Rag Robin Ramble
Stats: 8.9 miles Ascent: 1486 ft (without extension)
Kepwick often has teas and cakes on offer in the summer. However, the best option is nearby Osmotherley. Fantastic tea rooms, a chip shop and two pubs. I can recommend the Queen Catherine for food and atmosphere. It also has a Youth Hostel and a wealth of B & B opportunities.
Thirsk and Northallerton are not too far away, and have even more places to stay.
You’ve guessed it, this route starts with a climb. However, the country landowner has made it easy for you, by tarmacking the narrow lane which winds its way up to the junction with the Cleveland Way.
From there it’s a whizz downhill on an excellent track, a woodland ramble and climb, before returning to the moorland.
The route returns to the junction of the Cleveland Way, where you can either retreat at speed down the lane, or take a right and head down and around through Silton Woods, or take a left and go down and around through Boltby Forest – we’ll leave it to you. We’ve kept it as a dash around route, returning to Kepwick down the lane.
1. Park up in the small car park to the front of the village hall. Head down the village, passing the hall to your right, and continue on the lane that is signed “unsuitable for motors.”
2. A wall of tarmac now meets you, so you will need to be fit in order to tackle this. It is an extremely steep climb – beware. However, if you’re up for it, then the surface is good and the views are great. The lane eventually takes you through a gate with a very expensive stone carved sign asking you to close the gate – oh the landed set – before continuing with slight respite before joining the Cleveland Way on the edge of the Hambleton Hills.
3. At this junction take the track ahead, which initially looks slightly n/e of you, but twists around and takes you across excellent smooth moorland tracks, allowing you to open up and enjoy some speed.
4. Through a gate and with woodland to the left and an excellent view of Hawnby ahead, the track falls steeply, becoming rockier.
5. At Arden Hall, go around the cottages to the left, following the bridleway as it climbs through the wood. This climbs steeply in places, with short sections of respite, before finally going through a gate as you leave the woodland for the moor.
6. At this point the bridleway points left. However, a steep path to the right with an isolated tree on it is the route to take. This may be a ‘get off and walk’ section, but it soon leads up onto the moor top and excellent tracks.
7. As this track joins the well-made moorland double track, keep left (almost straight on), and heading back towards the Hambleton ridge. This route dips and turns before bringing you back onto the Drovers way track. Turn left.
8. A short ride will bring you back to the gate leading down the Rag Robin Road. Descend at speed, or alternatively continue along and descend through Boltby Forest and take the lanes back to the car park.