Helmsley, Beck Dale and Carlton
A long but easygoing ramble through the rolling pastoral country to the north of Helmsley. With fields, woods, lovely views over Ryedale, and four Temple Moore buildings en route.
- Approximate distance: 9.5 miles
- Approximate time: 5 hours
- Terrain: Moderate - muddy in places
- Maps: Ordnance Survey Explorer OL26 North York Moors Western Area
- Start: All Saints', Helmsley
- Parking: Roadside parking and pay-and-display car park in Helmsley
- Temple Moore Trail locations: All Saints', Helmsley; Vicar Gray's vicarage; Helmsley town hall; St Aidan's, Carlton
- Refreshments: Pubs, teashops and restaurants in Helmsley
- Start at All Saints' church, which is at the northwest corner of Helmsley's market square. In the block of buildings over the road from the church is the town hall — not one of Temple Moore's most celebrated creations, but worth a look nonetheless.
- Take the path around the side of the church and leave from the rear of the churchyard. Go straight on up Canon's Garth Lane and take a left turn at the bend in the road by the cemetery. Shortly afterwards fork left on a stony track past bungalows.
- This track continues most of the way up Beck Dale. It passes a sawmill on the left and then leaves civilisation behind. When you reach a grassy clearing with a junction in the path, turn right as signposted. Pass through a pheasant enclosure and resume the path, subsequently fording the beck at three different points. Eventually the path leaves the company of the beck altogether and climbs the daleside — look out for a signpost. Turn left at another signpost a bit further on. Ignore an inviting-looking grassy track, instead taking a narrow path up through conifer trees. The going soon levels out along the top of a wooded escarpment, with occasional glimpses of the beck far below.
- Turn right along a track, then quickly right again through a gate, followed by a left alongside a field. Go through a gate and walk along the edge of another field. Cross a stile and turn right, then left alongside a field, before arriving at a road.
- Turn right and tramp the tarmac for a short spell before finding a footpath on your left. It leads down into the wooded depths of Ashdale, climbing up the other side on a clearly signposted track called Keld Lane. Leave the trees and walk alongside a couple of fields before reaching a road. The village of Carlton is about 50 yards to your right, and Temple Moore's first solo commission, St Aidan's, is on the lefthand side of the road.
- Retrace your steps from Carlton and follow the road for about half a mile. A bridleway leaves the road on your right, heading down into the woods of Riccal Dale. Keep to the bridleway when it leaves the track at a bend and carry on downhill through the trees. At the next junction turn right along a clear track. Take the next left fork on the lower of two tracks, labelled on the map as Low Tun Way.
- Stay on this track, keeping right at another fork. Soon you'll reach the brow of the daleside. Turn left along the edge of the trees. After a couple of fields, pass between the abandoned buildings of Rea Garth Farm and keep going on the same line. At length the path bends round to the right and starts in the direction of Helmsley. Cross Monk Gardens Lane and skirt the familiarly named Reagarth Farm (presumably a successor to the abandoned farm you saw earlier).
- Go across the field to the southern end of Monk Holme Wood and continue to the far lefthand corner of the field. Bear left in the next field, again heading for the far lefthand corner. Exit into a long narrow field, keeping to the righthand edge. At the other end a path leads between houses and out onto Carlton Road. Turn left to arrive at a T-junction opposite a petrol station.
- Turn right along Bondgate. The road is lined on either side with picturesque stone cottages. Just before you come into the centre of Helmsley look to your right to see the vicarage Temple Moore designed for his patron Vicar Gray, set back from the road behind lawned gardens. It is now the main office of the North York Moors National Park Authority. Another 100 yards will bring you back into Helmsley's market square, where pubs, cafe's and teashops await you.
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A couple of recommendations from Lealholm residents for where to eat and drink in the village: The Board Inn with real ale and real fires - www.theboardinn.com Shepherds Hall tearooms too- www.shepherdshalltearooms.co.uk