The 'North of England Way' west to east travel blog

Moorland scenery

Crossing the Riccal valley

Blacksmiths arms and St Cedds, Lastingham

19.8 Miles Helmsley to Lastingham

I left my overnight accommodation at 'Redroofs' and as I ascended to the woods above the village the bells of the village church were ringing for Sunday service. The forecast for the day was for rain but in the event there was only to be a little drizzle between 2pm and 3pm.

The days route was a complicated one and in consequence, before the day was out, there was to be a few errors leading to almost 3 miles being added on to the expected walk. That said the route was a pleasant one with a good deal of walking in woodland and up and down a number of valleys. Part of the route followed a popular walking trail the 'Tabular Hills walk'. There was though some very confusing sections around Otterhill Common and Stonely woods leading to a few errors. For the first time on the walk there was a short section across heather covered moorland that charachterises the North Yorkshire area for many people.

However before reaching the pretty village of Hutton Le Hole, the majority of the walk was through steep and attractive wooded valleys. The picture shows a photo taken from near Hasty bank farm of the Riccal valley as I crossed it from one side to another.

Two miles from my destination Hutton Le Hole was a really picturesque moorland village with wide grass banks and wandering sheep and a babbling stream. The village is an ancient one appearing in the great Doomsday survey of 1085-1086.

Passing through the hamlet of Spaunton I was soon at the Blacksmiths Arms pub in Lastingham for my overnight stay. The pub is opposite a church that was built around 1078 on or near the site of a former monastery formed by St Cedd in 654. This was the cradle of northern christianity and the saints remains are now in the atmospheric Norman crypt below the church.

My en suite bedroom in the pub overlooked the church.

Having been given advanced warning the pub stopped serving food at 4.45 on Sundays I tucked into the food purchased the day before in Helmsley, had a nightcap or two and turned in for the night.

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