Jo’s Monday walk : Rosedale, sheep and heather


The North York Moors are all about the sheep!  They have a very important role to play in managing these moors.  In late summer, plum and purple swathes of heather swaddle the moorland.  Cocooned in this bounty, red grouse nest, feeding their young on juicy shoots of heather.  For centuries sheep grazing has been the traditional way of keeping the heather short and encouraging new growth. Without the heather, highly invasive bracken would take over, destroying the habitat.

I love the wildness of the Moors and can’t get enough of them in their rose-hued mantle. The weather up there has a mind of its own, and I was a little disappointed to leave sunshine at home and descend into Rosedale in gloom.  Nothing for it but to hope that the rain kept off.

The calves were feeling frisky, the field of sweetcorn swayed in the breeze, and at the camp site someone had the kettle ready.  As luck would have it, the wind eventually swept away the clouds, but you can never be quite sure.

The walk starts beside Sycamore Farm, just before the village of Rosedale Abbey.  A track leads downhill and over a stream.  Crossing a field, Blakey Ridge looms ahead.  Don’t worry!  I don’t expect you to climb to the heights.  Instead, turn right to follow a lane through the tiny hamlet of Thorgill.


Suddenly the sun peeps out, and what could be more tempting than this flight of steps?  My husband shakes his head.  The sign says Farndale, and that means up and over the top.  I can’t resist just a quick look at the tumble of cottages.  And a plum tree, alone in a field.

Over the top?  Maybe another day.  For now it’s gently upwards through Rosedale’s peaceful valley.  And look how blue the sky has become!

Looking over the drystone wall, I spotted some Rosebay Willowherb.  A fancy name for a wildflower.  You probably don’t remember but there was a big clump of it in my last walk. Badfish asked me jokingly if you could smoke it.  His latest post reveals a much more serious side. Don’t miss it!

Such a rural landscape and yet there are still traces of an industrial past.  If you look into the distance you can see the dramatic remains of the East Mines, and the colour of the water in the River Seven might give you a clue what was mined there.


Rosedale East Mines opened in 1865.  Visible today are the remains of the calcining kilns, where ironstone was roasted to eliminate impurities and reduce its weight.  The iron ore was taken by rail from Rosedale over the moorland to Ingleby, where it was lowered down the northern edge of the moors by tramway on the 1-in-5 gradient Ingleby Incline.  It would have been anything but peaceful as up to 15 wagons at a time were steam hauled around the top of the valley.

It was brutally hard work in the mines.  It has been described as a ‘regular slaughter place’ where ‘both men and horses are getting killed and lamed every day’.  Despite this the mines continued in operation until the General Strike of 1926.

These days the silence is only broken by birdsong, cows lowing and the occasional growl of a tractor.  The farm with an idyllic view had a runaway mother hen as I passed by.  She clucked anxiously back and forth, trying to chivvy her offspring back through the fence.  I watched at a discreet distance till I was sure all were safe, before heading past the former miner’s cottages and back to my start point.

The village of Rosedale Abbey is barely a mile down the road.  It was named for a Cistercian Priory, founded in 1158, of which only a fragment remains today.  The main attraction is the village green, and a choice of two cafes or a pub.  I can highly recommend Graze on the Green.  One of the best scones I’ve ever eaten. (and you know I’ve had my share!)

Nutrition accomplished, it’s time to go and seek out some of that glorious heather.  The road back across the moors dips and twirls, offering up breathtaking views as you crest Blakey Ridge.   ‘Pull in, pull in!’ I admonished the partner, careless of what might be behind us on the narrow road.

Some of you know what happens next.  The edges of the moors road have a little ditch where the rain drains off.  Out I leapt and straight into a ditch, with a sickening jar to my ankle.  Why do these things happen to me?  Careless, that’s why!  It was some minutes before I could take the desired photos, but here they are.  The sheep never even blinked.

I’m still a bit of a hop-along but I’m getting there.  So glad you could join me.  The Rosedale Abbey website offers a wealth of helpful details, and I even noted a ‘Tea Shop walk’.  Sound promising?

walking logo

Huge thanks to everybody for offering up your walks to share, and for ambling along on mine.  I love your company.  If you’d like to join me, details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  Just click on the logo.  Settle in now for a good read!


Inspiration must surely be Drake’s middle name :

Whence inspiration arises

Food, fun and frolics in Canada, with Jackie :

Let’s Go to The EX!

