Hawnby, Easterside Hill, Hawnby Moor and Hawnby Hill

This walk which starts in the secluded and quaint village of Hawnby is delightful. From the village it takes you on a round of two of the most enchanting limestone tabular hills of the North York Moors. Rye Dale, Bilsdale, Hawnby Hill, Eastergate Hill are all magical as I am sure you will agree if you do this walk. Moreover with a decent bit of climbing there is a bit of work to be done but the rewarding views are more than worth the effort. A couple of things of note: Look out for the secluded All saint's Church in Hawnby village and when at height there is always the 314 metre tall Bilsdale TV Transmitter mast to be spotted due north on Bilsdale Moor.

Google Maps Open Source Maps

Statistics and Files
Start: Dalicar Bridge, Hawnby Distance: 5.0 miles (8.2 km) Climbing: 343 metres
Grid Ref: SE543898 Time: 2-3 hours Rating: Moderate
GPX Route File Google Earth File About Hawnby
Start: Dalicar Bridge, Hawnby Distance: 5.0 miles (8.2 km)
Grid Ref: SE543898 Time: 2-3 hours
Climbing: 343 metres Rating: Moderate
GPX Route File Google Earth File
Ordnance Survey Explorer Map (1:25,000)

The Walk:

Setting off from Hawnby VillageSetting off from Hawnby Village
Ladhill Gill, HawnbyLadhill Gill, Hawnby

This is a walk of thorough delight that can cause a bit of navigational strife. Never long, never hard but with a couple of short demanding climbs that are not the problem. It is the paths that start ever so well intentioned and ever so clear but then peter out into nothing, the paths that cause irreverent laughter from those who enjoy heckling the trail master, the ones who won't lead or hold the map, the one's who enjoy others misgivings. In the 1990's it was Steve and Dave, now it's the family Brockhurst! Seriously it's always in fun and it always seems to happen at the start of proceedings because often, as it was today we were all in a rush to get going and as a consequence I was spending more time arranging my clothes and gear than looking at the map as we scurried along the road and out of Hawnby village across fields on a marked trail at the start of the first family walk of 2009. If you look at the map you will see where it went wrong. We started well by walking from Dalicar Bridge along the road to Hawnby Bridge and we did take the right path towards Ladhill Gill which we duly found. However after crossing a foot bridge we lost the path and headed too far north instead of east and as a consequence arrived on Easterside Lane 350 metres from where we should have. This small error was to escalate over the next mile.

Walking through Banniscue WoodWalking through Banniscue Wood
High BanniscueHigh Banniscue

The intention had been to walk round the eastern flank of Easterside Hill as is shown on the map and accompanying route files. Instead the track we were now following took us into Banniscue Wood which we walked through and which turned out to be a delightful experience before emerging on the northern side at High Banniscue from where we tracked north on the north western flank of Easterside Hill to regain the track I had originally planned. My ears were burning from all the acerbic wit I had listened to hence far from my loving brothers! Oh well, we had not exactly done the right flank of Easterside Hill but we had done the other left flank and we were now back on course with a lovely journey ahead.

Crow Nest on the flank of Easterside HillCrow Nest on the flank of Easterside Hill
Enjoying the walkEnjoying the walk

On regaining our intended route we stopped for a short tuck break where sister in law Karen got out the Christmas Cake and Cheese - a booster for the rest of the walk which on resumption took us down to Crow Nest, a derelict old building in the most lovely spot, isolated yes but a great for solitaries. From Crow Nest we dropped down to a beck with a wooden bridge and from there we climbed through a scenic copsed area to Moor Gate which gave us a great view of Bilsdale TV Transmitter, three miles north and also our next goal, Hawnby Hill.

Moor Gate near Hawnby HillMoor Gate near Hawnby Hill
Approaching Hawnby HillApproaching Hawnby Hill

Hawnby Hill had been drawing my eyes throughout the entire walk. It is one of those hills that has a singular distinctive character, a classic ridge fin shape and contours that make it so unique. Not the biggest at only 298 metres high and surrounded by giant North York Moors it nevertheless sits proud in its own spot and with steep drops of 100 metres on all sides. It reminded me of Chrome Hill in the Peak District, another special junior hill with a tremendous form. The steepness of the climb to the top was not missed by my colleagues because as we approached from Moor Gate I heard comments like "We're not going up there are we?" and "That tracks a bit steep". It was with a final 50 metre haul in no time at all. Everyone put their heads down and made their way up.

Ascending Hawnby HillAscending Hawnby Hill
On the ridge of Hawnby HillOn the ridge of Hawnby Hill

The rush (or struggle) up on to the ridge was led by nephew Sean and his girlfriend Shannon from Canada with Chris, niece Emma's partner close behind them. Then after the young trailblazers Dave followed with me close behind. Ray, Karen and Emma made a more sedentary ascent but surely too and Karen raised her arms in euphoric triumph on reaching the top. The following ridge traverse was extremely enjoyable with exhilarating views to be seen in all directions. One pang was that I could see the sun shine that had so far eluded us was just about to break through, darn it! Still a little sunshine at the end of the walk is better than none at all and when it came out as we descended off Hawnby Hill into Hawnby village it was genuinely welcomed.

Well done, let's go for a pintWell done, let's go for a pint
A view from Hawnby HillA view from Hawnby Hill

The walk had been fun, I had been in brilliant family company, we had gone off track (but not lost), walked through exquisite woodland, on low moor and copse and then ascended a classic hill before dropping back into a quaint North Yorkshire village. What next to cap the walk I thought was to treat the group to a drink and so we stopped off at the Inn in Hawnby. At the inn I was pleasantly served by mine host and we all enjoyed a drink, mine being a lovely pint of Timothy Taylor's Landlord. Moreover during the drink which we enjoyed in the pub garden outside the sunshine warmed us all. Fittingly I thought.

The church at Dalicar BridgeThe church at Dalicar Bridge
Hawnby HillHawnby Hill

After drinks we resumed the walk and followed the road fro the village to All Saint's Church at Dalicar Bridge. The church, as in most Yorkshire hamlets is typically small in stature but huge in character. In sight of the church we returned to our cars and said our goodbyes for Dave and I were heading back to Harrogate and the rest of the family to Northallerton. On the drive back out of Hawnby Dave and I stopped near the rock climbing point on Peak Scar Road to take pictures of the now sun soaked Hawnby Hill and Easterside Hill.

Postscript: Next time I will read the map more thoroughly before I set off!!

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