Yorkshire walk - Boltby, near Thirsk
PUBLISHED: 00:00 11 November 2015 | UPDATED: 15:24 03 April 2016
Stride out across fields and along woodland paths to enjoy wonderful moorland views. Words and photograph by Terry Fletcher
With a bit of luck all walks can be an uplifting experience but not many promise you Paradise, not once but twice. The walk starts from the idyllic village of Boltby, near Thirsk, a straggling collection of well-kept warm sandstone cottages capped with red pantile roofs strung out along the narrow lane which climbs to the moors. It is one of those wonderfully mellow places that look as though they have grown from the earth themselves. It has certainly been here since long before the troublesome Normans turned up at Hastings and is mentioned in the Domesday Book. Today its population is less than half of what it once was and if there is a complaint to be made about Boltby it is that none of the four pubs which once served its thirsty residents has survived. Today visitors must make do with drinks which are served occasionally in the village hall almost opposite the unpretentious Holy Trinity Church.
Set off through the village eastwards towards the moors, passing the church and crossing the tiny bridge. Climb up the lane and just after it levels off and about five minutes from the start, a concrete road forks off leftwards, marked with a footpath sign into the trees. After 150 yards take a stile in the right by a signpost offering the rather lukewarm destination of Low Paradise. The path traverses leftwards across the slope aiming for the wooded escarpment ahead. It continues more or less level to reach a stile and passes below a wood used for pheasant rearing. At the end of the trees it joins a broader track which climbs slightly uphill to reach a fence which it follows rightwards to a waymarked stile and enter a wood.
The path emerges on a farm access road. Cross straight over to take a stile with the buildings of Low Paradise Farm clearly in view on the hillside across the valley. The path drops down to the stream and follows it leftward to cross an old clapper bridge whose stones bear the grooves of much traffic. The path climbs to the farm buildings and there follow waymark signs between two hedges. Climb to the second stile on the right and pass in front of the house and then up the steep access track. At the top turn left up the lane to pass a brick bungalow, Oak Beck before climbing to join the Cleveland Way. Turn left along this, still on the lane as it enters a wood. At the farm end follow the Cleveland Way signs to High Paradise Farm. This does offer refreshments in the summer but its tea shop is only open at weekends from October to January and is closed in February.
The track continues past the farm to a T-junction with the Hambleton Road, green lane. Turn right along this,
The hard work is now behind you and this is first class country for striding out. To the left the moors stretch to the horizon while to the right there are glimpses across the Vale of York to the distant purple Dales and Pennines.
When the track arrives at Sneck Yate car park on a crossroad, turn right to Boltby and after about 300 yards just as it begins to descend take a broad track on the left leading to a gate with a sign pointing along the Cleveland Way to Sutton Bank. Go through this now on the lip of the escarpment with even better views to the west and the wooded valley below.
The first building reached is High Barn. Ignore a bridleway heading down the slope. This does lead to Boltby but it would be a shame to leave the rim just yet. So instead carry on along the Cleveland Way, passing above a quarry and natural cliffs until after about 20 minutes or so you come to a three-armed signpost signalling a sharp right turn down to Boltby.
The path drops to a wood and at a fork just inside it take the right hand, fainter fork through the trees. Where it reaches a forestry road, go straight over and on into a badly overgrown pasture. Carry on down to a wood and go through a gate following the path. At the foot of the wood take the signed path to Boltby. Leaving the wood it drops diagonally across another pasture to enter an enclosed green lane which leads all the way back to the village.
Start/finish: Boltby near Thirsk
Time: 3 hours
Terrain: Field and woodland paths, unfenced escarpment on Cleveland Way
Parking: A few spaces by the church and more further up the hill in off-road spaces. Alternatively it would be possible to start from the Sneck Yate car park halfway round.
Refreshments: Tea shop at High Paradise Farm en route (restricted hours in winter). Pub in Felixkirk, selection of pubs and cafés in Thirsk
Maps: OS OL 26 North York Moors (West)