Rosedale Abbey Walk

Rosedale Abbey village is just 7 miles drive from Appleton and is the starting point for a lovely walk that we’ve done in every season since we moved here.

We love it because it is a circular walk of just under 8 miles through a real variety of countryside and some beautiful big sky panoramic views.

The scenic drive to Rosedale takes you over the North York Moors, and down the infamous Chimney Bank. It shares the title of steepest road in England with the Hardknott Pass in Cumbria. It has a maximum gradient of 1 in 3 (about 33%) and climbs 173m on its 1.3km route. It’s known locally by cyclists as “The Chain Breaker”.

We walked this route earlier this week with some friends, and it was a reminder what a great walk it is. We met at the lovely Graze on the Green Café in the heart of Rosedale. Their home made cakes are epic, they serve our favourite Roost coffee, what’s not to like? We skipped breakfast so we could justify a slab of cake (the Black Forest Roulade was wonderful) and a coffee to set us up for the day.

The walk starts across the fields and winds along the river, then climbs up the side of the valley with lovely views. At the top you cross a lane and dip down through a forest eventually coming out at a farm leading up to the old ironworks railway line. You can’t miss the farm as you’ll hear the cockerels crowing well before you arrive. The owners clearly have a passion for chickens and ducks; everywhere you look are brightly coloured cockerels (which seem to outnumber considerably the rather harried looking hens) In spring the farm yard is full of chicks and ducklings.

The old railway line is probably one of our favourite parts of the walk. It runs down the side of Rosedale with wonderful views and alongside the ruins of the old roasting kilns. It was originally built in the 1860’s and took the processed iron ore out of the valley and on to County Durham. It’s hard to imagine Rosedale as part of the Victorian industrial age. Almost 3000 people were employed to work in the ironstone mines (fewer than 300 live there today) and you can see the ruins of some of the houses they lived in on the walk.

 

You walk along the line until you pick up a sign for the Dale Head Farm and follow the path down into the valley.  Maggie runs the Dale Head Farm Tea Garden, and halfway round the walk, we were ready for a cold drink. The farm featured heavily in the recent BBC 2 documentary, North York Moors: A Wild Year. It is filmed all over the North York Moors, and is a wonderful advertisement for this beautiful area. Apparently, Maggie’s young son (who was filmed a fair bit over the course of the programme) is highly embarrassed when he gets recognised by customers.

 

Maggie sums up the warmth of the Yorkshire welcome you can expect. Everything is homemade and generous. Service is friendly and welcoming with a dollop of humour. The food is delicious and the views down into Rosedale are stunning. In the warm July sunshine, we felt a million miles away from Covid-19 and the strange world we now live in.

The second half of the walk is pretty much all downhill once you’ve crossed the river and head down to Rosedale Abbey. It’s well sign posted and takes you into the back of Rosedale village via the church. Ironically, there’s no abbey in the village of Rosedale Abbey. It was a medieval Cistercian priory, which was pulled down in the 19th century – much of the stone was used to build the present church.

This walk is definitely more than a stroll but well worth the time to do it. It took us 5 hours, but that was allowing time for the all-important café stops. If you have people in your party who are less keen or able to walk this type of distance, we’d suggest they explore Rosedale village and then drive up to Dale Head Farm to meet you. Or drive up and park near the old railway line and walk that short stretch of the walk to enjoy the views.

We were lucky to walk this route last week in hot sunshine and blue skies. Equally, we’ve walked it when there’s snow on the ground and have warmed ourselves part way round with a hot cup of tea and flapjack in Dales Head Farm’s shooting butt. At that time of year, Maggie runs it with an honesty jar for what you eat, and a wood burning stove to warm you up from the elements.

So, another walk we recommend from the many to choose from during your stay at the Long Barn.

This year we’ve started recording the walks we do using the “Relive” app so that you can get a flavour of what to expect,click here to see that. We hope this helps your group decide which walks to do. We appreciate it can be difficult to decide in a large group and cater for everyone’s tastes and abilities.

This is one of the walks we highlight to guests, with full instructions/map in the Long Barn for you to use.


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