Start with your back to the car park vehicle entrance, cross the car park diagonally left (passing the main noticeboards on your right) to reach a tall waymarker board (also on your right). This marks the start of the Woodcock Way Trail, which is waymarked with orange discs with black arrows. Join the narrow path winding up the steep grass bank. At the top, cross over the forest drive and join the stone vehicle track just to your left. This track leads you past a vehicle barrier and climbs gently through the trees. Part way along you will pass an orange disc, confirming your route. Ignore the grass track to your right here. At the next waymarker, turn right, following the stone track which continues to climb. The track leads you past a picnic bench on your left and then levels off as it crosses the top of Yondhead Rigg. The track begins to descend and leads you to a turn in the track, with grass paths to your right and the stone track continuing to your left.
Turn left here to continue on the stone track (as directed by the orange waymarker). You will come to a fork with a bench ahead, take the right-hand branch. Follow this stone track bearing steadily right and then left. At the next junction, ignore the track to your right. Instead go straight ahead and, at the end of this track, you will come to a T-junction with another vehicle track. There are beautiful views through the trees ahead. This marks the junction with the Tabular Hills Path, although there is no signage on the ground for this.
Do not follow the orange waymarker, instead turn left and follow the stone track with dense woodland on your left. Through the trees on your right are far reaching views across the North York Moors. This landscape was formed 10,000 years ago, by glacial melt-water eroding down through the rocks. In more recent times, manmade changes through creation of woodland plantations and grazing pastures, have led to the development of this patchwork of heath moorland and forest. At about 2 o’clock you will be able to see Blakey Topping, an isolated hill with an associated legend of a local giant who threw this handful of earth at his wife. Behind this you will catch occasional glimpses of the white wedge-shaped building of the radar at RAF Fylingdales, a radar base and part of the early-warning ballistic missile detection system.
You will eventually see a gate crossing your path ahead of you, about 150m before this there is a signposted footpath leading into the trees on your left, follow this. After passing through a gate continue onto the open moorland for about about 10m until you reach vehicle. Turn left and follow the track with the tree line to your left and the moorland to your right. Eventually the track bends to the left to re-enter the forest at a gate.
Continue along the track which after a short while retraces your steps back to the carpark.
Anni Wilson and Duke for the December 2020 Newsletter