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 🙂

      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 🙂

  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! 😂

  7. Out of all of your walks, this one is one of my favorites. I love walking across moors (not that I have the opportunity to do so very often) and encountering sheep is always a highlight. If I’m ever in that particular area, I will have to check out that cafe. It’s been so long since I’ve had a good scone.

  8. Absolutely stunning . . . you are so lucky to have all of this, on days when the weather is like this why go to the Algarve 😉
    Do hope by the time I type this your ankle feels much better and that we no longer need to call you Cassidy x

    1. Butch? 🙂 🙂 Just scrambling a few thoughts together for tomorrow’s trip to Edinburgh. The weather has done a complete reversal this morning and Jude will be shivering at the Water Gardens in Alnwick! I’ve promised her I’ll do all my running up and down Arthur’s Seat and wear myself out before she gets there. Hugs, Becky! All good with you?

      1. Hopalong, as in the song!!!!
        Have a fabulous time in Edinburgh, and hope the sun and warmth returns for you both.
        I in a grump this morning after challenging 36hrs with parents, builders next door blocking our drive and getting locked out of an online account . . . .however latter now sorted, its sunny and I’ve got to do lots of baking today so hopefully by lunchtime I will have found my equilibrium again!
        PS Expect a video of the Arthur’s Seat jog!

    1. Hi Dianne. 🙂 Autumn has swooped upon us this morning and I’m shrouded in mist! I don’t know if you’ll even be able to see those views. Think I went in the nick of time 🙂

  9. I bet it’s looking as glorious again today if the weather is anything like it is here Jo … it turned out nice after all ! Well apart from that ditch accident 😦 I hope you’ll give it a chance to recover but it seems not Lol walking along riverbanks yesterday tsk tsk . It all reminded me of a few months ago after spotting a ruaway peacock of all things on our local common I got AJ to stop the car , grabbed camera and ran over the road and immediately fell into a ditch collapsing down onto my knees 😀 Peacock needless to say out ran me .
    Lovely open landscape … hard to believe its dark past industrial and social history on a day like that … I could go one of those scones right now 🙂

    1. I’ve been seriously good, lolling in the garden reading about Edinburgh all morning, Poppy 🙂 Off to meet a friend for coffee now but I promise to sit down and drink. No scones, I don’t think 😦 Hugs, darlin’.

  10. Looking up instead of down is one of the hazards of blogging! I hope your ankle is on the mend now. As much as I’m revelling in all the gorgeous scenery we’re seeing on our UK trip, I do love the cottages. I like to imagine what it would be like to live in one.

    1. I was just admiring your shots of the Peaks 🙂 Such a lovely part of the world. A bit more rugged than Yorkshire which can be postcard pretty at times. Not something to complain about 🙂 🙂 Enjoy the Lakes! When do you go?

  11. Apart from everything else, you make me long for a scone! Plain, or pumpkin and date. Not fussy. But the scone isn’t the only delight: the glimpse of landscape through roofs; the enticing stairs; The stone walls; the greenness; and those magnificent skies for which you sacrificed an ankle. Is it better yet? Give it a gentle hug.

    1. Never had pumpkin and date but it sounds blissful. 🙂 Sick of the silly ankle, Meg, but there are many worse things. 🙂 I shall try to have a ‘foot up’ in the garden sort of day, but… Always lovely to have a hug!

  12. A lovely walk, Jo. Sorry about your little accident. I hope your ankle heals quickly. Cows and sheep always look so calm. Great photos of these placid creatures. The soup and bread looks so delicious. I think I’d choose it over the scone this time. 🙂

    1. It’s not like Mick to go for the healthy option but I have to be truthful and admit that I had the scone, Ad (and a glass of wine 🙂 ) Thanks, hon. Did you get everything done you needed to at the weekend?

  13. My goodness, what a surprise all that sun was. Bessie the cow and her fabulous pasture was just gorgeous😃
    I,m away from my computer (heading to Portugal just ahead of you), so I will try to link my walk to you, but the technology may be beyond me😞
    Happy tramping about -Susan

  14. Glad to hear you are improving in the hop a long department Jo. I smiled at your Hubby shaking his head. Oh yes we are trying on these husbands. If i haven’t mentioned at least 50 times already, I LOVE sheep. So glad they stood so perfectly for you without blinking. Have a fabulous week and may the healing continue.

  15. Glad you didn’t damage your ankle too much. I wish you a speedy and complete recovery. Thanks for taking me on that beautiful walk. Btw, you really should make a travel (guide) book from all your walks!

