And just beyond it lie two lovely sequences of stepping stones. But I’m getting ahead of myself! My walk today is for the physically fit among you but, if you like, I’ll do the hard part and you can join in on the flat. How does that sound?
We begin at the Beggar’s Bridge, just outside the village of Glaisdale, on the River Esk. It was my intention to walk you up into the village for a look around, but one of us had the good idea to follow the river in the direction of Egton Bridge. It looked fine on the map, so who was I to argue?
Beggar’s Bridge has a tale to tell. An inscription on the bridge suggests that it was built in 1619. Thomas Ferries, the son of a moorland farmer, used to ford the River Esk to court his young lady, Agnes. The lady’s father did not consider him a suitable match for his daughter, so Thomas resolved to seek his fortune at sea. With the river in spate, he was sadly unable to cross over to kiss his sweetheart goodbye. Returning a wealthy man, Thomas of course married his Agnes, and, quite naturally, built a bridge on the very spot.
‘A tale of trods and bridges’. Wouldn’t that have made a great post title? I’m tempted to change it, but I’m already well into my stride. In an uphill direction, unfortunately! This is no path that idles beside the river. I should have been warned when I saw this stone.
Part of this walk follows an ancient pathway, paved with stone slabs, know as ‘trods’. They are common throughout the York Moors National Park, and the oldest date back to medieval times, when monks traveled extensively hereabouts. The path I am taking, through East Arncliffe Wood, is known locally as ‘Monk’s Trod’. Those monks must have had much stronger legs than me!
Up I trod, thanking my lucky stars that there hadn’t been much rain to render the trods slippy. Ferns tickle my calves and a hint of honeysuckle tickles my nose. In no time at all the river is far below, and I am surrounded by dense green.
Beyond the trods the path continues to wind and dip through the woods. I can hear the whine and clunk of loggers, striving to keep the forest in check. Just as I am starting to tire, the woods part and I am out on a country lane. I can’t say I’m sorry. It’s now just a case of rolling down into the village of Egton Bridge, past another ford, and a cottage or two. A good time to join me!
You know what happens next, don’t you? The highlight of the walk for me. I didn’t even know that there were stepping stones at Egton Bridge, but my good friend Jude remarked that she had stayed there when her boys were small. She remembered some stepping stones, but thought they might have been the ones I featured in my Lealholm walk. To my great delight, I found not just one set of stepping stones, but two.
After a wander around the pretty village, I’m beckoned by the sunny benches outside the Horseshoe Hotel. It seems like a good time to pause for food, before tackling the route back to Glaisdale. There’s a Specials board beside the bar, and the sandwiches come with wonderful homemade wedges. The river chatters along in the background.
Before leaving Egton Bridge, I’m drawn to the garden at St. Hedda’s Church, and the memorial shrine to Father Nicholas Postgate. A Catholic priest, he was executed at York in 1679 for his work in the priesthood, on the Moors.
Then I’m happy to retrace my path over the stepping stones, and follow the River Esk out of the village. The beatific scene lulls me into a false sense of security. A vintage car tootles past. I fail to realise that an uphill clamber lies ahead.
A well disguised footpath leads off to the left, almost at the top of the bank, and steeply up to a stile. Through the woods, there’s a field or two to cross, but then it’s all downhill.
Details of my walk can be found on this link which includes a free downloadable map. It’s a 5 mile circular and you’ll be just in time for the Gooseberry Show at Egton Bridge if you hurry. It takes place on the first Tuesday in August every year.
I hope you enjoyed the walk (especially my uphill bits), and that you’ll stay for coffee and a read.
Many thanks for all your support. Last week was a bumper week for shares, but it’s a little less strenuous this week. I’d love you to join me, whenever you feel like taking a stroll. Details are on the logo above and my Jo’s Monday walk page. Feet up, and here we go!
Sample the delights of Corsica with Drake. I wish I could!
Getting one of your 5 ‘e’s or a little exercise? Many thanks, Anabel!
The foodies among you will LOVE this one from Junk Boat Travels :
Share Elisa’s delicious flower photography. What a privilege! Healthy too!
You all know Jude’s an advocate for Cornwall. Have a look and see why:
Boats, reflections, blue sky… you have to know I’m in heaven with this one. Thanks, Ruth!
And if, as here, it’s raining and you have time on your hands, why not join the folks at Monday Escapes? I met some lovely people there last week. Happy walking all! See you next week.