Walk 1464 - printer friendly version
Blue Bank & Sleights Moor Walk
Author - Andy Chaplin
Length - 7.8 miles / 12.6 km
Ascent - 950 feet / 288 metres
Grade - easy/mod
Start - OS grid reference NZ868058
Lat 54.440207 + Long -0.66316002
Postcode YO22 5EX (approx. location only)
This North York Moors walk takes in the views along the Esk Valley from Whitby to Grosmont, the Murk Esk valley towards Goathland and Iburndale back towards Sleights. It starts from probably the best parking place for miles around - at the top of Blue Bank at grid ref. NZ868058. The lack of well-maintained paths from here suggests the two car-parks are provided to take in the view towards Whitby and the coast - or to check your brakes before hurtling down Blue Bank.
From the car parks cross the A169 and go through the gate into the old quarry opposite. There are still some quarrying vehicles around so take care for the first 100 metres or so. The official path starts a little south - down the road at a stile - but it quickly crosses back into to the old quarry workings - so take your pick.
The path is not well defined over the old, grassed spoil heaps but becomes a moors track as it gets to the boundary wall on your right from where it heads towards another of the new Esk valley beacons. There are good views from here into the Esk valley and you may see steam trains running on the main line track between Whitby and Grosmont on some summer weekends when the NYMR extends their service from the preserved Pickering-Grosmont line.
Towards the end of Lowther's Crag the path becomes a track going into another quarry or stone masons area to reach a road (grid ref. NZ845050). Cross the road and continue along the edge of the moor towards Greenlands Farm. Before you reach the farm the route descends to Spa Hill Slack where you cross the stream before climbing up through ferns to reach Greenlands Farm.
Continue on around Arundel Hill to pick up the line of the old quarries on Whinstone Ridge at grid ref. NZ837035. You can take paths either in the old quarries or along the southern edge. Note that at the top of these quarries you will have a better view into the Murk Esk valley towards Goathland where the crushing plant for the whinstone from the Sil Howe mine used to be.
Cross the A169 (grid ref. NZ855026) and continue in a straight line along the whinstone ridge towards the Newton House plantation. At grid ref. NZ860024 turn left along the path. However the old marked footpaths here seem to have become less used as there is a new track alongside the pylons. Follow this newer track northwards until you join a track at right-angles (grid ref. NZ863047), Turn right towards High Quebec Farm. As you approach the farm there is a sign directing you north (left) on a track towards Little Beck.
After half a kilometre, at another track crossroads (grid ref. NZ869047) you can look for the path straight-ahead (north) which will lead back uphill to the parking. However this path was not very clear in early 2014 and you need to use your map reading skills to reach the car park. Alternatively, turn right down the track towards Little Beck which will give you a chance to see some of this quite little valley. Watch out for traffic on the steep, narrow roads. At the end of the track take the road past Spring Farm and Goathland Banks before finding the short path off to the left (grid ref. NZ869057), just before the kennels, and cross fields, go under the pylons and fight your way through the bracken back to the car parks.