This walk takes you from Rosedale Abbey, and through the valley, before climbing up to Blakey Ridge. After which, you will follow the old railway track to walk back to Rosedale Abbey.
You would be forgiven for thinking there is an abbey. There is not. It’s just the name of the village. Rosedale Abbey is a quiet little place, and a perfect base for walks if you want peace and tranquility. In fact, even though I did this walk on a summer weekend, I passed less than a handful of people on the whole route.
Rosedale Abbey wasn’t always this way though. It was once a noisy, sooty, industrial hub, and home to nearly 5000 miners….
What I’m going to do in this guide, is first give you an overview of the Rosedale Abbey walk, with full logistics, a map, and useful tips. Then I will go on to describe the walk step by step with photos. At the end, I will provide suggestions for other walks near Rosedale Abbey.
What to expect on the Rosedale Abbey walk
Starting from the centre of Rosedale Abbey, you will first have to walk through a caravan park. After which, you will be on a trail leading you through the valley and many fields, with views of the grand ridge to your left, and hills with the remnants of the industrial past to your right. It feels like a real proper countryside walk (well…it is). On this whole stretch, I passed absolutely no one (except a farmer).
You will then walk up a pretty big hill to reach Blakey Ridge. It’s not too cruel though, and does wind you up, rather than forcing you straight up. Then of course, just like any good hill climb, you will be rewarded with fantastic far reaching views. Oh, and you also have a pub up here, which marks the halfway point in the Rosedale Abbey walk.
After Blakey Ridge, you will first walk along the Farndale Railway, surrounded by moorland and views down the other side of the valley. Then you will walk along the Rosedale Railway for a solid chunk, before walking down to Rosedale Abbey.
The Rosedale Railway
You don’t walk along an actual railway, but rather the railway track bed.
Fun fact: This railway was used in the 19th century to carry iron ore from the mines and kilns on both sides of the valley.
The railway was built by navvies (navigators), who lived in communal turf huts alongside the railway. They had to work pretty hard using only pick, shovel, and wheelbarrow. The hard work was noticed though, as they weren’t considered highly by the Victorian society, who thought them to be immoral and dangerous.
The railway section, when walking back to Rosedale Abbey, wasn’t my favourite bit. I mean, it was cool for a moment, and the views are really something. But it goes on for a long time, and does start to become a bit samey. This is what the trail looks like for a long time:
I did really enjoy the very last bit though, descending down off the ridge into Rosedale Abbey.
How long is the Rosedale Abbey walk?
The full Rosedale Abbey circular walk is 10.4 miles. It took me about 3h 30min to complete.
Is the walk challenging?
I would rate the Rosedale Abbey walk as easy-moderate. The route itself is easy, and the hill isn’t too bad. I have elevated it towards moderate though, due to the length.
Is the Rosedale Abbey walk dog friendly?
If you have a dog, and want to walk the full circular from Rosedale Abbey, there are a few things to be aware of. First, there is lots of livestock pretty much the whole way. There are also quite a few stiles, and a ladder.
The Rosedale Railway section of the walk doesn’t have stiles, and there is parking up there, near to Blakey Ridge. So you could just head up there if you wish. I know I said it’s not my favourite bit of the walk, but the views are great, and I did enjoy it for a bit.
Parking in Rosedale Abbey
There is no official car park in Rosedale Abbey. You just park on the street, which is free.
- Start/Finish: Rosedale Abbey
- Where is it: Rosedale Abbey is located right in the heart of the North York Moors National Park. Post code for the tea room at the centre of the village is YO18 8SA.
- Distance: 10.4 miles
- Time: 3h 30min
- Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
- Terrain: Dirt trail, rocks and gravel, grass, stiles, a little bit of road, a ladder.
- Time of year: I walked there Rosedale Abbey circular in summer
- Amenities: In Rosedale Abbey there is a small store and tea room, a cafe and a pub. At the halfway point in the walk, is the Red Lion pub.
Map for the Rosedale Abbey walk via Blakey Ridge and the Railway
You can find my more detailed route map for the Rosedale Abbey walk on Alltrails.
