Codhill Slack

Viewed from the Cleveland Way, between Hutton Moor and Codhill Heights, Codhill Slack is a shallow boggy valley which drains into the River Esk and empties into the North Sea at Whitby. In the 13th century a document entitled “Cartularium Priory de Gyseburne” referred to it as Rivelingdale. It seems drier now than I remember with scattered scrub trees and with bracken encroaching, the rushes less intense with patches of Cottongrass. In the mid 19th century a leat or water race was built along Hutton Moor on the right to divert water to the ironstone mines at Hutton. This race can be still traced but I doubt if it’s still effective.

Codhill Slack map

The Monks’ Walk

In the grounds of Guisborough Priory, an avenue of lime trees surrounding a diamond shaped meadow of wild garlic or ramsons. The gardens were laid out by the Chaloner family in the 18th century appearing on an Estate maps of 1773. Then the trees would have been pollarded with grass in the centre.

Ruther Cross

Not my usual habitat, an housing estate in Guisborough but cycling down Hutton Lane I remembered this medieval cross tucked behind a hedge having mentioned it in a post of last year. It comprises a sandstone shaft and base. No inscriptions but several square notches. It marks the spot where the medieval trackway south left or crossed the lane to Hutton. It is surmised that the ground the track crossed was marshy until it reached beginning of the ascent of Highcliff and that Ruther Stone marked the start of a stone causeway. Another suggestion is that the stone marked the boundary of the leper colony at Hutton so travellers would skirt the boundary to avoid contact with the lepers.

Ruther Cross map


Waterfall Viaduct

Pedalling along the A171 I was surprised to see this eight arch viaduct. Normally in the Summer it is hidden by the canopy of the woodland that towers above it but it looks as through some thinning has taken place. The trees that had taken root on the top and had been threatening the structure have been removed and apparently just dumped over the side which is a shame, perhaps done to impede the off road motor cyclists. The viaduct is well used by groups for an abseiling experience.

The viaduct was built in 1861 for the Cleveland Railway whose principal shareholders were Sir Lowthian Bell and Ralph Ward Jackson. Its sole purpose was to transport their iron ore from the Guisborough and East Cleveland mines to the foundries on the River Tees. Sixty feet high, it is a fine example of early railway architecture. Later in the 19th century greater standardisation of and appropriate quality in construction materials techniques became commonplace. For these reasons the viaduct has been scheduled a Grade II listed building status.

In 1865 the Cleveland Railway became part of the North Eastern Railway, Guisborough and Saltburn Branch and began to run passenger trains to Brotton and Loftus finally closing in 1964. The viaduct spans Spa Gill down which flows Jocks Row Beck. On the right in the photo Jocks Row Beck can be seen entering an unusually shaped culvert to enable the slope of the embankment to be maintained.


Highcliff Plantation

On the route of the Cleveland Way this stand of beech trees is probably the last remnants of the Highcliff Plantation that stood long before the Forestry Commission began their mass planting of larch and spruce. On a fine day the seat would have provided views across to Roseberry

The Scottish naturalist John Muir wrote “another glorious day, the air as delicious to the lungs as nectar to the tongue”. His words are true even on a day as bleak as this.

Belmanbank Gate

The top of the climb south out of Guisborough onto Gisborough Moor with a fine but hazy view to the Teesside Wind Farm offshore at Redcar. Belman or Belmont is said to mean ‘beautiful mountain’ and has also been variously written as Belmund or Baumund. Bank refers to the sharp climb onto the high moors and gate is the old English for a road. A glorious winter day.

High Bousdale Wood

The moon goddess was laughing at me last night. After shrouding herself in cloud the night before for the supermoon, last night was cloudless. But I was taking part in a night orienteering type of exercise and as I was in “racing mode” I took no camera and certainly no tripod. The moonlight was so good that I could often turn my headtorch off.

So today control collecting duties took me back into Hutton Woods in full autumnal colours, not noticeable last night in the dark.


One for the Guisborians, Ruthergate, an ancient trackway heading south out of Guisborough, diagonally climbing Kemplah Bank up onto Hill Plains and the high moors beyond. For the past half century or so the deep hollow way of the track has been hidden by forestry but dog walkers and mountain bikes have returned following recent clear felling.

The track started at Ruther Cross, a stone post which still exists in a housing estate off Hutton Lane, and then followed the tree line in the photo separating the field from the housing to the foot of the hill. A stone causeway crossed the marshy ground that existed before the area was improved and developed. Roman coins and medieval pottery have been found in Ruthergate. Once the brow of the hill has been reached the route becomes vague. In fact its ultimate destination is unknown. A quarry has been suggested and the sledging of stone down to the town would account for the well eroded holloway down the slope.

Hutton Hall

Only appreciated in its wooded grounds from this height on Kemplah  Bank. Sir Joseph Whitwell Pease, Bart, M.P., had Hutton Hall built as his country pile in 1866 which even included its own private railway station on the North Eastern Railway at Hutton Gate. The Pease money came from the railways, coal and iron, built up over three generations. In 1902 however the Pease was almost bankrupted in a banking crash forcing the sale of the hall. It  was left uninhabited it was used during the Spanish Civil War to house Spanish nuns and Basque refugees. During the Second World War it was requisitioned for military use. It has now been converted and divided up for residential.

Highcliff Nab

​From Bousdale Wood, near Pinchinthorp. A sandstone crag overlooking the town of Guisborough. On the northern edge of the North York Moors and a popular  climbing venue, first ‘discovered’ for climbing in the 1930s. There is a Mesolithic site just beyond the summit. The Nab must have made a fine lookout for the hunters over the wooded plain below.