LORDSTONES Country Park sits hidden among the trees two thirds of the way up Carlton Bank – for the uninitiated, a lung-bursting, gearbox shattering climb in the Cleveland Hills, a stone's throw from Stokesley.

It has been a well-loved stop off for cyclists testing themselves on the moorland gradients, walkers on the Cleveland Way and Coast to Coast, and bikers enjoying the twists and turns of the high road to Chop Gate for many years. More recently, it has been transformed by owners the Urra Estate into a tourist honeypot, with glamping pods, revamped camping facilities, a farm shop and a restaurant added to the cafe.

Two features that remain the same though, are the Lord Stones from which the attraction takes its name – three ancient stones positioned high on a Bronze Age mound behind the cafe – and the simply breathtaking views a short stroll from the car park. On a clear day, over to the right, the North Sea looks close enough you can almost taste the seasalt, while straight ahead, lie the distinctive outlines of the Yorkshire Dales, all sitting around the outside of a vast patchwork of farming pastures.

On a wild and windy Friday, with rain clouds threatening, the skyline was much closer, but with the moors wearing their autumn jackets, the result was no-less spectacular. After five and half miles of nourishment for the soul surrounded by such beauty, it was time to wipe the mud from our walking boots and search out some nourishment for the appetite.

Perhaps conscious of its varied clientele, Lordstones cafe offers plenty of menu options, from larger meals to feed ravenous walkers (Bilsdale Beltie steak and ale pie, and winter vegetable and tomato bake, to name but two), to snacks for those needing a quick pitstop, to luxurious breakfasts for those travelling for a special treat. Plenty of vegetarian choices are on offer, and diners with food intolerances are encouraged to speak to staff with any queries about ingredients.

It being lunchtime, my friend Victoria and I went down a sandwichy route. Having been severely tempted by the Beltie steak sandwich (the Belted Galloway beef served in the cafe and sold in the farm shop is grown on the estate), I opted for the mozzarella, tomato and pesto toastie on sourdough bread, with salad (£7), and Victoria chose the prawn open sandwich, also on sourdough, with spiced mayo, tomato and salad (£8).

The mozzarella, tomato and pesto toastie came wth crispy fries and salad

The mozzarella, tomato and pesto toastie came wth crispy fries and salad

I hadn't realised mine came with fries on the side, so they were an unexpected bonus, and the toastie was great post-walk fodder. Hot but not burn-your-face-off hot, the filling was perfectly proportioned with the pesto present but not overpowering.

Victoria's open prawn sandwich rated highly and disappeared at a fast rate of knots, rapidly followed by her as she went to order some cake for dessert and more hot drinks.

The slab of carrot cake that arrived minutes later was moist, tasty and great energy boosting fare.

A slab of carrot cake from Lordstone cafe

A slab of carrot cake from Lordstone cafe

The bill, which included two pots of tea, and a cappuccino, came to a very reasonable £24, while the service throughout was friendly and efficient from staff who clearly know their business inside out.

Appetite sated, we wandered next door to the Lordstones farm shop, where for no good reason I turned into a proper tourist (even though as the crow flies I live about seven miles away), buying scented candles, packets of fudge and individually wrapped bits of flapjack. Perhaps it was the happy glow of fresh air and good food, but I almost bought a fridge magnet with Cod Beck Reservoir on. Common sense returned, and we left with our goodies, making our way steadily back down Carlton Bank (not fun in icy weather) and back into the real world from an oasis of leisure.

Lordstones is well worth a visit, definitely for the food, certainly for the farm shop, but also for that view. It really is unbeatable.

Lordstones Country Park

Carlton Bank, Chop Gate, North Yorkshire, TS9 7JH

Tel: 01642 778482

Email: info@lordstones.com

Web: lordstones.com/

Cafe open every day, 9am to 4pm

Ratings (out of ten): Food quality 8 Service 8 Surroundings 8 Value 9