    1. Thank you so much for that, Pit. 🙂 It has been suggested a couple of times that I write an e-book. Maybe a project for the winter. I’m too busy walking when it’s nice 🙂 🙂

  16. Jo, hope you aren’t in pain! Fascinating walk, never knew mines were so high up on the moors. Beautiful views all around and I had to laugh at your husband making sure you stay on course. Up and over for another day perhaps? This morning just received a postcard from a friend in North Yorkshire and I’ve been coming back the to pictures on the front all day with longing and admiration.

    1. I just rather stupidly spent a morning walking the riverbanks in Durham with Mick, so I’ve got the foot strapped and up at the moment. 🙂 Can’t resist making the most of the nice weather. It’s set to change at the weekend 😦 Yes, definitely up and over another day, or a loop walk that takes us closer to the mines. Thanks, Annika 🙂

    1. Mick had the soup and tuna sandwich. I was extremely naughty and had the scone and a glass of wine. But I walk all the calories off 🙂 🙂 Thanks for your company, Paula. I know time is precious 🙂 A hug or 2 to see you through the week 🙂

  17. What a glorious day you ended up with after your dreary morning, Jo. Hurting your ankle while jumping out of a car to take pictures sounds exactly like something I would do. It’s your enthusiasm that gets you every time! I hope it’s better now. It was well worth it to get those pictures, especially if it heals quickly. Thanks for showing the pictures of your scones. I always like seeing food pictures. And I love the sheep everywhere; they remind me of Iceland! 🙂

    1. Some people never learn, Cathy! 🙂 🙂 Got the foot propped up after this morning, but we tried a very nice cafe in Durham we’d not been to before. Too busy eating even to take photos!!! 🙂

  18. Oh dear – I am sorry about your ankle, I hope it gets better soon. Purely selfishly I am glad that you made the leap from the car to take the photos though – they are lovely. 🙂 Thanks for the walk, and how nice of the sky to clear and the sun to come out just for us.

  19. Lovely walk, Jo – and I’m back in the UK so I’ve been able to catch up with some of your other contributors, some interesting new (to me) ones. My blog reading has been a bit random for the last few weeks!

  20. Farndale daffodil trail I think I am right in remembering. So I must have been somewhere near this area. Will look it up once I have a more consistent wifi. Don’t walk too much on that ankle – save it for Edinburgh 🙂

    1. Too late with the advice! Riverside in Durham today and a very nice cafe we hadn’t tried before. 🙂 I’m emailing you tonight. I presume you still check e’s when you’re away, if you get chance? Yes, the Farndale daffs are over the other side, near Rievaulx.

    1. Thanks for the tip, Tish 🙂 Wish I’d read this earlier. I was in Durham this morning and could have got some. It’s a bit like a pudding now 🙂 Keeping it up and will get some tomorrow. 🙂

      1. Doing the wet crepe bandage as we speak 🙂 I did a riverside walk in Durham this morning which wasn’t entirely sensible! So unlike me! 🙂 Nice cafe too!

  21. Rosedale Abbey….many years ago, walking with my parents in the area, I remember those lime kilns..and I recall them turning up on Tanita Tikaram’s Ancient Heart album cover. Oh that I could walk further, I would love to go back

    1. It turned into such a lovely day, Sue! 🙂 As we drove down I was thinking ‘oh no- what have I done?’ Almost damp but not quite. 🙂 Sometimes it’s better when you get the sun back like that. Hope you have a lovely day today. Energy must be running high? (relatively 🙂 )

  22. Rosedale is gorgeous. I loved the moors. Went youth hostelling there, aged 14/15, walked between Westerhope and Wilderhope with a full day crossing the moors. It was glorious. The heather was out then too. The soup looks nice. I could feel hungry.

    I read the Badfish post. Sad but well-written.

    Do feel for you about the ankle. Just glad for you that it wasn’t worse. Take care.

    1. Nothing so dramatic as yours, Kate, I’m glad to say 🙂 I’m a fool to myself but I’ll be a long time dead 🙂 I just love being out there on the moors. I know we whinge about English weather but we wouldn’t have so much beauty if it was otherwise. Thanks a lot! And yes, BF is a darn good writer, though he larks about sometimes.

  23. I was brought up in the forest and know well about animal encounters. Horses mostly and cows close second. The highland ones scared the hell out of me when a small boy. Pigs could be temperamental.. Hope your ankle is fine…

  24. Cute little animals, drastic changes of weather, clean air and amazing views, everything that I love! A wonderful stroll in the picturesque place. I always feel so refreshed after walking with you!

      1. Morning to you too, dear Jo! All is well in my part of this world. I’ve been on a vacation for some time, thus was offline status. However, I cam back to the game. Last week I published one post with a link to my short video about visit at the Film Studio. Thank you for your kind worry! So sweet of you! Hugs!

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