This walk takes you from Goathland, past the Mallyan Spout waterfall, and along the rail trail, to reach the the fascinating village of Grosmont. You can then follow the rail trail to walk back the way you came, or make is a circular by walking up across the hills.
Fun fact: Remember Heartbeat? Well, it was set in Goathland.
Another fun fact: Goathland Station was used as one of the stations in Harry Potter.
What I’m going to do in the guide, is first give you a little overview of the walk route from Goathland to Grosmont. Then I will go through the full logistics with a map, as well as useful tips for the walk. I will then describe the route step by step with lots of photos. At the end, I will provide suggestions for other walks near Goathland and Grosmont that I recommend.
For the first chunk of the walk from Goathland to Grosmont, my thought process was ‘this is a nice walk’. Nothing in particular blew me away. The rail trail is interesting (more on that in a minute), but otherwise, I wouldn’t have said there was anything to write home about.
That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it. It was pleasant enough. The sound of the river was very relaxing. It was a peaceful walk….then I arrived in Grosmont, and my whole thought process changed.
Your first sight of Grosmont is from a viewpoint hilltop. This is when my excitement levels started to rise. I didn’t know anything about the place before I went there. All I knew was, that the walk from Goathland to Grosmont along the rail trail was a popular one, so I should try it.
Looking down over Grosmont, I knew there was something different about this place. This was no ordinary village.
Once I arrived down in the valley, the whole thing felt surreal. Like a toy village. A place where time stood still.
Fun fact: Grosmont is known for the discovery of Ironstone back in 1836. It was discovered when the railway was being built.
The rail trail
The rail trail follows the old railway track linking Goathland and Grosmont, and is now a walking path. There are information boards all along the route, telling you a little about the history, and showing you some detours to see stuff.
Mallyan Spout Waterfall
Mallyan Spout is famous for being the tallest waterfall in the North York Moors, with a vertical drop of 70ft. It’s right at the start of the Goathland to Grosmont walk. From the trail start point, it’s about half a mile in.
You will walk over big rocks to get to it, and it looks like you can walk right under it. I stopped short because I didn’t want to get wet.
How long is the walk from Goathland to Grosmont?
From the start of the trail in Goathland, and along the rail trail to Grosmont, is about 3.5 miles. Add just under 1 mile if starting from the car park, and taking the detour to Mallyan Sprout. For the full circular walk, you are looking at about 8 miles.
Is the walk dog friendly?
I would say the walk between Goathland and Grosmont, along the rail trail, is dog friendly. There were a lot of dog walkers about. In some parts, there are signs to keep dogs on leads.
If you decide to walk back to Goathland from Grosmont along the hilltop circular route, then you will walk through a farm, so livestock may be present. I did pass some sheep on the roads. There are no stiles.
Is the walk from Goathland to Grosmont easy?
All in all, I would say the walk is easy. There are a surprising amount of steps (with some mud thrown in) at the start. Nothing crazy though. Once past the steps, the rail trail from Goathland to Grosmont is a level, laid out trail.
There is a hill to climb up and then down, to get to Grosmont in the valley, but again, it’s nothing crazy.
If you want to take the circular route back to Goathland from Grosmont, it is more hilly, and more muddy. But again, nothing too crazy.
There are also signs for the rail trail the whole way, so it would be hard to get lost.
How to get there
Goathland and Grosmont are located in the North York Moors in North Yorkshire. If you are staying in the nearby Whitby, then you can easily get here using public transport.
First you have the northern railway line which runs between Whitby and Middlesborough, stopping at Grosmont. Or you could get a steam train from Whitby to Goathland. That could be really fun. Arriving at the Harry Potter train station. You can find out more about the steam train here.
That would be a cool day out from Whitby. Getting a steam train to Goathland, walking the rail trail to Grosmont, then getting the main train line back to Whitby.