To explore more walks across the North York Moors, you can read about all the best routes I recommend here.
Route description for the Rosedale Abbey Walk
Starting from the main green in Rosedale Abbey, walk into the graveyard opposite the abbey store. Follow the path around the church and out the other side.
This is where I first saw the big hill, and my excitement levels rose a bit. I knew I would be up there later on, when walking along the railway back to Rosedale Abbey. Mr Hill was waiting for me.
Through the gate, go directly opposite, and through the next gate across the road. This will lead you to the caravan park.
At the road, turn right. Follow it past the playground, then when you reach the fork, take the right.
Then when you reach the next lot of caravans, instead of following the road to them, take the little gate to the side. There may or may not be a tractor there. This will get you onto the start of the trail.
Walk through the valley
You now follow this trail straight for some time, across some hill fields, with a view to the big hill to your left.
The trail will lead you into some woods, then at the junction in the woods, take the middle one (the left one in the second photo below).
This will lead you back into the open fields, where you follow a grass trail.
When you reach the gate, there should be a yellow arrow pointing straight/diagonal right. Follow this.
When I reached this field, I could see some animals in the distance, and I just couldn’t figure out what they were. They looked sheep shaped, but too big to be sheep. So maybe cows shaped like sheep? As I wasn’t sure, I decided to walk along the edge of the field, so I had a quick escape over the fence if needed. A barbed wire fence of course.
As I got closer, I realised they were definitely sheep, so I could relax a bit now. But I could see why I wasn’t sure what animal they were. These are not a breed of sheep I’m used to. They look more like teddy bears.
Through the gate at the other side of the field, turn left, and follow the trail down to the next gate.
Through here you will have a dirt type trail to follow, which sort of disappears a short way along. When that happens, just follow the edge of the trees around to the left, to reach the stile and bridge.
There is a trail signpost here pointing left. Ignore that. Instead, follow the yellow arrow on the fence pointing diagonal right.
This arrow directs you up the little hill, and to the right of the farm house. I hate farm houses. Ever since I got chased by a farm dog. So my guard was up. Then I heard them. The dogs. I quickly backed down the hill.
After some back and forth, trying to work out another way, I peaked back up the hill and saw that a dog was contained in a big cage. I was safe. So I proceeded back up the hill, wondering why the dog was in a cage. Was it a dangerous dog? Now I started to envision the dog breaking out of the cage. Then I saw another dog. Not contained. I quickened my pace to get to the next gate before it ‘attacked’.
The mini woods
Through this gate, you will be engulfed by woods and bushes. I found it quite pretty with all the flowers, although, I was a bit on edge still. With the sounds of the dogs barking in the background. I hurried through this bit, just incase the dogs found me.
There is stile through here, and then a ladder to get into the field.
Once in the field, go straight up a short way, then turn left to walk all the way to the top of the hill, and through a gate to reach the road. At the road, turn right.
The next section of the Rosedale Abbey walk route, will be on this road for some time. I did really enjoy this bit. It’s not a regular car road. But rather, the road for the farmers.
For some parts, you will have views all around of the surrounding hills, and some parts are more enclosed by tall hedges.
Some way along, you will pass a sign directing you for the Rosedale walk. It was nice to know I was on the right track.
You will also start to see some of the old industrial buildings up the hill to your right. I didn’t know what these were yet.
(Later on, when walking along the railway, back to Rosedale Abbey, there is an information board that tells you about them. They are kilns and a water tower).
When you reach the farm house, take the right path at the junction.
Cows and more fields
You will now be on a path alongside a rugged stone wall.
So far on this Rosedale Abbey walk, I had seen a lot of cows. Always contained in a different field. So I was safe. The next cows were not contained.
I could see them ahead, seemingly separated from me by stone wall, so when I saw a big gap in the wall, I froze. The cows saw me and stared. All menacing looking.
I waited to see their next move. They didn’t move. They just stared. So I crept passed really really slowly. Hoping that if I was slow enough, I would be invisible to them.
Once I was passed, I quickened my pace, occasionally looking back to make sure they weren’t following me.
