Nether Silton, Thimbleby Moor, Black Hambleton and Kepwick Moor

This walk is in the Hambleton Hills on the far western edge of the North York Moors National Park and it is a true delight. The main feature of the walk is the heather moorland typical of the park as Black Hambleton is a blanket of heather, best seen in August. This walk was in late September and a few remaining blooms were to be enjoyed. A week or two earlier it would have been utterly glorious.

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Statistics and Files
Start: Nether Silton Distance: 8 miles (12.9 km) Climbing: 364 metres
Grid Ref: SE456923 Time: 4 hours Rating: Moderate
GPX Route File Google Earth File About Nether Silton
Start: Nether Silton Distance: 8 miles (12.9 km)
Grid Ref: SE456923 Time: 4 hours
Climbing: 364 metres Rating: Moderate
GPX Route File Google Earth File
Ordnance Survey Explorer Map (1:25,000)

The Walk:

Moor Lane, Nether SiltonMoor Lane, Nether Silton
Black Hambleton as seen from Moor LaneBlack Hambleton as seen from Moor Lane

This was a good day out. A few months earlier Lil and I had walked for the first time with Leena from Harrogate who we had met through her contacting the website. We had such fun on the first meeting that we decided to meet for walks every now and then. This was one occasion when diaries did not clash so after picking Leena up we drove to Nether Silton near Thirsk on the edge of the North York Moors for a walk onto Black Hambleton. Why?, because it was one of those hills I had walked in my youth but one I had never captured on camera and because I wanted the ladies to enjoy a lovely walk of a decent length in delightful late September sunshine. So I had all the ingredients for my 'walking cake' and once parked up we were off cooking in the heat of the day.

The road narrows on the approach to Silton ForestThe road narrows on the approach to Silton Forest
Leena and Lil frolic in Silton ForestLeena and Lil frolic in Silton Forest

The first stage of the walk involves walking gently along Moor Lane for about a mile and then after reaching Silton Forest huffing and puffing up the forest track past Swinestone Cliff to Black Hill on the southern flank of Thimbleby Moor. The walk though the forest was interesting with lots of trees felled by recent storms sparking conversation as to why conifers don't dig their roots a little deeper and therefore give themselves a better chance of withstanding a buffeting. Some groups of trees had fallen and taken others down in a typical domino effect cascade. Others had singularly succumbed to the elements. However, many still stood and birds whistled and whirred in the tree canopy to provide us with a birdsong passage though the forest.

On the Cleveland Way near Black HambletonOn the Cleveland Way near Black Hambleton
The trig point on Black HambletonThe trig point on Black Hambleton

Once out of the forest near to Square Corner we were delighted by wide vista views of the immediate countryside with Osmotherley to the north and the row of distinctive Cleveland Hills to the north and east including many old friends like Gold Hill, Cringle Moor and Wainstones. We rested for a while to have a quick snack and take in the view. While doing so Leena solved IT problems for colleagues as she was on call and also pointed out where the needle and thread were. Presumably for her daughter. Meanwhile Lil was distracted from eating by a noise emanating from the food bag. It turned out that a very large Bumble Bee had ventured in amongst the sandwiches and pork pie! She extricated it safely and sent it on its way to a thistle. After the assistance and scoffing we then began the climb to Black Hambleton.

White Gill HeadWhite Gill Head
Descending from the moor to Nab FarmDescending from the moor to Nab Farm

The next mile involved 120 metres of climbing to the summit of Black Hambleton. The climb was mainly easy along the broad Hambleton Drove Road with a few puffing breaks to catch the breath and look at the higgledy piggedly stone walling to our right which sparked Leena and Lil into conversation about the unevenness of them all. The final section required us to leave the Drove Road and indeed the Cleveland Way to reach the trig point. Leena joined me on the detour to the top while Lil took a break awaiting our return. She did not wait long, it was only 200 metres there and 200 metres back. The next two miles of walking were simply superb along the drove road on high level ground past White Gill Head to the point we headed down off the moor near Dunsforth's Point. During the high section we stopped for lunch in one of the old disused quarries. It was a lovely spot to stop and enjoy our tuck.

Lovely scenery on the edge of the moorsLovely scenery on the edge of the moors
A line of trees disclose White Gill BeckA line of trees disclose White Gill Beck

The walk along the top of the moor had been thoroughly delightful. The weather was sublime and the company enchanting. Surely the best was over but no, not a bit of it. The descent down the cut of White Gill to Nab Farm was great. The views front, left and right were brilliant as were the looks back to the moor. The dry stone walls gave remarkable contrast and the trees below welcomed us down. We even saw a flock of sheep with red horns (yes, I did say red horns, probably painted red but who knows?) and I even had the girls dancing on the descent, they were loving it as much as I. We gambolled down to White Gill Beck and after fording the little trickle we walked past Nab Farm but not before conceding to a strutting male pheasant in his beautiful autumn colour. The show off!!

The Nab near Nether SiltonThe Nab near Nether Silton
Beautiful countryside in HambletonBeautiful countryside in Hambleton

After Nab Farm we passed the Nab itself, a lovely elevated copse of conifers were resplendent on its top. Then after a chat with a lady gardening at the cottage near the roadside we walked along Bridge Beck Lane back to Nether Silton. Soon into the road walk we came across a duck that was to provide entertainment to the end of the walk. It soon became apparent the duck was unable to fly. It looked very well and extremely fit because it walked for a whole mile in front of us all the way to Nether Silton. During its walk leading us to the village it tried to fly many times but to no avail. It was nearly airborne but sadly the left wing seemed to be the problem. However it arrived in the village safe and sound. Let's hope it is well now and enjoyed the walk into the village as much as we did. It would probably have enjoyed the moorland walking too! Anyhow, back to us and we finished off at the Gold Cup pub in Nether Silton. My pint was lovely, a great refresher after a great walk.

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