Larch Plantation

A quick dash out before the forecasted rains came. Larch plantations are usually dark, dense places, hands and knees jobs with needles creeping down your back. This one on Ryston Bank, on the western end of Hutton Woods, has a network of mountain bikes through which to explore. Larch is one of the few conifers that are deciduous and drop their needles for the winter covering the forest floor in an orange carpet.

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.

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.

Mystery wall

Deep in the heart of Hutton Lowcross Wood, below the Hanging Stone, this wall of dressed sandstone is a bit of a mystery. It forms a small recess and seems to be on the same level as the old jet workings but these don’t usually have stonework associated with them being just small scale drifts into the hillside. And it’s above the ironstone level.

So if anyone has ideas please let me know.

The Unsuitables

The local name for the forest track up from Hutton Lowcross up onto Percy Cross Rigg. In the distance on the right is Highcliff Nab overlooking Guisborough. The track follows an ancient route from Guisborough to Baysdale. It was until fairly recently a Byway Open to All Traffic or BOAT. A sign at the bottom warned drivers that the track was unsuitable for vehicles; hence the name. I can remember the post office landrover trundling up it on the delivery round to Sleddale Farm. In those days Guisborough was a main sorting office. I think it’s Whitby now.

In the 90s or so the track was regraded. Rumour had it that the council were fearful of being sued by adventurous 4×4 drivers tackling the route and damaging their vehicles but it has now been downgraded to a Public Bridleway because of the erosion. On a bike though it’s still a bone shaking descent even with modern suspension.


Blue Lake

Back on the North York Moors and a change in the weather with rain overnight and poor visibility remaining. This reservoir was built to supply water for hydraulic equipment at nearby Home Farm. It’s located in Hutton Lowcross woods above the farm and was built in 1880 for Sir Joseph Whitwell Pease, a Quaker originally from Darlington whose family money came from the woollen business which was then invested wisely in the fledgling Darlington and Stockton Railway in 1818.

The reservoir was officially named the Hanging Stone Dam but became better known locally as the Blue Lake on account of the blueish tinge caused by mineral salts seeping out of the alum shales higher up the slope. Over the years the reservoir gradually silted up and lost its blueness and a Local Heritage Initiative enabled extensive restoration work was carried out in 2004/5.

My dog insisted on getting wet. Must be the Labrador in her.