Roseberry Summit

At 320m high Roseberry’s cap of Saltwick Sandstone Formation has been quarried, subjected to intense heat and generally exploited over the centuries. The hill was to have been used as a beacon during the war with Spain in the 1580s and again during the Napoleonic Wars. These beacons were never lit in earnest but in 1902 an enormous beacon was lit to celebrate the coronation of King Edward VII. 32 tons of wood was hauled up using a steam engine. The iron stanchion to the right of the trig point was erected to tie the structure down. Some heat must have been generated. The nearer post is a fence post. At one time the Topping had so many visitors trying to stand on the summit a length of railings were erected along the crag edge. That was before the collapse of 1912 when the railings were dragged down with the rock.

Roseberry map

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Jurassic Sandstone

A sheep finds scant grazing amongst the sandstone boulders below Roseberry Topping. Sandstone which, according to geologists, were laid down at the bottom of a tropical sea 180 million years ago.

Bluebell Meadows, Newton Woods

My annual sally into the bluebells in Newton Wood. Maybe still a little early but my patience has run out. An iconic shot, found by just following the paths created by other photographers.

The Bluebell is the sweetest flower
That waves in summer air:
Its blossoms have the mightiest power
To soothe my spirit’s care.

Emily Bronte 1840

Thurkilsti

Thurkilsti, or Thurkill’s hill road as mentioned in Walter Espec’s grant of land to Rievaulx Abbey in 1145. An ancient route across the moors from Welburn and Skiplam descending here down Turkey Nab on its way to Ingleby Greenhow and Stokesley. The route is now classified as a Byway Open to All Traffic which makes it very popular with off road vehicles.

The wall corner is named as Park Corner on old Ordnance Survey maps, the corner of Park Plantation. The blip on the horizon is Roseberry Topping, mostly hidden behind Easby Moor.

Thurkilsti map

More Damage on Little Roseberry

Ok I may be jumping to the wrong conclusion here. Less than a month ago the gatepost on the left was toppled along with a section of the dry stone wall reportedly by two or three motorcyclists and a quad biker. The damage then was quickly repaired by the National Trust. This scene awaited me this morning. Too much of a coincidence? It may have been purely accidental. Having stood for two hundred years maybe a sheep tried to scale it. Not as daft as it sounds, I’ve seen sheep atop of walls in the Lake District.

The final climb

A view of the final 60′ of Roseberry Topping passing the Cleveland Way sign. It says Helmsley is 46m and Filey 64m but the Cleveland Way National Trail is officially 109 mile so an extra mile somewhere. Or maybe a rounding error. The Cleveland Way was first mooted in the 1930s but not officially opened until 1969. I do not know the significance of the 1995 year. I guess when the stone was placed. If it indeed was. I don’t remember. Maybe it was carved in situ. I do recall the helicopter carrying bags of stone from Aireyholme up onto Roseberry for the paths. That was in 1999 and all done in a day. 200 ton of stone I believe. If you are so inclined you can now do the Cleveland Way from the comfort of your armchair courtesy of Google.

Roseberry Topping map

Phantom Gate, Ryston Bank

Blocked up gates are not uncommon on the dry stone walls of the North York Moors. I always thought they were created when a gate was redundant and so blocked up permanently. But I recently read that in parts of Ireland phantom gates are traditionally used as a normal method closing a gateway. To move cattle or sheep the wall must be taken down and rebuilt. A lot of work. There is a shortage of wood in the windswept Aran Islands, Connemara or County Clare but this method of blocking up gateways has been adopted principally to prevent the winds from blowing across the exposed fields. I am not convinced however that this explanation is applicable to the North York Moors.

Until recently both sides of this wall on Ryston Bank was heavily forested. It has now been clear felled revealing a grand view of Roseberry Topping. The 1839 Tithe Map of Pinchinthorpe names the field the other side of the wall as “Browns Intake”. A field boundary is shown, most likely this wall. The 1893 Ordnance Survey shows the intake field as wooded. My guess is that the wall dates from the 18th century Enclosure Acts with a (wood) gate to allow stock to pass from the intake field onto the moor for summer grazing. Sometime prior to 1893 Brown’s Intake was set to woodland and the gate blocked up to keep the sheep out.

Phantom Gate map