Levisham to Hutton Le Hole. 15.5 miles.
I was looking forward to this section of the walk as both Levisham and Hutton Le Hole are lovely North York Moors villages and worth exploring if time permits. Heavy overnight rain promised to make the downhill sections of the route interesting and I was not to be disappointed. Soon after leaving the road out of Levisham the track descends steeply and so did I. Managing to grab a tree root I arrested my slide and was fortunate to sustain only muddy shorts and wounded pride. Reaching the valley bottom I passed the ruins of St. Marys Church which dates back to the 11th century. Legend has it that when the church was being built in the village the devil took all the building materials down into the valley each night. So that is where it was built.
The church was abandoned in 1884 and a new church was (finally) built in the village. The path now went through damp woodland before crossing Pickering Beck at Farworth. The North York Moors Railway passes over a level crossing at the attractive Farworth Halt although the trains only stop now at Levisham station further up the line.
Resisting the Tea Rooms I climbed steeply up the valley side until I reached the attractive village of Newton on Rawcliffe where I had a rest on a bench overlooking the village pond which in the brief sunshine was alive with dragonflies and swooping swallows.
The village pub, The Mucky Duck looked very enticing but I still had far to go, although amazed at my powers of resistance I continued on my way. The path now dropped steeply through Newton Banks before rising again to pass through Stony Moor where the patchy woodland, heather and bilberry represents what the moors once looked like after the last Ice Age, before farming and heather moorland converted it’s appearance.
At Keldy Farm I came to a road which took me steeply uphill although a gap in the trees afforded an excellent view of the Tabular Hills over which I had passed.
At the top of the hill and to the left is Cawthorn Roman Camp. During the first century AD the Romans advanced this way, subduing the Britons with military might and establishing fortified camps such as these at Cawthorn.
By now, this ancient Briton was hungry so I had my lunch before continuing on my way, passing through the village of Cropton which has the New Inn and beer brewed in it’s own micro brewery. I sampled these on a long distance walk in 2010 and have a hazy memory of how delicious they were. Walking briskly on I eventually crossed the River Seven to reach Appleton le Moors. This is a typical Yorkshire Crofts and Tofts village. The Crofts being the little cottages either side of the main street and the Tofts are the land extending from the backs of each cottage primarily used for growing vegetables in. Here, interestingly enough are the remains of Low Cross a medieval cross which may have once been a standing stone.
It began to rain a little as I left the village and began the final leg to Hutton Le Hole and a short climb led me to some large fields that were alive with pheasants which scattered noisily as I passed by. Looking back I had a good view across the fields to the distant Wolds.
A long descent through woodland took me into the village of Hutton Le Hole and the end of this section of the walk. I like this village, I have stayed here on a walk and it is a lovely spot with a stream running through it. It’s name is fairly new although the site dates back to Neolithic times. Up to the 19th century it was known variously as Hoton under Heg and Hewton.
The final stage of the Tabular Hills Walk is a 13.5 mile stretch from Hutton Le Hole to Helmsley, a section I am looking forward to immensely.