If you’re still hungry, head on over to Violet’s place :


Nothing I like more than a touch of Capability Brown!  And fuzzy sheep!  Thanks, Elaine :

Charlecote Park

A lovely old house and a sculpture trail sounds good to me.  BiTi will show you round :

Ballymaloe House- Part 1 

A Yorkshireman in NZ has found a place that looks like home.  Please go and say hi?

Pineapple Track, Dunedin

My favourite early riser takes us for a twirl by the Wisła.  Thanks, Meg.  You’re always a joy to accompany :

Vignettes from a morning walk, 8

Random, but comprehensive!  That’s Prague through Cardinal’s lens :

A Walk Through Praha

From Italy next I’d like to introduce Discovermarche, with a fun walk :

Li Vurgacci : among waterfalls and rock monsters 

And if you’ve always wondered about the German capital, take a trip with Kathrin :

Berlin, I love you!

That’s it for another week.  I’m hoping to post on Thursday but I might be a bit slow with my comments.  I’ll be in Edinburgh, waiting to meet up with the delectable Jude.  Take care till then!





  1. Pingback: My weekly ramble |
  2. Hope your ankle is feeling much better now Jo! So sorry you got injured but if it’s any consolation the photos are gorgeous. The history is very interesting too although it must have been a terrible life working the mines and those poor horses too 😦 I can’t remember if I’ve been to Rosedale Abbey or not but will remember the tip about the scones for future reference! Hasn’t been the best of weeks here as my little baby granddaughter has been in hospital (she has had a viral induced wheeze poor darling). I’ve been down there a lot – she’s home now but it will linger a while according to the doctors. Just off to visit again and hopefully will get back into blog writing again tomorrow! It’s not really warmed up here – we’ve had a colder than average winter and also a cool start to spring with cold winds so that isn’t helping the flu season to go away! Hope you’re feeling much better and have a lovely weekend! 🙂


    1. So sorry about the little one, Rosemay. Nothing worse than watching a baby in distress, so I hope she’s fully recovered soon. We seem to be hanging on to nice temperatures, which is quite strange, if rather nice. No holding off Autumn indefinitely though 🙂 🙂 Had a lovely time in Edinburgh. Back to a weekend of serious housework 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Jo 🙂 The little one is on the mend just have to make sure she’s well rugged up and the heater on. Edinburgh sounds lovely – must have been very pleasant in the Indian summer! My dad had spent a day at the cricket again this week and looked so sun tanned when I Skyped him just then. We have had a rather grey and damp day – very strange weather patterns recently! Hope you have a lovely rest of the weekend 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey, Jo, what a lovely walk! I just never realize how wonderful that part of the world is: all the grass, the sheep, and “tumbles of cottages.” The soup looks marvelous. Oddly, my next post is a ramble and in it, I will have a bowl of soup ala Jo! And just so you know, the best scone I ever had was at the little shop across the street from Jane Austen’s house. Thanks so much for the shout out…but I wasn’t joking!


    1. Sorry for all your trouble, honeybun. 🙂 Yorkshire lasses can certainly bake. I’ll be doing catch up in the next few days as I’m just back from Edinburgh (now there’s a city you’d love! And I bet you’d look good in a kilt 🙂 ) and the son’s due home with a heap of laundry. Woe is me 🙂


      1. Funny…I ALMOST went to Edinburgh last summer. It was like number one on the list of possibles, I even checked out flights and cars and places to stay. Then, somehow ended up in Malta! I think I didn’t have any cold weather clothes with me.


  4. What a pretty wildflower! My favorite color is purple and I could appreciate that photo forever. But, then the sky turned blue, which means more sights to enjoy! Few things bring a smile to my face as easily as a grey sky (unexpectedly) turning bright blue. The photos are lovely, Jo and I hope your ankle – your sacrifice – is feeling better. I couldn’t imagine a Monday (or Thursday when I finally have time and internet again to read this one) without a walk from/with you!!


  5. Such harsh lives people had back in those mining days Jo, if dad was lost or injured then families were destitute. No welfare state to fall back on, we are so lucky these days.
    Just how long and steep would Farndale have been to walk? Looks like this was far enough. When i was leaving the apartment in Tavira last year I twisted my ankle, it would have been disastrous if it happened before, and if you’d been up on a hill !?!
    I love sheep, but your cow babies are adorable 🙂


  6. What gorgeous photos! Funnily enough, I recently daydreamed away a train trip from London to Glasgow looking out the window (no wifi, left book at hime!) and I kept thinking to myself what an awful lot of sheep we have in this country 😉 I definitely saw significantly more sheep than people – and felt like telling those who moan about being crowded by immigrants to take a look at sheep! 😂


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.