Farndale and Rudland Rigg

High-level thrills abound on this rugged ridge route. A favourite with mountain-bikers, it features a lengthy ride along Rudland Rigg, the watershed between Farndale and Bransdale. The leafy back lanes of Farndale make a soothing contrast. There are Temple Moore churches at two natural stopping points on the way.

  • Approximate distance: 13.5 miles
  • Approximate time: 4 hours
  • Terrain: Moderate to difficult
  • Maps: Ordnance Survey Explorer OL26 North York Moors Western Area
  • Start: Low Mill
  • Parking: Free car park at Low Mill
  • Temple Moore Trail locations: St Mary's, Church Houses; St Aidan's, Gillamoor
  • Refreshments: Pubs in Church Houses and Gillamoor
Farndale and Rudland Rigg

Directions

  1. Leave the car park in Low Mill and turn left. Go past a phone box and left at the junction. The lane leads down to a bridge over the River Dove and then heads uphill to a junction with Daleside Road. Take the lefthand turn. After a mile or so, the road climbs to a junction. Bear left down the hill following the sign to Church Houses. As the houses of the village draw in sight, look for St Mary's church behind the trees on your right.
  2. In Church Houses, bear left by the Feversham Arms, then follow the road round to the right. Soon you'll cross the River Dove again and begin to climb the western side of the dale. After a steady ascent, take a turning off to the right on a road signposted as a dead end. Pass the entrance to Monket House and take a track on your left leading up Monket House Bank. This is the moorland track that will take you all the way up onto the crest of Rudland Rigg, a climb of about a mile and a half.
  3. At the top the ground levels out and the track joins Westside Road, formerly the main route over the moors from Stokesley to Kirkbymoorside. For about the next 3 miles, things couldn't be simpler. Turn left and follow the top of the ridge south, with a panorama of the Vale of York in front of you and moorland all around.
  4. The track passes through an area of strange lunar craters, the remains of coal mines. Tracks lead away to the right and the left and an area of walled pasture opens up on your right. For a while the moorland closes around you again and the craters reappear. Once again tracks lead away to right and left and pasture appears on one side of you, but this time the track arrives at a junction with a narrow road. Go left and follow the road past fields and farms. At a fork, go left again. At length you'll arrive in Gillamoor. Turn left to find St Aidan's church (and the village pub!).
  5. From the church continue on the same road down Gillamoor Bank with the famous “Surprise View” on your right. Follow the road round to the right and then take a left turn up Farndale by a red post box. The road passes through trees and then climbs gradually over Harland Moor with a fine view across Farndale. Skirt a conifer plantation and begin to drop down the valley side. After a sharp bend to the right, freewheel gently downhill to Low Mill, turning left at the old chapel to return to the car park.

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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