Hole of Horcum to Pickering – 30 March 2019

The Hole of Horcum is one of the most spectacular features in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park. It is a huge – a huge natural Devils Punchbowl feature, 400 feet deep and more than half a mile across. It was formed a long time ago when Wade the Giant scooped up a handful of earth to throw at his wife during one of their many arguments.

Actually, it was created by a process called spring-sapping, this is where water welling up from the hillside gradually undermines the slopes above. Over thousands of years, a once narrow valley has widened and deepened into an enormous punchbowl – and the process still continues today.

Unfortunately, we do not stay very long around the Punchbowl. Three of the walks get off the coach at the Hole of Horcum, the 10-mile route heads west on part of the Tabular Hills Walk and then goes south down past Levisham and then further west again through the woods at Heugh Howl before reaching Pickering. The 12.5-mile route heads along the Old Wifes Way and then south to reach the Bride Stones before continuing south into Stain Dale and Thorton Dale and then turning west along the valley passing Thorton-le-Dale to the north and coming into Pickering from the west.

The 11.5-mile route is also going along the Old Wifes Way and the Bride Stones but before then the route is going on a small diversion from the car park down into the Hole of Horcum. After the Bride Stones the route heads west across the valley towards Lockton then climbs towards Farwath crossing the North York Moors Railway line then heading south-west towards Pickering.

There are lots of Standing Stones in this area and most of them were often connected with fertility rites relating to successful crop harvests. The fertility rites were associated with an earth mother or goddess sometimes called the Old Wife and so we have the Old Wifes Way. The Bride Stones are odd shaped sandstone pinnacles, they are spread over 300 acres so the routes are just passing through between what is called the High Bride Stones and the Low Bride Stones.  Why are they called the Bride Stones? Perhaps the Old Wifes fertility rites were a bit more successful than just a few crops and some marriages were called for.

The 7-mile route travels further down the A169 after the Hole of Horcum and gets off not far from Lockton which it passes to the north. It then swings south through Row Wood and picks up the same route as the 11.5-mile route at Farwath.

If you fancy a walk starting close to the Hole of Horcum with perhaps a wander along the Old Wifes Way or a visit to the Bride Stones or a loop along the Tabular Hills Walk you will find a variety of routes to choose from. You can get in touch with us from our Contact Page and you can find the walk descriptions here and the GPS routes here.

Pickering Weather

Walk No. 7Hole of Horcum to Pickering30 March 2019
Area: North York MoorsMap: OL 27

7 miles Moderate
Start: A169 Road Grid Ref SE850907
Wedland Slack – Levisham Hill Farm – Row Wood – Levisham Wood – Farwath – High Blansby – Blansby Park Farm – Park Gate – Newbridge – Pickering

10 miles Moderate
Start: Hole of Horcum Parking
Tabular Hills Walk – Levisham Moor – Limpsey Gate Lane – Levisham – Row Wood – Levisham Wood – Farwath – Farwath Road (Track) – Ruddings Road – Yatts Farm – Haugh Howl – Newbridge – Pickering

11.5 miles Moderate
Start: Hole of Horcum Parking
Horcum Wood – Gallows Dyke – Old Wifes’s Way – Newgate Wood – Low Bridestones – Dove Dale – Low Pasture Farm – Thwaite Wood – Lockton – Quarry (Dis) – Slieghts Road (Track) – Farwath – High Blansby – Blansby Park Farm – Park Gate – Newbridge – Pickering

12.5 miles Moderate
Start: Hole of Horcum Parking
Old Wifes’s Way – Newgate Wood – Low Bridestones – Dove Dale – Stain Dale – Staindale Lodge – Nut Wood – Dalby Meadow – Ellers Wood – Wellham Park Fish Hatchery – Great Nursery – Hagg House – Minor Road to Pickering

Pub: The Black Swan Telephone No. 01751 798209