Boundary Stone, Great Ayton Moor

Sorry but I just couldn’t resist another photo of the purple swathe of a heather moor. The ling is now in full bloom and for just a few weeks the colour is glorious. Highcliff Nab is in the distance and in the foreground is a sandstone boundary marker dating from the 19th century. ‘R C’ stands for Robert Chaloner, the principal landowner in Guisborough. This would probably be the son. His father was also a Robert but was declared bankrupt in 1825 yet somehow the family still managed to keep control of the estate. Robert junior could be said to have made a better success of the estate but this was no doubt because of the saviour of ironstone prosperity. The land belonged originally to Guisborough Priory and after the dissolution, Thomas Chaloner purchased it from the Crown for £1,000 in 1550.

Boundary Stone, Great Ayton Moor map

 

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Percy Cross Rigg

The ling is coming into full bloom. A few more days yet. A view across the bracken covered northern branch of upper Lonsdale to Percy Cross Rigg.

Sandstone Outcrop on Black Bank

The Golden Hour is that hour prior to sunset. It’s said to be the best lighting for photography, reddish hues and long shadows. So an evening wander up to Great Ayton Moor. I had in mind an old disused sandstone quarry which I figure would catch the evening rays. It did, for a while, then the sun dropped behind a bank of cloud and the occasion was lost. The quarry has no name but from this angle I see a gorilla’s face looking out to Captain Cook’s Monument in the distance.

Black Banks map

Howden Gill

Also known as Slack’s Gill and until recently buried inside the commercial forestry of Black Bank. It’s my ‘secret’ way up onto Great Ayton Moor. Mine and the mountain bikers who created a downhill course through the wood. But the clear felling has put paid to their activities. I am sure the sandstone crags have been quarried but there is no evidence of the route the stones would have been hauled down the slope. The large boulder in the gill does have an anchor bolt on the top but I guess that could be modern, placed as a protection for rock climbers. I’ve rendered the photo into black and white as the carnage left by the clear felling is hidden.

Howden Gill map

Chambered Cairn, Great Ayton Moor

In search of the chambered cairn on Great Ayton Moor. These stones, one adorned with  modern graffiti ‘Bela Vista’, looked a likely candidate but after studying the archaeological sketches from a 1950s excavation I am now not so sure. Chambered cairns are rare, unique on the North York Moors. Eight large flat stones leaning together with a headstone to form a chamber. No skeletal remains were found but given the acid conditions that is not surprising. Pottery shards and various flint and stone objects were found. Pollen analysis helped dating the site to the Neolithic.

Chambered Cairn map

Ayton Bank

Last week I visited Nunthorpe Church, built in the 1920s from sandstone quarried at Great Ayton. I have since not only learnt that the actual quarry was Cockshaw but there was in fact twelve sites along the escarpment between Captain Cook’s Monument and Roseberry where sandstone or freestone, as it was also referred to, was quarried such as here on Ayton Bank on the edge of Great Ayton Moor.

Ayton Bank map

Iron Age Enclosure, Great Ayton Moor

I thought I would head for Captain Cook’s Monument on Easby Moor this morning as on this day in 1778 Cook became the first European to visit the Hawaiian Islands naming them the Sandwich Islands, after John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich and the First Lord of the Admiralty.

On the way back I cut across Great Ayton Moor to look at the Iron Age Enclosure. This is a rectilinear ditch and earth bank about 24m across that looks very impressive on Google Earth. It was excavated in the 1950s when the remains of a oval roundhouse, hearth and pottery fragments were discovered, dating to about 100 BC. For the photo I’ve only managed to capture the north western corner of the earthworks which are just about discernible without the summer’s lush growth of bracken. At the time of construction the moor was open grassland. Nearby was an arable field system. The climate was warmer and drier than today.

Appropriately for this day, in the far distance standing proud on Easby Moor is the 51 feet high monument to Capt. James Cook RN.

great-ayton-moor-map