25 October '20

Cleveland Way: Kildale Forest

As the leaves are turning and we the weather was kind enough to give us some thin sun this past weekend, Sam and I went out to Kildale to tackle a couple of kilometers of Cleveland Way in Kildale Forest.

It's a fairly short walk starting with a steep climb up a paved road and then a long descent through forest. Sam and I got it done in around an hour and a half with a bit of running—it's eminently doable within 2 hours even if you're just walking.

Kildale

We parked in a bit of a grassy layby round a gap in a hedge just west of the little town of Kildale. There were a good few cars parked in the town itself, which felt sort of unnecessary given that the layby could accommodate probably 10 or 15 cars.

Layby outside Kildale
Layby outside Kildale

Down the hill into Kildale proper and we headed right off the main road and up towards Bankside Farm. It's a nice walk through here along the road, punctuated only now and again by cars heading for the parking at the top of the long hill up to Pale End. We passed under a railway bridge and then crossed a field before the climb started.

The road up to Bankside Farm
The road up to Bankside Farm
The view from Bankside: well, I wouldn't turn it down
The view from Bankside: well, I wouldn't turn it down

Keep an eye out for struggling Audis and BMWs up the hill through here. If they stop it's not likely they'll get started again.

Cleveland Way to Captain Cook's Monument

We passed through a couple of weight-limited cattle grids and a small car park at the top of the hill before heading into the forest proper. Easy walk along here: broad trail, minimal incline. Expect lots of dog-walkers along here.

Gate on the Cleveland Way at the top of Pale End
Gate on the Cleveland Way at the top of Pale End

By and by the slope started to wend upwards a bit, and before we knew it the trees fell back and we arrived on the heathy top around Captain Cook's Monument.

Looking up Kildale from the monument
Looking up Kildale from the monument

Views up here are dazzling. Kildale's not particularly deep, but the way it's nestled in a sort of crook of the moors, with the farmland to the northwest and the low hills to the east and southit's absolutely fantastic. Bonus points if you can spot the Cleveland Way leading up the side of Warren Moor off to the south.

Back to Kildale

After a quick couple of selfies, we cut back on the trail down the south side of the hill.

Cuppla selfies with a big ol obelisk-type thing
Cuppla selfies with a big ol obelisk-type thing

Lots of ferns to wade through here, and reasonably steep in places too. We kept heading south down the hill until coming to a stone farm wall, where we met up with the lower trail through Kildale Forest. This trail hooks up with a bit of a gravel road after just a little ways.

The trip back along the trail was lovely. The woods were somehow a lot more sparse down this end of the hill, and mostly broadleaf and swayed and hushed in the winds. Thick carpet of browned leaves and sunlight in shafts. My phone's camera can't quite do it justice.

The forest on the way back.
The forest on the way back.

The trail spat us back out at the bottom of the hill leading up to Bankside Farm, so we made short work of the walk back out on the road (dodging Mercedes wagons as we went), through Kildale, and to the layby where Lil Red was waiting for us.

Timings

Sam and I ran for some of it, but should be very doable within 2 hours.

  1. Start: Kildale Layby11:16
  2. Top of Pale End11:44
  3. Captain Cook's Monument12:02
  4. Bottom of Pale End12:22
  5. Kildale Layby12:36

Total walking time: 1h 20m

Strava available here