Parking in Goathland
If you do decide to drive here, in Goathland, there is a fairly large pay and display car park. It accepts contactless, and you can pay by the app. At the time of writing, it’s £3.50 for all day car parking. It also has public toilets, with good taps. The ones you press, but they keep water flowing for enough time for you to actually get the soap off your hands.
The car parking price is very reasonable, however, I’m a little bitter about it…
I always look a little harder to find free parking, however, on this occasion, I didn’t bother. Well, I did, but the place I went to was a difficult detour and turned out to be a lie. By the time I got to the car park, I was fed up. I had been driving for 1h30min and wanted to get going on the walk. So I didn’t try and find something else. What I soon discovered, was right by the start of the trail from Goathland to Grosmont, there is a roadside free parking.
This stuck with me for a good mile or two.
- Start/Finish: Goathland
- Where is it: North York Moors in North Yorkshire.
- Public transport: Yes. See further up the page for details.
- Distance: About 8 miles for the circular route
- Time: 3 hours, including a little wander around Grosmont
- Difficulty: Easy
- Terrain: Dirt, mud, steps, road
- Amenities: Goathland has public toilets, a tea room, a bar and restaurant at the Inn on the Moor. Right next to the start of the trail is a restaurant called the Homestead Kitchen. Grosmont has a car park, coffee shop, tea room, and tavern.
- Dog Friendly: Yes.
- Time of year: Early spring
Map for the Goathland to Grosmont circular walk
You can find my more detailed map for the circular walk route from Goathland to Grosmont on AllTrails
Tips for walking from Goathland to Grosmont
- I would suggest hiking boots, as there is a fair amount of mud. First at the start, out of Goathland. Then across the hilltops on the walk back to Goathland from Grosmont. If it’s summer and hasn’t rained for a bit, then it might not be so bad.
- Have a little read of the information boards along the route, as they sometimes tell you of a small detour to take to see something interesting.
- If you want to keep the walk simple, then walk out and back the way you came along the rail trail. If you feel like you want to stretch your legs a bit more, then take the circular route back.
- I have read that you can find bluebells along the trail. Bluebell season is late march-early may.
- Internet in Goathland is poor. So look up anything you need to look up before you get there.
- I did this walk on a weekend, and it wasn’t busy at all. However, I have read the opposite. I suspect the busyness is more during high season and school holidays. So if you want the peace, you should be good if you do the walk in winter.
guide to the Goathland and Grosmont circular walk: Along the Rail Trail
If starting from the main car park in Goathland, walk onto the main road to walk past the village shops.
I can’t continue without saying, how I can’t stop envisaging goats. I had this image of goats wandering the streets. The land of goats. I did see some sheep on the green. Close enough I guess.
To get to the start of the Goathland to Grosmont trail, you need to continue on the road for a little bit, following the sign for Mallyan Spout.
Walk to Mallyan Spout
The trail start, is right next to the Mallyan Spout Hotel. This is when I clocked all the cars parked on the street further past the hotel. I was not happy.
The trail will take you downhill, on a dirt trail, with some nice views ahead. It’s along here where the steps start…and the mud.
Once you reach the river, right takes you to the rail trail. However, turn left to walk to Mallyan Spout waterfall. You will have to walk over some big rocks to get to it.
The main waterfall is a bit hidden. It looks like you can go further to it, maybe even right under it. It looked wet, so I chose not to. I was happy enough with my dry view from here.
Walk to the rail trail
Go back to take the other turning (directing you to Beck Hole). The next section of the Goathland to Grosmont walk route is along dirt trail, on a bit of an uphill gradient, with more steps thrown in.
Once you reach the cottage, turn left, following the signs to Grosmont and the rail trail.
You will be led past the Beck Hole apple orchard project. It was planted in 2009 to celebrate the local schools bicentenary. Each tree has been adopted by a pupil at the school.
Fun Fact: Back in Victorian times, Beck Hole was famous for the Victorian Tea gardens and apple orchids. Visitors would come here, first by horse drawn carriage, and later by steam train.
A short way past the apple trees, you will reach the old Beck Hole railway station. It’s not there now.
