Helmsley Beckdale Ashdale Round
Helmsley is a lovely tourist market town in North Yorkshire. There are plenty of shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants to go at. Market day is held on every Friday in the square where Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s gothic memorial to the second Baron of Feversham and a stone market cross dominate.
Hemsley has a ruined castle dating back to 1120 when then it was a wooden fortress. In 1186 Robert de Roos began to convert it in to a stone castle, he added 4 towers to the south side and a main gateway. When he died 1227 his son William who lived there for 31years only added a chapel in the courtyard. The next William to inherit in 1285 built a new hall, kitchens and reinforced defences. He then divided the castle into two parts, north and south. In 1478 it was sold to Richard, Duke of Gloucester, then after the Battle of Bosworth it was returned back to now Edmund Roos by King Henry V11. Edmund died 1508. The castle then went to Edmunds cousin, Sir George Manners it then went through many generations before alterations were made. The 3rd earl of Rutland converted the hall into a Tudor mansion house and the chapel into a kitchen and the new hall was demolished. By 1632 it passed into the hands of the 1st Duke of Buckingham. In 1644 it was then besieged by Sir Thomas Fairfax who, after the battles of the English Civil War, dismantled most of the castle and only the Tudor mansion remained. Then the 2nd Duke of Buckingham took up residence, he died in 1687, and was then sold to Charles Duncombe and then passed to his brother in law Thomas. Thomas did not like the castle so he hired Sir John Vanburgh to build a mansion at nearby Duncombe Park. Helmsley castle soon fell into decay and is still owned by the Duncombe family in the care of English Heritage.
The Walled Garden, open to visitors, was built in 1756 and this five-acre landscape, set against the backdrop of Helmsley Castle and Duncombe Park, is being restored back to life.
Duncombe Park, just near the bridge over the River Rye, is an estate and parkland designated a National Nature Reserve and is one of the finest restored houses in Yorkshire, another great place to visit.
Also in Helmsley just near the castle there is part of the Cleveland Way to Rievaulx Abbey, which is a Gothic ruin. This walk is approx 3 miles each way.
We park in one of the side streets in Helmsley and make our way to the Market place. We then go through an alley way next to the Royal Oak pub, over the bridge, and then turn right onto the Stokesley road following the beck and passing the church and HSBC bank until we reach a footpath on the right between two cottages. Taking this footpath, still following the beck, we go over the bridge and then at the track we turn left, go past the saw mill, through Beck Dale and Collier Hag Wood (approx 2.5miles) following the footpath to the right at a hut and sign, through the pheasant pens and then the footpath goes up a steep hill on the right. Near the top of the steep hill, take the left footpath into the wood and open fields appear on our right. We take the next footpath through a gate on the right, going over a field keeping the fence on our left and then over a stile we turn right to the end of the next field and then left along the fence to the road. We turn right onto the road for a short way then turn left down a footpath (track), through a gate and into the wood and then bearing to the right take the right hand track sign posted Helmsley. We follow this footpath through Ash Dale until we come to a sign post where we take the right one and go through a gate into a field. We follow the arrows, turning right, then left, then right and then left again through the fields and then after passing the cemetery on our right we then follow the little road straight ahead into Helmsley Market Place.
This is an easy walk with only one steep incline at the end of Collier Hag Wood.
Approx 6.5miles using map OS OL26
Helmsley – North Yorkshire
From York take the A19 to Thirsk and then the A170 to Scarborough. Helmsley is situated on the A170.
Toilets and Refreshments
The only public toilets are in Helmsley, just off the Market Place and for refreshments there are plenty of pubs, cafes and delis.