The Osmotherley and Cod Beck Walk

This walk evokes a lot of childhood memories for this is the first area of upland moor I ever experienced. During my junior schooldays I recall many a lovely weekend when my parents took me and my brothers up to the Osmotherley Moors near to Cod Beck Reservoir and let us roam free to explore the immediate surroundings. I never quite appreciated how much this countryside would have such an impact on me in later life. And so it was a pleasure to return to the first areas of exploration in the company of my brother Dave who after a spell of motive inability was starting out on walks with me in the countryside and onto the moors for the first time in four years. It was great to have him back in my company. It was a certainty we would enjoy the walk for many reasons and we were fortunate that the weather was on our side too. in fact everything went perfectly on the walk.

Google Maps Open Source Maps

Statistics and Files
Start: Osmotherley Distance: 5.3 miles (8.5 km) Climbing: 250 metres
Grid Ref: SE457972 Time: 2-3 hours Rating: Moderate
GPX Route File Google Earth File About Osmotherley
Start: Osmotherley Distance: 5.3 miles (8.5 km)
Grid Ref: SE457972 Time: 2-3 hours
Climbing: 250 metres Rating: Moderate
GPX Route File Google Earth File
Ordnance Survey Explorer Map (1:25,000)

The Walk:

The view south west from the top of Ruebury LaneThe view south west from the top of Ruebury Lane
A majestic Oak on the approach to Arncliffe WoodA majestic Oak on the approach to Arncliffe Wood

Dave was with me today, the first time just the two of us had done a walk together since Byland Abbey and Sutton Bank in August 2004. Looking back at that report tells a lot, the first time he had mentioned a pain in his leg and over four years later he was back to form after some work and solving the problem. It was an absolute pleasure to have him with me. As mentioned in the summary this area is well known to Dave and I but despite knowing the open moorland we both found new tracks and new views to captivate us. We were to enjoy the walk a lot. We started out by driving through Osmotherley and up the hill towards Cod Beck and parking up in a pull in lay-by near Ruebury Hill. We then set off by tracking back down the road to Ruebury Lane. Now we were off and on our way.

Arncliffe WoodArncliffe Wood
Emerging from Arncliffe Wood at Beacon HillEmerging from Arncliffe Wood at Beacon Hill

Ruebury Lane was the acid test for Dave as it involved a short sharp 20 metre climb to a lovely panoramic viewpoint which gave us great views of the Vale of Mowbray and across to the Yorkshire Dales including Penhill in Wensleydale 25 miles to the north west. We were lucky to have a clear dry day to allow us the full benefit of the views on offer. Anyway, back to Dave and he passed his first test admirably. Soon he was to prove he was back for after a short level track north along the Cleveland Way we entered Arncliffe Wood. This was the start of a 85 metre ascent to Beacon Hill. We both huffed and puffed our way up through the wood but we did it easy. No doubt now, Dave was back.

Looking over the Vale of MowbrayLooking over the Vale of Mowbray
Scarth Wood MoorScarth Wood Moor

Apart from the walk Dave was also filming the experience of the day. He enjoyed capturing the sights and sounds he was in the midst of. I too took moving film as well of the still photographs, some of which I trust you're enjoying with this report. The trees were the stars of this experience for the last autumn colour was brilliant. Even the evergreens change colour adding their own nuance to the spectacle of the English fall. There is none better. Onward with walking and we dropped down off Beacon Hill by tracking down the edge of Scarth Wood Moor to Cod Beck near the source (northern) end of Cod Beck Reservoir. We had been lone walkers apart from the occasional small group. Now at Cod Beck we were with the population. Families profligate in this area as they play in and around tranquil Cod Beck.

Cod BeckCod Beck
Cod Beck ReservoirCod Beck Reservoir

We soon cleared the families as we walked to the fringe of Cod Beck Reservoir. Here we stopped for a quick bite and a drink. It was not the best spot to stop though as the reservoir funnelled the wind right through our stopping point. It was a little bracing at times but the food and drink won over - I was not upping until I had finished my fayre. And when we had refuelled we were gratified by the sun popping out from the clouds streaming in from the south west. We were on a typical autumnal sun and cloud walk but all the better for having no rain. In fact as we walked to the south end of the reservoir the clouds parted and we were to be blessed with the best of the days sunshine right through to the end of our walk. On reaching the dam end of Cod Beck we ventured back into woodland.

Looking back to Scarth Wood MoorLooking back to Scarth Wood Moor
Woodland near Cod Beck ReservoirWoodland near Cod Beck Reservoir

The walk thorough the woodland was sometimes firm and sometimes a little squelchy but we prospered without getting too blathered. Dave noticed I had collected more mud than he had, it must have been the lackadaisical way I clomped through the wet bits. I was a little tired as befits the man who had just had a good night out. Dave had stayed in. The woodland also led us on a short 30 metre climb to Green Lane.... or not so Green Lane as in parts it was a muddy track. However to its credit Green Lane afforded us more spectacular views especially as we looked down to the splendid rooftops of Osmotherley. We walked on Green Lane for over a kilometer before cutting west to Whitehouse Farm which we detoured before dropping down to a stream with a footbridge at Middlestye Bank. We then hauled ourselves up some steep steps which elevated us 30 metres in no time. Hang on I will catch my breath.

A perished Hawthorn hedgerowA perished Hawthorn hedgerow

After our steep ascent out of Middlestye we crossed a delightful pasture to reach Osmotherley. The walk into the village was along yards close to quaint cottages and then finally through a tunnelled yard to emerge near the village centre. And were we blessed on our arrival in the village for it was sunny and warm. Dave spotted a cafe and headed for it where he treated me to a lovely al fresco coffee. While we enjoyed our welcome drink we chortled as the house next to the cafe was guarded by a family of hens - ruling the roost so to speak. We also enjoyed looking around the sights of the village we knew well. It was a great moment in a memorable days walking. Dave and I then headed up the hill and back to the car celebrating a great time out walking together. As we changed at the car it began to rain. Dave summed it up appropriately by saying "It was meant to be". Classic.

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