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Wednesday Wander Battersby Plantation 13/03/24

Thanks to everyone who came for a wander on Wednesday from Bank Foot, which is situated half a mile outside of Ingleby Greenhow. Our route took us up Ingleby Bank via the main track which is shown marked with green spots on Ordanance Survey mapping, this means it is designated as an other route with public access, quite often substantial enough for off road vehicles to travel on. Before reaching the top we turned southwards and followed a forestry track into Battersby Plantation. Now managed by Forestry England the whole area was once part of the lands belonging to Ingleby manor. Ingleby is mentioned in the Domesday book of 1086 as having a population of 3 households and was held on behalf of the crown by a man called Uhtred. The forestry path follows the line of the escarpment which forms part of the high ground known as tidy brown hill which rises up to over 400 metres near to Burton Howe. After about half a mile the track climbed steeply upwards and became narrow and we had to thread our way through a spiders web of fallen trees. Many of which appeared to be recently toppled. Just below the Ridgeline we came across the remains of an old sandstone quarry. Some of the large boulders had the remains of iron pilings protruding from them. It is likely they were driven into the stone as part of a winch and pulley tramway system used to take the quarried blocks down the hillside, once at the bottom the blocks would have been taken away via the Rosedale Railway. As we pushed on through the quarry the path narrowed further and became indistinct in places until it eventually ended where it met a dry stone wall which had bee built running East to West up the hillside. The wall itself was in remarkably good condition considering it was probably built in the late 18th or early 19th century. For most of its length it was fully intact and even still had the coping or face stones running along the top row. When the penultimate layer of stones are laid flat and overhanging one side of the wall it is often done to denote who has responsibility for the wall, i.e when the wall is laid out on a land ownership boundary. Descending steeply downwards along the line of the wall we passed what looked like two sections of an old bridge. Again, presumably left over from the aforementioned quarrying activity, and most likely another part of the system used to ferry the stone to the railway below. At the point where the wall intersected with a forestry track we crossed a gate and followed a footpath paralleling the main track leading to Incline Cottages. This path was fairly well defined and clearly used on a regular basis, though in the summer it would be thick with bracken and much harder to follow. In early March it was very wet, channels of water flowing off of the ridge line down into depressions and level parts of the hillside wet and boggy patches of marsh formed which sucked and pulled at our trainers as we negotiated them in the bobbing light of our head torches , in days gone by it would have been labelled as swang, which is from Old Norse for low lying or marshy ground

We continued on this path for about a mille along a fence line , which was the dividing line between the plantation and the open moorland,until it emerged from the trees adjacent to a gate about halfway up Ingleby Incline. The incline was part of the railway system that had been laid between Battersby and the iron ore mines on Rosedale Head. From here we headed down the incline until we branched off onto another forestry track. It had been well used by either forestry vehicles or off roaders and was muddy, wet, sloppy, and rutted which made staying upright quite a challenge, which on this occasion everyone rose to, even yours truly didn't fall over .

A mile or so of mud filled rut hopping later we arrived back at the other route access track which took us back to our start point. After a quick wash and brush up some of us rejoined to the Dudley Arms for a refreshing snifter.

It was a good wander just under 6 miles on some new tracks with plenty of what makes the North York Moors such a special place to run in . Certainly one to revisit when the evenings draw out.

Until next week trot on. 💪🦍


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