The sign asked me if I could hear the ghostly toot of a steam engine, and the chatter of excited passengers.
I listened hard, but couldn’t hear it.
Walk along the rail trail
The majority of the rest of the walk to Grosmont, is along this easy path. Sometimes under the woodland trees, sometimes not.
There are information boards at various points along the walk, telling you a little about the history of the old railway line from Goathland to Grosmont. There are also a few of these around:
At the twin arch bridge, it suggests that you go down the side trail, to take a look at it from below. So I did.
After a bit more woodland, and some more bridges, you will reach another detour suggestion to see some large lumps of abandoned ironstone.
It is thought that this lot got too hot when it was being heated to remove impurities and reduce its weight, resulting in unusable fused ironstone.
After a bit more woodland walking along the rail trail, past a nice wooden bridge (remember this bridge for later), you will reach the village of Esk.
I found it quite odd. Like a regular residential street had been picked up and placed here in the valley.
Walk to Grosmont
After some more walking, you will start to see the end of the railway ahead. You will then walk past it, and up a hill to reach the Grosmont viewpoint. The Esk Valley village and already peaked my interest. This view took it a step further.
It all looked so pretty, which the information board told me wasn’t always the case. Grosmont used to be a noisy industrial hub, filled with blast furnaces working non stop, and tall smoke-belching chimneys.
Once you are finished with the view, follow the dirt path down to the right, and you will be led past the church and down into the village of Grosmont.
My first thought was, ‘this is really cute’. My next was, ‘where is everyone’. It’s one of those cute, time has forgotten places that you would expect to be a hot tourist attraction. But there was hardly anyone there. Just a few other people wandering about.
So I also had a wander.
My wandering led me to a long dark tunnel. This is one of the worlds first passenger railway tunnels, used by horse drawn carriages.
Walking through it, with all the dripping, reminded me a little of the creepy tunnel on the Drake’s Trail walk. Except, that was way way creepier.
Out the other end, I followed the signs to see the workshop viewing gallery. It was all a little confusing, and I started to feel like I was walking somewhere I shouldn’t be. I walked past a bunch of shipping containers, and reached the end where all the trains were parked. I saw a train man working and realised I probably wasn’t meant to walk this far, so quickly hurried back.
Once I got back to safe territory, I noticed this:
I think this might be the viewing gallery. I’m still not entirely sure.
Leave Grosmont to walk back to Goathland
To walk back to Goathland, leave Grosmont the way you came. Keep going, following the rail trail, until you reach the wooden bridge I told you to remember.
Choose your route to Goathland
If you want to stick with the Rail Trail, continue straight. If you want to take the circular route back to Goathland, then turn left over the bridge
The circular walk back to Goathland from Grosmont
Over the bridge, the trail continues on a sort of ridge to take you to and under a railway bridge.
I had a bit of a fright here. Two dogs came running at me, quite aggressively. One proceeded to jump all over me growling and barking. I did expect I would be bitten, and saw my life flash before my eyes, before the owner came and got them.
I was a little shaken by my near death experience. You see, I grew up terrified of dogs. I have a vivid memory of a great dane, bigger than me at the time, galloping towards me in a large field, and climbing up my dad to escape it. It took a lot of time and effort to get over that fear. I was well into my 20’s before I started to feel ok around dogs. I wonder how much this set me back.
(Later I would have another scary dog encounter at Sutton Bank. That one was worse.)
Walk up the hill and through the farm
Follow the trail as it takes you to the right and up the hill, past a tree farm (maybe they will all be grown up when you walk this), and around to the left.
Keep going up, and up some more, and you will reach the dirt road and farm. There are little arrow footpath signs to help you navigate the next bit. Keep an eye out for them.
You should be led up the road and then to the right, which will take you through the farm. This is where the mud got serious.
I had strong feelings that I shouldn’t be walking here, but the arrows told me to go this way, so I had to trust them.
