INLAND from Scarborough is an area of woodland, fields and isolated farmsteads known collectively as Harwood Dale. It is more of a bowl rather than a traditional dale. The joys of a visit over the holidays is its peace, tranquillity and a break from too many ‘relatives’.

Harwood Dale itself is tricky to find. From Burniston north of Scarborough take a left hand turn off the A171 and follow the unclassified, road for nearly four miles to the church in the small array of houses that make up Harwood Dale.

St Margaret’s Church is modern, built in 1862, to replace the chapel ruins one mile to the north west. It is well set in open countryside.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Harwood Dale church Harwood Dale church (Image: Jonathan Smith)

Park near the church and head north to a road bend, take to the lane directly ahead. After 300 metres a path crosses the lane, take the left fork and head across fields and alongside a wall for half a mile to meet a road opposite the old church. It is worth having a good look round.

Head south along the road past the old Mill pub to a junction in the road. Turn right, then right again along a minor road and head west to Lownorth Bridge. To the right of the bridge is the remains of a Bailey Bridge, installed to serve the nearby military camp. The present stone bridge is on a bend so maybe that is why it was built.

Just past the bridge a lane heads off to your left alongside Harwood Beck. The lane leads to a cycle/adventure park From the far end of the park I climbed north along the public right of way and returned via some of the cycle tracks to Lownorth Bridge. It certainly adds something different to the walk!

From the south side of Lownorth Bridge a bridlepath climbs steeply south in to some attractive woodland. Above the woodland and before reaching the heavier and less attractive looking forestry a footpath heads east along the side of the escarpment.

The views north over Harwood Dale are superb, a picturesque scene. To the north the forest overlooks and encloses the dale. This is the northern fringes of the large and dense Dalby Forest, one of the largest areas of forestry in Yorkshire. However it is also used as an adventure playground with many tracks and cycling routes.

After 400 metres, the path crosses a wall and starts to drop back down in to the dale. It soon reaches a road. Cross the road and the path continues through farmland to Keas Beck.

Turn right for 150 metres, cross the streams to its north side and then continue heading just north of east. The path and Keas Beck arrive at a farm track. Turn left on the track and follow it back the short distance to the church.

The Grainary at Keasbeck Hill Farm with its excellent café is half a mile along the road to the east.

* Fact Box:

Distance: Roughly six miles.

Height to Climb: 310m (1,017 feet)

Start: SE 962958. Park on the road near the church. Alternatively, the Grainary may allow you to park there, but do ask and do pop in for tea and cake afterwards!

Difficulty: Easy/Medium. Some rougher paths and a couple of short uphill sections.

Refreshments: The Grainary café at Keasbeck Hill Farm. Alternatively drive to Cloughton, five miles away.

Be Prepared: The route description and sketch map only provide a guide to the walk. You must take out and be able to read a map (O/S Explorer OL27) and in cloudy/misty conditions a compass.

You must also wear the correct clothing and footwear for the outdoors. Whilst every effort is made to provide accurate information, walkers head out at their own risk.

* Jonathan runs Where2walk, a walking company based in the Yorkshire Dales:

He has published three books on walking in the Dales; ‘The Yorkshire 3 Peaks’, ‘The Dales 30’ mountains and the ‘Walks without Stiles’ book. All these books (and more) are available direct from the Where2walk website.

Book a Navigation (Map and Compass Skills) Training day near Settle or a bespoke day for a private group. The first available day or 2024 is March 23.

New 'Dales 30 Weekenders' in Hawes & Sedbergh. also features hundreds of walks across Yorkshire and beyond, from easy strolls to harder climbs.