Hole of Horcum & Cropton Forest Mountain Bike Route
This is a relatively easy route in the North Yorkshire Moors that takes in the impressive Hole of Horcum as well as Cropton Forest. You will find yourself at times crossing open moorland and at times passing through deep forest on a variety of terrains.
Most intermediate mountain bikers should have no problem with this route as there are no really difficult technical sections to overcome. Just nice clean fun mountain biking. Well, perhaps not clean, this is the moors afterall! Enjoy.
Begin this route at the car park for the Hole of Horcum, which is on the A169 between Whitby and Pickering in the North Yorkshire Moors. Take right out of the carpark, heading north along the road. About halfway down Saltergate Bank (being careful not to go too far because you'll only have to climb back up again), come off the road onto the moor track that passes through a gate. Go through the gate and continue onto Levisham Moor.
Follow this track for 2-3km, it first skirts the edge of the Hole of Horcum before veering off across the moor. Keep going until you pass a small body of water, this is Dundale Pond. The footpath goes right here, but to keep it legal on a bike you must carry on for a short distance (until you reach the first field) before turning right, then follow the edges of the fields which involves taking a right when you get to the first corner and a left at the second. On reaching the north-west corner of this field, the track carries straight on. Follow this until it starts to go downhill, bear right here down the hill until it meets with a more distinct track. Turn left and follow this track down to the minor road at the end.
Take a right and follow the road downhill to Levisham Station. Continue through the station where the track turns to gravel as it enters Cropton Forest. The terrain soon turns back to tarmac. Keep on this forest drive, passing Gallock Hill (farm) and Raper's Farm. You will eventually come to a field on your right. There's a bridleway running along the east edge of the field, take a right off the road and follow it. Take a left onto the track at the other end of the field and follow this as it bends to the right and then sharply left again (ignore the trail leading off to your right here), heading west now.
You will soon arrive at a crossroads. Take a right and then a left at the next crossroads shortly afterwards. Keep going, take a left when you reach a fork in the path and then continue onwards ignoring all paths on either side until you reach Wheeldale Moor and the road at the edge of the woods.
Turn right onto the road and head north until, shortly after leaving the woods behind, you reach a track forking to the right which follows the route of an old roman road. Follow this to the edge of a field, where a rather indistinct path crosses. Take a right and follow this path. It drops down to Wheeldale Beck. Cross the stepping stones and when you reach the corner of the field, continue forward and climb Hunt House Crag onto Howl Moor, ignoring the path that crosses yours.
After a while you will meet bridleway crossing this path, ignore this and continue heading west. You will soon reach the North Yorkshire Moors railway. Cross the railway follow the obvious wide track on the other side. This will take you round the edge of a field and very shortly after this you will meet the A169 again near Eller Beck Bridge. Turn right and follow the road south. Pass RAF Flyingdales, climb Saltergate Bank and you have arrived back at the carpark.
Points of Interest
Forests make up the bread-and-butter for many mountain bikers, and here in the UK we have no shortage of forest with mountain bike access. Head for the woods if the weather turns wet, the ground takes longer to dampen.
Ah, moorland! Vast swathes of the UK are open moorland and the majority of it is open for business for mountain bikes.