With spring in the air, thoroughly enjoy a long airy walk on the high moors. Not too hot and not too biting cold. The walk starts and finishes at Osmotherley and includes a climb past Jenny Brewster reservoir.

Osmotherley is easily accessed from the A19. The village itself is centred round a pretty square with three pubs and is widely recognised as the walking hub of the North York Moors. Not only does the Cleveland Way pass through it, the Coast to Coast nearby but also it is the start of the famous 42 mile Lyke Wake Walk, which crosses the moors ending at Ravenscar. 

Form the centre of Osmotherley, head to the south end of the village and where the road divides go left. Climb up the road for nearly half a mile before taking the lane to your right. The lane ends at the first of two reservoirs (only one exists as a reservoir, the other is little more than a wildlife pond) and the spring of Jenny Brewster. Whilst pondering the origins of Jenny Brewster, climb steeply south east on the open moorland where a road takes a sharp easterly turn known as Square Corner.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Faber Stones on Osmotherley Moor

The walk from here is in Open Access Land so no necessity to follow the public footpaths. The moors can be closed during the shooting of grouse but this time of the year is fine - and the Land Rover tracks make for excellent walking.

Follow the quiet and open road for three quarters of a mile to the east before taking a wide shooting track north/left on to the moors. This is wonderful walking with far reaching views and a real feeling of space. You are unlikely to see anyone else. After heading north for two miles you will arrive at a Shooting House, just after the lodge take the left fork in the track.

The Shooting House is a single room made of solid stone, a godsend on a windy day and a perfect place for lunch on a sunny one. Two ancient stone posts (one ring marked Nelsons Stone) lie near the House and add to the timeless feel of this section of the walk. Carry on up the left track to the northern escarpment of the North York Moors with interesting views across countryside to the industrial landscape of Teesside.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Swainby Shooting Lodge in the distance

The track drops in to some forestry so follow the track as it contours the escarpment. Initially heading north west it bends south west to the road at Scarth Nick, hidden as the name suggests at a V in the steep land. Cross the road and climb steadily west with the views changing from the industrial north east to the tranquil Vale of York. Three quarters of a mile from Scarth Nick the path meets woods to the west/your right.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Osmotherley walk map

The Cleveland Way crosses in to the woodland and drops a little before climbing back in to Osmotherley and is my preferred choice but there is also a lane which avoids the woods and return the one and a half miles directly in to Osmotherley.

Walk facts:

Distance: Roughly ten miles.

Height to climb: 420m (1380 feet).

Start: SE 457973. Osmotherley will not be busy at this time of the year.

Difficulty: Difficult. It is the length of the walk which makes it difficult and the potential exposure on the moors but it follows good tracks at all time.

Refreshments: Three pubs in or close to the central square of Osmotherley and a cafe.

Be prepared: The route description and sketch map only provide a guide to the walk. You must take out and be able to read a map (O/S Explorer OL26) and in cloudy/misty conditions a compass. You must also wear the correct clothing and footwear for the outdoors. Whilst every effort is made to provide accurate information, walkers head out at their own risk.

Please observe the Countryside Code and park sensibly.

  • Jonathan Smith is the owner of Where2walk, a walking company based in the Yorkshire Dales. He has written three books on walking in the Dales, The Yorkshire 3 Peaks, The Dales 30 mountains and Walks without Stiles. All these books (and more) are available direct from the Where2walk website. Book a navigation (map and compass skills) training day near Settle or a bespoke day for a private group. The first available day is March 23. Join our “Dales 30 Weekenders” in Hawes and Sedbergh. Where2walk.co.uk also features hundreds of walks across Yorkshire and beyond, from easy strolls to harder climbs.