.

In winter, it can get to be a little muddy down here, but you can usually walk around the worst of it. Paths tend to be worse for mud in wooded areas such as this. In fact, two young cyclists heading towards the caravan site seemed to get around the mud without spraying it across their backs. And I also witnessed a woodpecker in the tree and just managed to capture it on camera.

The track ahead is an access road to the large caravan and camping site which always seems to be very popular in the spring and summer seasons. The tree lined track makes a shady walk during hot summer days and also is concealing me from the high winds. It also makes a pleasant route during the summer and it is hard to imagine this ever being a railway.

Eventually, you will see the rear of the Goathland Hotel which of course was the Aidensfield Arms back in Heartbeat days. There is also a beer garden at the back of the public house as well.

You will also see Aidensfield Garage on the opposite side of the road. The Heartbeat series has been shown in many countries around the world, even as far as Australia. Therefore, iconic structures such as Goathland Hotel and Aidensfield Garage are known globally and can be recognised by many cultures owing the popularity of the drama series.

The hotel is very similar to its role in Heartbeat as in a place to stay as well as serving food and drink. However, the garage, although looking like a garage from the outside is actually a gift shop.

On your way back to the car park or bus stop, you will pass a reading room where in early days the educated would read to the poorer community.

As mentioned, there are places to eat and the car park has toilets available. There are bus stops close to the village shops. We’ve enjoyed our walk today, we hope you enjoy yours too. Until next time!


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