If you're looking for a longer walk, then set off from West Burton, about nine and a half miles, or a shorter one, set off from Thoralby. Please do make sure you plan your route on the map before hand and wear appropriate footwear and clothing. Always take a drink and a snack, if not lunch, with you. (the photo is of my two companions taken in the Edwardian Rock Garden)
If setting off from West Burton, park by the village green or at the waterfall area and make your way up the village past the village hall to Town Head Farm, continue straight on, over a little wooden bridge and into the fields. Follow the footpath the Newbiggin. As you come out onto the track take the footpath opposite, wend your way down the fields which will bring you out onto the B6160 and Cross Lanes. Turn for Thoralby. Follow the road, over Mill Bridge and Bishopdale Beck and nearly at the top of the little steep hill turn left to follow the footpath. Again keep going until you come out at Littleburn Bridge*. Over the bridge and immediately turn right into the driveway of Littleburn. Walk up the drive, past the buildings and take the stile into the field behind the house. Up the hill and once onto the level look left, west, to find another stile. Through here and keep a sharp look out for further stiles until you come to Blind Syke and Cote Bottom. Pass in front of the cottages and soon you will see Barker ahead of you.
Once at Barker pass the cottage and turn right to go round the back of the cottage, follow the track up the hill. Once through the gateway and after just a few yards look to your left, there is footpath sign in the dip. Make your way to here and follow north westwards. It does say it’s a bridleway but the path is narrow, keep going, following your map, we even lost the path at one point in the heather but aim to come out on Stake Road Track with Gayle Ing wood in sight. Look towards the trees and you will see a gated stile. Make for here over heathery moorland, progress down to the stream and bridge, up the other side, another stile, through the field with Gayle Ing at its head in the west, through yet another stile and then follow the track over Haw Head and eventually meeting with Flout Moor Lane* and down to the road in between Thornton Rust and Aysgarth.
Turn right here, east, and make your way into Aysgarth. If you’re in need of a little light relief wander into the Edwardian Rock Garden, a fascinating little place, don’t forget to leave a small donation. If in need of lunch or whatever Hamilton’s is always a good place to stop (closed on a Tuesday though). Follow the A684 to the garage, take the road to Thoralby and after a few yards you’ll see a stile on the left, through here and follow a well defined footpath to a narrow road, more or less straight over here and again follow a well defined path to Eshington Bridge. From here you can see West Burton, follow the finger post pointing east just over the bridge, through the fields, eventually cross over the B6160, up the steps opposite, along the narrow footpath, turn right at the road and back to the village green, phew!
*If setting off from Thoralby, walk down to Littleburn Bridge, follow the directions to Flout Moor Lane*. Keep a watch out as the path levels for a finger post to Thoralby, take this and make your way back to Thoralby.
A wonderful walk, full of contrasts and most amazing views and not too arduous. A steady pull up to Gayle Ing then all downhill!
Written By Nadine Bell