This part of the Cleveland Way to Clay Bank Top continues from the Sutton Bank to Osmotherley section. It is very hilly with many ups and downs. However, it is full of interest, passing through forests, past historic structures and along exposed moorland. Walking along the northern edge of the North Yorkshire Moors the views and scenery are stunning if you have nice, clear weather. However, in bad weather, there is little shelter from the elements on the exposed moorland.
There is a shop and cafe in Osmotherley and another shop and cafe on route at Lordstones near Carlton Bank.
You can park your car on the street in Osmotherley, there is a car park at Lordstones Country Park and some roadside parking at Clay Bank. This area is not well served by public transport except for the occasional bus service to Osmotherley from Northallerton.
If you are looking for accommodation you would need to add another 3km to the walk to get to either Great Broughton or Chop Gate. However, some accommodation providers provide a pick-up service from Clay Bank.
This section of the Cleveland Way is covered by the Explorer OL26 Ordnance Survey map. The map displays the western area of the North Yorkshire Moors, the Cleveland Hills, and a section of the Howardian Hills. With this map, you also get a code for use on your iOS or Android smartphone or tablet. The OS Explorer map for the North Yorkshire Moors – Western Area is available in the standard paper version and the weatherproof ‘Active’ version.
Walk from Osmotherley to Clay Bank Top
Osmotherley to Scarth Nick
Follow North End towards the top of the village. Just before the top of the village turn left onto Ruebury Lane. This is signposted to the Cleveland Way. Follow the road now as it passes a few houses. Continue uphill as the road becomes a track. Not long after there is a fork in the track, the righthand track takes a short detour to Lady Chapel which is well worth a visit. The lefthand fork passes Chapel Wood Farm and then meets up with the track from The Lady Chapel a little further along.
The Lady Chapel (Shrine of our Lady of Mount Grace)
The Lady Chapel is attached to a house and was built towards the end of the 15th Century, by Carthusian Monks from the nearby Mount Grace Priory. A number of miracles are supposed to have happened here. Because of this, the chapel became a place of pilgrimage, you’ll notice that as you walk up to the chapel the path is lined with the fourteen stations of the cross. The grounds around the chapel are quite enchanting and surrounded by mature woodland. I thought it was a very atmospheric and magical place. I would have liked to have stayed much longer in the grounds, it’s very tranquil and peaceful. Definitely worth the short detour.
Keep on the track to reach a gate into Arncliffe Wood. Turn right up a path which is now shared by the Coast-to-Coast Walk. The Coast-to-Coast shares the Cleveland Way all the way to Clay Bank Top and also along part of the next section to Bloworth Crossing.
Continue along the inside of the wood, following a drystone wall over the crest of a hill. Pass the BT Booster Station on Beacon Hill as well as a Trig Point marking the summit on the right at 299 meters. Follow the path to reach a couple of gates which lead onto Scarth Wood Moor.
Scarth Nick to Husthwaite Green
A clear paved path runs down the moorland to meet a minor road at Scarth Nick. Turn left onto the road and cross a cattle grid and then turn right onto a woodland track. Turn left at the fork near the Bill Cowley commemorative stone (Bill Cowley devised the Lyke Wake Walk across the moors from Osmotherly to Ravenscar). Just off the track here is a small picnic area. Somebody has very thoroughly placed lots of bird feeders here and if you sit quietly you’ll see all manner of woodland birds (Blue Tit, Siskin, Robin…)
Much of the upland path across the rest of this section is flagged with Yorkshire Stone. This has been necessary to stop the erosion of the moorland. The stretch of Moorland from here to Bloworth Crossing is used for three long-distance walks (Cleveland Way, Coast-to-Coast and Lyke Wake Walk), so as you can imagine the footfall is very high.
Continue on the track down a long flight of steps. Turn right at the bottom to stay inside the wood. The wood is a mixture of natural woodland and plantation. The natural woodland is full of large old oak trees and is carpeted with bluebells in the spring. Look out for a track on the left which crosses a field. Follow the track across the field where there is a ford and footbridge over a river.
Turn left to follow the road across the river and into Scugdale. Follow the road up to a T-junction in the small hamlet of Huthwaite Green.
Huthwaite Green to Lordstones
From Huthwaite Green, the Cleveland Way is signposted by a gate which leads onto a path through some woodland. From here to Clay Bank Top the path climbs a series of moors often separated from the next by steep-sided valleys.
Climbing away from Huthwaite Green you pass on the left-hand side a number of ironstone spoil heaps, a reminder of the industrial past of this area. Pass these and turn sharp right to climb a steep path through the woods and continue climbing onto a paved moorland path to reach the summit of Live Moor. From here the views open up, across the plains to Teeside, west towards the Pennines and across the North Yorkshire Moors.
Continue along the moorland path down a small dip and then climb to reach Holey Moor. On the right-hand side is an old Bronze Age barrow which by my reckoning is over 4,000 years old. The path continues to a Trig Point and Standing Stone on Carlton Moor. From here follow the paved path down towards Carlton Bank. Cross the road to reach Lordstones Country Park where there is a cafe and toilets.
Lordstones to Clay Bank Top
Leave Lordstones across the grass common. If you detour to the left across the common there is a stone circle. This looks very authentic but it is actually a recent construction by the Country Park owners. Continue along the Cleveland Way on the track running between a stone wall and a fence.
Just before starting along this section, there is another track on the left. This is the Old Miners Track, a low-level route along the hillsides and then through the plantations below Hasty Bank. This will get you to Clay Bank and is much less exposed and could be used as an alternative route in bad weather.
From Lordstones the Cleveland Way continues up to Cringle End on a paved path. At the top is a viewpoint and seat dedicated to local rambler Alex Falconer. Alec Falconer was a founder member of the Middlesbrough Rambling Club who actively campaigned for the opening of the Cleveland Way. He sadly died a year before the National Trail was officially opened. The path continues past this, still climbing along the top of Cringle Moor which reaches a height of 420 meters. A steep stone path descends from the moor to reach a gap. Keep right at the fork and follow the steep, paved path up to the top of Cold Moor which is 401 meters high. The path drops down again to a grassy gap. It climbs once more, this time to the lefthand side of the Wainstones.
The Wainstones are a large outcrop of large sandstone rocks. They are a popular spot for rock climbers, photographers and hikers, and offer some stunning views of the surrounding countryside. To the north is the Cleveland Plain and Teeside, in complete contrast the southern view is over towards Bilsdale which is flanked by the highest points of the moors.
A little bit of scrambling is needed to get to the top of the Wainstones. It’s nothing too arduous, my dog managed it without too much bother. The path is now level and runs along the northern edge of Hasty Bank with yet more stunning views. At the end of Hasty Bank, there is a steep stepped path down to the end of the walk at Clay Bank Top.
Before descending take a moment or two to look across at the landscape in front of you. You should be able to pick out the path that leaves Clay Bank for the next section towards Kildale.
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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