Walk 182: Lockton (Yorkshire Moors) Circular

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 6.7 miles (10.8km)

Time to walk: Around 3 hours, but you’ll want to explore so take your time

Difficulty: Apart from the start & end to leave the village, this walk’s all on well marked paths so may be muddy in places. There’s a lot on non-friendly dog stiles so you have to lift your furry friend. It’s also quite a hilly walk, especially the steep path up to the Bridestones – there is a well placed bench for a welcome rest though. There may be lots of sheep on this walk so keep your dog on a lead when you encounter them

Parking: On street in the centre of Lockton

Public toilets: Cafe in Lockton at the start & end, but nothing in-between

Map of the route:

This is a truly wonderful walk with so many variations

We start in the beautiful village of Lockton, situated on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors, about 4 miles north east of Pickering. There’s been a settlement in this area since neolithic times & the landscape is dramatic with the Hole of Horcum being close by

Shall we go & explore then?

Let’s Walk!

1. Our walk begins right in the middle of the village, outside the Tea Rooms & Gallery…

With your back to the Tea Rooms walk up the hill past the beautiful village green…

2. On the right, behind the railings, is the site of the village well…

…& then opposite’s the Church of St Giles, which dates back to the 13th century with a 15th century tower

3. Continue as the road bends right down the hill past the village hall & then left up again as it starts to leave the village. There’s a wonderful bench on the left, looking towards the Hole of Horcum…

The hollow is 400 feet deep & about ¾ mile across. The Hole was created by a process called spring-sapping, where water welling up from the hillside gradually undermined the slopes above, eating the rocks away grain by grain. In this way, over thousands of years, a once narrow valley widened & deepened into an enormous cauldron. The process still continues today

Local legend has it that the “Devil’s Punchbowl” type feature, the amphitheatre, was formed when Wade the Giant scooped up a handful of earth to throw at his wife during an argument

4. Hopefully we won’t encounter Wade on this walk! Continue to the T-Junction at the top of the hill & carefully cross this busy road through the gap opposite into the field…

Ignore the path going straight ahead. Our route lies diagonally right down to the bottom of the field to find a gap leading into a tunnel…

5. The next half-mile or so is just wonderful walking as the narrow path falls down into the valley floor…

When I did this walk at the beginning of May 2023 this whole stretch was completely overtaken by the amazing smell of wild garlic

6. The path is well marked so just keep heading down the hill, passing through the wooden gate…

Finally the path levels out & arrives at a metal gate

7. I loved that there was a smaller, ‘Walkers’ gate. Go through it & continue past the tree stumps. Note the fungi growing on them

Walk through the next gate & then turn diagonally right up the steep hill to the stile at the top leading onto the track

8. Turn left & have a look down at the stunning property we’ll be passing shortly…

Keep heading down the hill towards the house. Pass the front of it & climb over the ladder stile on the left…

9. Turn right through the gates…

I loved this next stretch of this walk with the sound of the stream babbling along the bottom of the valley – it’s just so pretty

10. After the small gate in the picture below you really do feel secluded…

…as the path narrows. There’s the odd car on the nearby road, but you’ll be unlucky to hear any other sound apart from water & birdsong

11. Shortly you’ll arrive at & cross a stile…

…to now find yourself in an open valley meadow. Walk to the right of the telegraph pole…

12. At the end of the meadow is another stile to cross…

…& then again it’s simply a case of relax & continue in the same direction, just enjoying the surroundings

13. At the next stile is a National Trust sign telling you you’re now entering their Bridestones property

The Bridestones is a nature reserve on Staindale Moor, within Dalby Forest. The reserve is named for the oddly-shaped rocks that stand on the moorland summit – we’ll be visiting them shortly

14. For now though continue along this beautiful place…

At the end of this meadow you’ll arrive & pass through a metal gate into a farm…

15. Walk around the right edge of the barn & then slightly left to pick up the obvious track in the picture below, heading in the same direction…

I do love a gate with a view & this one’s certainly fits the bill. Walk through it & head down the hill to the stream

16. Have a paddle or cross the stepping stones…

…& then turn immediately left & walk up to a kissing gate

17. Pass through the kissing gate & over the wooden bridge into another beautiful valley. You can tell by some of the boardwalks that this area gets boggy at times

Follow the valley floor…

18. The route out of this valley is across the bridge to your right…

Pass through the gate & now start to climb the steep stone path

19. Take your time & there’s a bench near the top of the climb to have a rest. Across the valley you can see some of the Bridestones where we’re heading…

But…just when you think you’re almost there, the path drops steeply down to cross a stream, before climbing up again

20. Follow the clear path to arrive at the first Bridestone…a cave

These amazing rocks are all that’s left of a sandstone cap of rock that dates back to the Jurassic period, some 150 million years ago. Over the years the weather has eroded the cap to leave the amazing shapes we see today

Facing the cave bear right & now simply follow the path through this amazing place…

21. This high moor is a 300 acre nature reserve & the views are spectacular…

No-one really knows where the name Bridestones comes from. One legend says that a recently married couple were murdered at the location, & the stones were laid around their grave. Another possibility is that they are named after Brigantia, the land inhabited by the Brigantes, a British Celtic tribe which occupied the largest territory in ancient Britain

22. Continue through the reserve…

Heading towards a wood

23. It’s now time to descend from the plateau, so pass through the gate in the picture below…

…& turn left down the track

24. There are some steep drops off the right side & you can see the valley floor, which is a long way down. Eventually you’ll reach a junction at the bottom with a notice board…

Turn right & then right again through the gate…

25. You’re now back in the first valley you walked along. Again the track’s really easy to follow…

Eventually you’ll arrive back at the stream with the stepping stones you crossed earlier. Cross this & walk up the hill through the metal gate again…

26. Walk around the barn again & then bear right along the road track as it winds up the hill…

Walk through the wooden gate & now it’s another uphill section all along the rough road

27. The road emerges from the trees & bears right. Look for a stile in the hedge on the left & cross it into a field…

The directional marker on the stile post shows you’re heading diagonally right. You can see the next marker to the left of the shed

28. The directions are really well signposted. Go through the large gate & then immediate left through the smaller one into the grass field…

You can see the next stile straight ahead of you in the dip…

29. And this stile is a biggie as you’re getting onto it from below so please take care…

You’re still heading uphill & towards the gap in the two trees

30. Here you’ll find a gate leading onto a farm road…

Turn left along the road & follow it to the farm. As it bends left into the farm area walk through the metal gate on the right…

31. Turn immediately left & follow the grassy track downhill towards a gate leading into a wood…

Go through the gate & follow what’s a stunning narrow path down through the trees – this really is beautiful walking

32. At the bottom of the hill continue straight ahead up the wider track…

Now it’s simply a case of following this track as it bears right to finally arrive at the busy road you crossed at the start of the walk

33. Retrace your steps through Lockton to arrive back at Tea Rooms & Gallery where you started this walk

So that’s it…a truly wonderful & beautiful walk with the added bonus of the Bridestones nature reserve. Apparently in the summer the reserve is full of wild flowers which is an added bonus

It’s great so if you’re in the area…

Go Walk!