Staying on this main path, once through the next gate, as I was closing it, I noticed the bull sign for where I had just been. So glad I hadn’t seen this before.
You now walk straight across the field edge. For the next bit you will walk though a series of gates, and across more fields, following the track, all the way to reach the road.
At the road, turn left, then a short way up, at the junction at the houses, turn left and through a gate to get back onto the trail.
Walk up the hill to Blakey Ridge
Now you have a solid bit of uphill walking to reach Blakey ridge. It’s a little rugged in parts, and curves you up back and forth. I stopped a lot to ‘look at the views’.
When you reach the big junction, turn right. This is the Rosedale Railway, although you will only be walking on it for a short while for now.
As you continue along the Rosedale Railway trail, look out for a rugged side trail to the left, and go up it.
After a bit more rugged uphill, you should start to get a glimpse of the rooftops, just before you reach the road.
Blakey Ridge and the halfway point in the Rosedale Abbey walk
Across the road is the pub. The timing of it actually works out quite perfectly. Apart from it marking the halfway point in the Rosedale Abbey walk, it is the highest point in the route. Then the rest of the walk back to Rosedale Abbey, is mostly on easy path. So you don’t have anything too aggressive to deal with after, if you decide to have a good lunch here.
Just past the pub, you should see a stone up the hill. Go up to that. I wondered if I would get a grand view once up there. This is what I got instead:
I mean, it is grand. Just not the kind of grand I was expecting. I imagine if the heather was in bloom, it would actually be quite wonderful.
Follow the Farndale Railway back towards Rosedale Abbey
Now, follow the path as it guides you alongside the wall (wall to your left), and you will reach the Farndale Railway trail. Turn left here.
These are the views I was expecting. Far reaching sweeping hillside and valley views.
When you reach the trail signpost, turn left onto the road, then go straight across it, to reach the Rosedale Railway.
Walk along the Rosedale Railway
When you reach the Rosedale Railway trail, turn right. For a long time now, the path is something like this:
The views down into the valley are really great, better than they look in the pictures. Although after a while, it did start to all feel a bit samey. Same path. Same views.
I was quite happy when I reached some ruins. Something new.
This is the Sheriff’s Pit.
After some more of the same, you will start to get a view down to the village of Rosedale Abbey. It’s the caravan park which gives it away.
Walk down to Rosedale Abbey
At the big junction, take the path to the left, then go onto the grass trail to the left of the big tree with a swing.
Some way further down, there is another trail you want to get on, off this main one. You might miss it. I did.
For reference, when you see the fence, you want to be walking to the left of it, so the fence is to your right.
The trail is obvious when you find it:
Everything started to become a lot more pretty down here. Looking over the cherry blossoms, down to a tiny little village nestled within some trees in the valley below.
The trail will lead you over a stile, and then down a very steep rugged bit, to reach a gate and footpath sign.
Go through the gate, and straight down the hill. Look out for the wooden gate to the right, which will lead you through a small golf course.
Go straight across, and around the building ahead, turning left to reach the road.
Go downhill some more
At the road, there is a small gap straight across in the bushes on the other side. Go through it, and then all the way down to the other end of the big field.
Just next to the house at the bottom, is a stile, and then some surprise steps just after.
When you reach the road, turn left, to walk back to the centre of Rosedale Abbey.
More walks near Rosedale Abbey
If you like a bit of history, then this walk from Goathland to Grosmont also takes you along an old railway line. It’s a much more gentle route, and there are information boards all the way, telling you about the past.
If you want to see an actual abbey, then you might like this walk from Helmsley to Rievaulx Abbey. It’s much shorter, and a good one for families.
Not too far away from Rosedale Abbey, you can walk the Hole of Horcum. This is a good one to do if you like impressive views.
Another cool one for views, is the Roseberry Topping circular. It looks scary with it’s pointy peak, but it’s not at all.
If you want more moorland walks, then you should try this route to the Wainstones. It’s one of my favourites out this way, and takes you across the highest moor in Yorkshire.
Pin it for later: Rosedale Abbey and Railway walk guide
You can find out more about things to do in the North York Moors on the National Parks website.