Urra Moor to Carlton Moor Circuit
A hike around the Cleveland Hills in the North York Moors which covers over 16 miles and 8 summits. These summits include Urra Moor, Carlton Moor and Cringle Moor.
Length: 16.45 miles
Start: Clay Bank
Area: North York Moors – Cleveland Hills
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Round Hill – (Height: 454m, Drop: 409m)
Noon Hill – (Height: 404m, Drop: 71m)
Wath Hill – (Height: 308m, Drop: 47m)
Carlton Moor – (Height: 408m, Drop: 122m)
Cringle Moor – (Height: 434m, Drop: 177m)
Cold Moor – (Height: 402m, Drop: 90m)
White Hill – (Height: 398m, Drop: 95m)
Other POI: Clay Bank Car Park, Carr Ridge, Urra Moor, Grouse Butts, Bilsdale Hall, Chop Gate, Cock Howe, Green Howe, Barker’s Ridge, Barker’s Crags, Mill Lane, Raisdale Mill, Raisdale Mill Plantation, Bilsdale West Moor, Kirby Bank, Wain Stones, Hasty Bank
This was only my second ever visit to the North York Moors – the first being a walk around Roseberry Topping and Great Ayton Moor last year. I had planned the route in advance and tried to include a few summits to tick off. I wasn’t sure what the ground conditions would be like up there on the moors. Would it be dry with well defined paths? Or would it be a wet bog trot like many walks on the moors of the Dark Peak. I predicted the latter as there’d been a bit of rain in the last week, and so kitted myself out in a pair of heavy, well waxed, leather boots and a pair of gaiters, along with my usual walking attire.
The walk started at the Clay Bank car park, just at the top of the hill. From there I followed the Cleveland Way footpath along Carr Ridge, south-east onto Urra Moor. Eventually, the trig point at Round Hill was reached for the first summit of the day. From here, I back-tracked a little then followed a track roughly westwards back across Urra Moor and a row of Grouse Butts before descending at Medd Crag. The route continued past Bilsdsale Hall towards Seave Green where I rejoined the B1257 and walked south along the road as far as Chop Gate.
As tedious as road walking is, it didn’t last too long. From the car park at Chop Gate, I followed the footpath directly up the steep Trennet Bank using an old sunken track. It wasn’t long before I was at the Cock Howe boundary stone on Wether Hill. I continued past this until I reached a well defined track, which I then followed north-west for a short distance until I reached another boundary stone at Green Howe, which also happened to mark the spot of the second summit of the day – Noon Hill. The route continued north-west along Barkers Ridge where I stopped for a short while to admire the stunning view looking west over Scugdale. I continued as far as Barker’s Crags, where the path veered to the right and descended between forested areas towards Raisdale Mill via a sunken tree-lined path called Mill Lane. I would be returning back up on the other side of Barker’s Crags shortly but needed to make this short detour in order to grab the third summit of the day on Wath Hill.
It’s probably worth noting at this point that my prediction of boggy moorland was completely wrong. Everything was bone dry and the tracks all made for some very easy and fast paced walking. My boots and gaiters were starting to feel a little over the top and, in hindsight, I’d have been absolutely fine so far in a simple pair of approach shoes.
Wath Hill is only a small hill but it’s worth climbing as it makes a great viewpoint to see the surrounding moors and hills. Cringle Moor is directly ahead to the north, Cold Moor to the east, and Bilsdale West Moor to the west. Once I’d spent a bit of time admiring the scenery from the summit, I retraced my steps back to the foot of the hill and made my way back up Bilsdale West Moor, eventually arriving back at the track just north of Barker’s Crags.
From here, it was north to Carlton Moor and to the fourth summit of the day at its trig point. The weather had gradually improved throughout the day and the clouds of earlier had given way to a beautiful sunny blue sky. For those that enjoy great viewpoints, this next section would probably be the highlight of the walk as, from this point onwards, it followed the northern edge of the Cleveland Hills all the way back to the Clay Bank car park. For the whole length, there were amazing views on offer looking northwards – with Roseberry Topping always visible in the distance. The path along here was also very good as it forms a section of the Cleveland Way long distance footpath. In fact, the paths throughout the whole walk were very good. Perhaps a little too good. I’m used to navigating my way through peat bogs in the Dark Peak and the walking here felt almost too easy in comparison. From Carlton Moor, I descended and then immediately started ascending again up to Cringle Moor. I took a slight detour once I arrived at the viewpoint on the edge so that I could bag the official summit at Drake Howe – the fifth of the day.
The path continued up and over the various moors along the edge. After a walk along Kirby Bank, it was another descent and ascent – this time up to Cold Moor (the sixth summit). More of the same followed, all whilst enjoying the fantastic views to my left. After the descent from Cold Moor, it was time for the final ascent of the day via a very minor scramble through the crags known as the Wainstones, and up to the seventh and final summit of the day on White Hill. All that remained was the final walk downhill back to Clay Bank and the car.
A pretty straight-forward walk all in all, but certainly not lacking in magnificent views and scenery. I look forward to another outing here again sometime in the not to distant future.
Walk completed on 15th April, 2017
Map and Elevation Data: