Circular walk to Malo Cross and Blakey Topping from Saltergate Car park (7 km)

This walk to Malo Cross and Blakey Topping is full of interest and variety and goes through a mixture of different landscapes – woodland, fields and moorland. The terrain is fairly easy going with one short, steep climb up Blakey Topping and an easy, moderate climb up towards Malo Cross. The walk is on good paths and tracks with no navigational difficulties.

If you have a dog there are a number of stiles and gates on the route, but nothing my spaniel couldn’t manage. Parts of the walk pass through fields with grazing animals.

I think the scenery in the area is just as spectacular as that around the more popular Hole of Horcum walk.

Saltergate car park on the A169 between Pickering and Whitby is normally used by people crossing the road and heading west towards the Hole of Horcum. I have a separate post that describes a walk around this amazing place. Hole of Horcum circular walk across Levisham Moor, Dundale Griff and Low Horcum.


The Ordnance Survey Explorer OL27 covers the Eastern area of the North York Moors which includes the Tabular Hills Walk, the Cleveland Hills, Esk Valley Walk, the Cleveland Way, and the Northern end of the Ebor Way. With this map, you also get a code for use on your iOS or Android smartphone or tablet. The OS Explorer Map is available in both the standard paper version and the weatherproof ‘Active’ version.

Finding Saltergate Car Park

The walk starts and finishes at Saltergate car park on the A169 between Pickering and Whitby (YO18 7NR). This is a “pay and display” car park and it can be a busy place on a weekend. On busy days there is often an ice-cream van and/or a coffee van if you need some refreshment.

There is a bus stop at the car park which is serviced by four buses a day on the Coastliner Leeds to Whitby service.

Malo Cross

People have inhabited the North Yorkshire Moors for a long time. One of the legacies of these early inhabitants is a series of Pagan Crosses, which are located in a number of places around the moors. This walk visits one of the best examples, Milo Cross, which still stands at the foot of Whinney Nab, albeit at a jaunty angle.

Malo Cross is a monolith cross, this is one that is placed directly into the ground. This was erected around 1619 by Sir Richard Egerton to mark the boundary of his manor. It also marks an ancient junction of routes. It is now a Grade II listed structure. If you want to know more, read the listing on the Historic England website which also has a lot more information on standing crosses and their place in history.

Blakey Topping 267m

Blakey Topping stands quite isolated from the surrounding landscape and is 267m high. If you approach it from the west (as in this walk) it has steep sides with a distinctive flat top. However, if you look at it from Thompson’s Rigg to the southeast it looks perfectly conical.

Blakey Topping was quite possibly a very significant place to the prehistoric people who once lived in the area. Archaeologists have found remains of a stone circle near its foot. All across nearby Thompsons Rigg are prehistoric remains including two round burial cairns, a platform cairn, three parallel hollow ways and a standing stone. See the Historic England listing on Thompson’s Rigg Cairnfield for more information.

Malo Cross and Blakey Topping – Walk Directions

Walk along Old Wife’s Way

The walk starts at the Saltergate car park and then heads along “Old Wife’s Way”. After parking in the car park leave at the northern end. Walk along the side of the road for 100m or so. Take care walking along the roadside as the traffic is moving fast here. When you reach a signpost on the right marked “Crosscliff 4 miles”, this is the start of “Old Wife’s Way”.

A short distance along “Old Wife’s Way” on the right is what looks like a very large barn. This is in fact an aircraft hanger, although it’s not marked on the OS map.

There are excellent views from here over to the left towards Hazelhead Moor and Blakey Topping which keep on getting better as you walk along.

Continue to follow the road/track straight for another kilometre until you reach a wooden signpost marked “Bridleway”. At this point the track splits in two, one part bends away to the left and a path carries straight on past a National Trust sign into the Bridestones and Crosscliff Nature Reserve.

Climb Blakey Topping

Ignore the path to the Bridestones and follow the track as it bends left and goes downhill towards a farm. Walk through the farmyard, bear left and follow the track down and then up towards a gate next to a National Trust / Blakey Topping sign. Keep on the track and follow it to a stile and an obvious path through the bracken and bilberries leading up to the summit of Blakey Topping.

From the summit, there are spectacular 360 views over the surrounding forests and moors.

To continue the walk retrace your steps down Blakey Topping and head back to the farm. Once you reach the farm, walk through the farmyard and follow the track as it bends to the right at the bottom of the hill. Just after the bend lookout on your right for a set of wooden steps leading up to a gate. Go through the gate and pass through a second gate and head diagonally across the field heading for the point where the farm track crosses the stream.

Walk to Milo Cross and Saltergate Brow

After crossing the stream, follow the path through some more fields climbing steadily. The path follows the fence line on the right, next to the wooded area. This can be a bit marshy after wet weather. The track leaves the fields and crosses moorland before arriving at Malo Cross.

From Malo Cross turn left along a path signposted “Bridleway Horcum” which climbs along the edge of Whinney Nab. As the path climbs gently towards Saltergate Brow, spectacular views open up northwards towards Fylingdales and beyond. Continue to follow the track around the edge of the hill.

Go through a gate and bear right towards a gate and the treeline on the other side of the field. Go through the gate and turn left. The path now leads back to “Old Wife’s Way” and the Saltergate car park.


Whilst I take every care to ensure the accuracy of the route descriptions, I cannot accept responsibility for errors or omissions. The route described may be pleasant for walking in fine weather but can become slippery, boggy and dangerous in wintry or wet weather. On days when visibility is impaired by fog, rain, cloud or mist, some landmarks used as direction aids in the route descriptions may not be visible.

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Circular walk to Malo Cross and Blakey Topping

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