2016 Walk 6 – Wheeldale Moor


The track down to Julian Inn (not what you think)

A late morning start but one that would see me revisit the Roman road atop Wheeldale Moor. I left Goathland on the route that passed the small tarn I photographed on the day I arrived in the village. I carried onto the moor and could see Hunt House road below. I needed to find my way down to it and after some back-tracking through the heather I did so and followed it for a mile or so. Parts of the route were familiar, especially the section approaching Wheeldale Lodge which was a youth hostel the last time I visited but has now reverted to a private home.

Just before Wheeldale Lodge I met a walker from Sheffield and his dog, a golden Lab who spent as much time as possible in whatever water it could find. A farmer at Wheeldale Lodge asked him to put his dog on a lead as it was lambing season but he claimed not to have one. A conversation ensued which had the potential to heat up but the farmer let it drop. I thought the farmer was being very reasonable and that the walker was being more confrontational than necessary. Attitudes like this do nothing to improve the relationship between walkers and land owners so I was glad to see the back of him when we parted ways at the top of the hill.

The Roman road atop Wheeldale moor

The Roman road atop Wheeldale moor

If you’ve never visited the Roman road in this remote region of the North York Moors I highly recommend it. As the photo shows the cambered road is remarkably well preserved and the drainage ditches on either side are clearly visible. I followed the road south for a good mile or so until it merged with Wheeldale road at which point I turned back in the opposite direction. Half an hour later the road descended steeply to a ford where several vehicles were parked and one family was enjoying a picnic under overcast skies. I took a break here myself and found it cool enough to put on a fleece.

While the walk to this point was familiar territory the remainder would cover new ground. From the ford I climbed up a switchback road until I joined a footpath that traversed the hillside and eventually summited near a farm. After crossing several fields I joined a dirt road leading to Hillion Farm where I passed a group of six walkers and their dogs. The track, featured in the photo at the top of the page, was very picturesque and led me down the hill through pasture and a small woodland to a farm called the Julian Inn. The gate in the farm yard was roped off but I was confident this was a right of way and so I untied the rope, made my way through the gate and tied it up again.

The farm track gave way to a footpath as it descended the hill and then entered a woodland that included some steeper descents and muddy spots. Concentration was necessary to ensure I didn’t end up on my backside or hung up on the barbed wire that bordered sections of the path.

I had the woodland entirely to myself and emerged at a footbridge near … wait for it, Beck Hole. In case you’re counting this is my third visit but I’ve made a point to arrive by a different route each time. I enjoyed a pint and a pork pie at the very busy Birch Hall Inn although most walkers were sitting outside and so the public bar contained only myself and two ladies and their very soggy Spaniels. I returned to Goathland via the ‘Incline’ and rested up for my final day in the North York Moors.

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