As I made my way through, I heard a dog barking. Without looking, I quickened my pace. I needed to get out of there before the dog got me.
Some way further ahead, the mud path will curve to the right. At this point you stay straight to reach the gate and fields.
Walk through the fields
Next it’s a bit of boggy field walking. Nothing that exciting really. I thought about how I might have preferred to walk back to Goathland from Grosmont along the rail trail. I’m not sure that the hill, all the mud, and the dogs, were worth this.
Then I saw the lumps in the hill ahead. This interested me a little more. I wondered what they were, as I could see nothing marking them on google maps.
One of the information boards I had read, talked about lumps and bumps in a field near Beck Hole. The last remains of the Ironworks. I was near Beck Hole now. Is this what it meant?
Walk through Beck Hole, or over the lumpy hill
You have a few options to walk back to Goathland from here. You can walk up and past those lumps in the hill, or you can walk down and through Beck Hole. I was intrigued by the lumps, and kind of wanted to walk that way. But I also wanted to go to Beck Hole. See what it was about.
I could see on the map, that if I walked down to Beck Hole, there would be a trail that would lead me straight back to the car park on Goathland. I liked that. So I chose to stay on the road to Beck Hole. Hoping it would be worth it.
Walk through Beck Hole
After continuing down the road, which wasn’t that exciting, I started to regret not taking the lumpy hill route. Then out of no where, a sheep appeared in the road ahead. I don’t know why, but it made me laugh.
Then the whole gang appeared.
I was starting to like this route now.
After the sheep, I had a look over the bridge and saw the railway line. Another tick for this route.
You will next walk downhill fairly steeply on a curvy road to reach Beck Hole. It’s a tiny little place. Just a few houses, like a hidden private exclusive village. I wondered how much it would cost to have a home here. Probably lots.
I didn’t take photos of the houses to show you. The whole place felt quite private, so I thought best not.
The trail you want to get onto, turns right just next to one of the houses.
It’s along here that I saw a cute tree lantern. Someone told me, these are used to mark where someones ashes have been scattered. Like a memorial.
Walk back onto the rail trail
Follow the path, and it will lead you back onto the rail trail. You should hopefully recognise where you are now. At this point, turn left, to walk towards Goathland.
The final stretch of the Goathland and Grosmont circular walk
Your route back will differ slightly from how you got here. It starts off the same, but when you reach the cottage, instead of turning right (which will take you to the Mallyan Spout waterfall), continue straight. Even if you parked at the free parking street by the Mallyan Spout Hotel, I would suggest still going straight, so you can go and see Goathland.
This will lead you uphill through woodland. Lots of uphill. More uphill than you would think.
At the road, cross over and pick up the trail on the other side. This will take you all the way back to Goathland and the car park.
As I drove out of Goathland, I passed by the free parking street. Which means I would have passed it on my way in. This made me even more bitter.
More walks near Goathland and Grosmont
The next day, I came back this way and tried the Hole of Horcum route. It’s a wonderful walk (which you can read about here) taking you around and through a giant natural amphitheatre. It’s not a challenging walk, but it is more difficult than this one from Goathland to Grosmont.
If you head to the coast, just south of Whitby, I recommend you try the walk to Ravanscar. It’s not too tough, and you go through Robin Hood’s Bay, which is really cute. You might also get to see lots of seals.
Right in the heart of the North York Moors, you have this circular walk from Rosedale Abbey. Like the Goathland to Grosmont walk, it takes you partly along the old railway line, with remnants of the industrial past along the hills.
If you like views, then you must go to Sutton Bank. I was able to see as far as the Yorkshire Dales on that one. Next to Sutton Bank, you have the Kilburn White Horse. You can make the Sutton Bank circular longer by including the White Horse, or you could do this short and easy circular route just to see the horse.
For many more walks I recommend, you can see them all on my guide on the best walks in the North York Moors.
Pin it for later: Goathland to Grosmont walk along the rail trail
You can find more information about the area on the North York Moors website.