Thursday 4th July 2019
Route Broxa, Lowdales Farm, Haggland Wood, Silpho, Binkleys Farm, Thirsley Cottage, Northfield Wood, Thirsley Bottoms, Cross Dales, Greengate Wood, Walker Flat Wood, Wrench Green, Everley, Wrench Green, River Derwent, Mill Farm, Red House, Hackness Head, Chapman Banks Wood, Hackness Head Wood, Hollgate Plantation, Broxa (8 miles).
Members John K, Paul, Chris, Stu, Paul ‘Sherlock’ Holmes, Keith, Col.
It’s been a year or three or more since we’ve started a walk in the tiny village of Broxa which is more to do with a lack of suitable watering holes in the area rather than anything else. Our drive in took us along Forge Valley towards Hackness before heading off up Lang Dale then climbing the steep lane to the village.
It had been a steady ride north with no hold ups of any significance although Stu diverted off to Driffield to pick up Col but we met up again at the car park at the top of Staxton Hill. The bacon butty man seems to have abandoned his pitch at this location having given up waiting for us to call in and boost his takings. Well before nine o’clock we were parked up in Broxa and ready for the off. Before leaving though it was Chris’ turn to lather on the sun cream and he ended up looking like one of the zombies from The Walking Dead.
We took the farm track that more or less runs due east out of the village but after a short distance we struck off along one of the more adventurous routes that the North Yorkshire Moors has to offer. The route runs along the northern edge of Hollgate Plantation from just beyond Broxa Farm to the narrow lane that runs alongside Lowdales Beck. This miniature hidden valley drops steeply down in places and could adequately be described as an insect and nettle infested hell hole, and that’s only the good bits.
Among the fallen trees, slippery rocks, hidden holes in the ground and undergrowth that seems to devour everything within its reach lies an ancient pathway. It doubles as a stream in places but thankfully not today although it’s muddy legacy remains. Even the sun was struggling to break through the gloom below the green canopy above as we gingerly negotiated all manner of hazards just waiting to befall the unwary walker. But just as all hope of escaping the clutches of this green hell began to vanish we suddenly burst out into the sunlight. And what lies at the bottom of this so called track?…a sign proclaiming ‘No Vehicle Access’. A stronger case of stating the obvious you’d be hard pushed to find.
Once dusted off and after a quick head count to make sure we were all present and correct it was upwards and onwards although more of the former than the latter. Once past Lowdales Farm we took the track that steadily climbs up, and up, and up until all thoughts of the previous track was banished from our fevered brows as we steadily made our way through Haggland Wood and onwards to Silpho where we took a well earned break.
Suitably refreshed we continued onwards towards Thirsley Farm with the plan being to drop down to Cross Dales via Thirsley Wood. However Paul somehow convinced the group there was a much more interesting route down a steep sided valley which he recalled walking on only one other occasion in the dim and distant past. On arriving at the head of this mini valley it didn’t look very promising as the way through was barred by all manner of stinging greenary but we quickly located some wooden steps among the undergrowth which gave us access to the path below. Once in the valley bottom its depth and steep rocky sides meant it’s only lit by the mid summer sun in odd places so there was very little undergrowth to plough through. Mind you there were plenty of rocks and boulders plus odd branches that had fallen from the trees above the valley to negotiate. But this twisting winding path in the gloomy dank valley bottom certainly qualifies as a magical route.
So, two interesting valleys and we haven’t even got to the pub yet! Before crossing the quiet road which winds through Cross Dales we had to carefully stride over the electric fence that some kind land owner has thought necessary to provide at either side of the road probably to deter car drivers from parking on the grass verges. We even had a bloke in a 4×4 stop to tell us the fence was live although whether this was just a friendly warning or an attempt to discourage us from daring to step over the fence we weren’t sure. We ignored his advice anyway and carried on regardless.
This was followed by another climb up through Greengate Wood and alongside Walker Flat Wood with the grand looking Hackness Hall with its adjacent glistening lake below us. Eventually though we hit tarmac and followed the lane to our half way point at what these days is called The Everley Country House Cafe. There was a time a few years ago when this establishment was just known as The Everley which was an excellent pub much favoured by the FAC and visited on many occasions. Sadly it closed and remained so for a couple of years until reopening as a hotel and tea room.
After putting it off for a year or two we decided to pay a visit to the re-branded Everley where the only ale on offer was bottled although that’s better than no beer at all. Those of our group who opted for hot drinks were rewarded with large tea pots and ample size cups. So all in all quite a pleasant experience which allows us once more to visit a fine walking area we’ve tended to neglect of late.
From The Everley we back tracked down the lane to Wrench Green then followed the path alongside the River Derwent rejoining the lane to Hackness. We struck off on a forestry track up to Hackness Head which got steadily steeper with each step and became what our former leader Bob used to call ‘a snorter’ of a climb. Our perspiring group got well spread out as we struggled upwards although Col had Peggy Lee for company for part of the way after showing Chris the musical capabilities of his new phone and then being unable to turn it off.
The route eventually levelled out and we found a nice grassy bank to rest awhile before the starting the last leg of today’s walk alongside Hackness Head Wood. As we got close to Broxa Farm we crossed a field which contained a herd of cows quietly grazing at the opposite side to us. Of course once they spotted us in ‘their field’ they instinctively knew we were heading towards the gate so they meandered over that way as well…so who would get there first? us or them. Well we did, but only just.
What the walk lacked in mileage it more than made up for in ups and downs in what is an outstanding area to visit. But as we struggled up yet another endless climb wondering if we’d ever reach the top one tune was ringing in our ears…
Never know how much I love you
Never know how much I care
When you put your arms around me
I get a fever that’s so hard to bear
You give me fever when you kiss me
Fever when you hold me tight
Fever in the mornin’
Fever all through the night
ON THIS DAY
2nd July 2009 – Scamblesby to Tetford.
Chris, Paul, Col H, Paul Craggs, Keith, Sherlock, Stu, Bob, Jack Rhoades, Ray & Dudley.
On a hot day in Lincolnshire Keith was suffering with an aching foot. Even after accepting some of Doctor Bob’s pain killers his limp didn’t get any better leading Jack to enquire if he’d put the tablets in his boot instead of swallowing them. Keith claimed that a couple of pints might ease his discomfort which turned out to be only partly true as his previous dodgy foot was now miraculously cured but he was noted limping with his other foot.
6th July 1994 – Elm House to The Sun Inn.
Bob, Jacko, Ray, Chris, Nathan & Paul.
Plenty of heather bashing on what FAC scribe Jacko noted as a longish, toughish walk. During the afternoon we were confronted by a gamekeeper enquiring as to why we’d strayed from the official path but silver tongued Bob soon talked his way out of the situation and His Lordship’s lackey was sent on his way tugging his forelock.
12th July 1979 – Locker Wood to Osmotherly
Bob, Jacko & Alf.
No incidents noted.