A walk up through Eskdale in the North York Moors via Glaisdale, Lealholm and Egton banks.
Table of Contents
- What3Words for start point: ///passenger.recount.combos
- Start Point: Egton Bridge, North York Moors, YO21 1XE
- Finish Point: Egton Bridge, North York Moors, YO21 1XE
- Distance: 8.6 Miles
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Egton Bridge is one of the most attractive villages in North Yorkshire and is home to perhaps the most famous Catholic parish in the country; it is often called the ‘Village missed by the Reformation’. The continuation of the Catholic faith in Esk Dale can be attributed to one man, Father Nicholas Postgate who secretly ministered in this area for 50 years during the 17th Century before he was betrayed by a local man for baptising a child into the Catholic faith. Father Postgate was arrested and tried for treason in 1679, when he was 82, and was hung, drawn and quartered at the Knavesmire.
Arncliffe Wood is an ancient piece of woodland along the steep banks of the River Esk. An old pannierway leads through these woods, paved for most of the way, from Delves to Beggar’s Bridge. This was once an important trading route along which lines of packhorses laden with everything from fish to salt and jet would walk in single file, thus avoiding the unmade roads.
The graceful 17th Century Beggar’s Bridge has a romantic tale to tell. Thomas Ferris, son of a poor farmer, was courting local beauty Agnes Richardson, the daughter of a wealthy landowner who, needless to say, did not approve. Thomas often made the short journey across the River Esk to see his sweetheart; however, in order to win her hand he decided to go to sea to make his fortune.
The night before he was due to leave Thomas set out in torrential rain to see Agnes but was prevented from crossing the swollen river due to the raging torrents. So Thomas went to sea, fought against the Armada and made his fortune! He returned to Glaisdale a rich man and married Agnes, later settling at Hull where he became a wealthy shipping merchant as well as the Lord Mayor.
He built the graceful bridge in 1619 so that no other lovers would be separated by the river, although it was perhaps more of a memorial to Agnes who died in 1618.
Glaisdale is a thriving village and boasts an amazing assortment of houses including stone miners’ cottages, old farms, Victorian terraces and large brick houses, many of which were built following the arrival of the railway in 1865 and subsequent development of ironstone mining in the hills behind the village; the mines closed over 100 years ago.
The River Esk flows leisurely through Lealholm, spanned by an 18th Century stone bridge beside which stands the village pub. Village life is thriving here with a shop, garage, train station, Post Office, tea rooms, school and churches of various denominations including Catholic, Anglican and Methodist.
The Wesleyan (Methodist) Chapel of 1839 boasts stonework on its gable ends by local stonemason John Castillo, who was also known as the ‘Poet of the Moors’. Beside this Chapel, a footpath leads down to steeping stones across the river – note the tablet on the side of the Chapel that records the height of several devastating floods.