I’ve been meaning for ages to write some posts about family friendly walks that involve a train trip (also great for keeping kids – young and old! – occupied). Everyone knows that in general old trains are much more fun than modern ones, so this walk involves a good old fashioned steam train ride (for about 15-20 minutes), then 3 miles or so walk predominantly downhill, and a good selection of tea-room or hostelry slots!
My personal recommendation is to park in the North Yorkshire Moors Railway station carpark at Grosmont (fees likely to apply), or in the village overflow carpark. Be warned – Grosmont is accessible only down (and hence later back up) a very steep (30%) road from the main Pickering to Whitby road – this road is well worth the drive as it is very scenic. The other end of the village is accessed on similarly steep roads, but which cross a wide and often deep ford, which can be tricky (and has washed cars away with serious consequences in the past).
From here, depending on the timetable (check the railway website again), a short trainride takes you up to Goathland, or you can make longer trips to Whitby and/or Pickering. Goathland, however is an ideal trip for families with younger children who don’t want to spend too much time on the train. The walk from Goathland is predominantly downhill, although there’s a bit of a rise out of the station, going through the village, which many will recognise as Aidensfield from Heartbeat. The walk is reasonably well signposted, and local guidebooks and other websites have details of directions.
In terms of family-friendliness, much of the walk is accessible to decent buggies, although i haven’t personally tried it with one. I have walked it with a three year old, and also with a 18 month old in a baby carrier – there is nothing en route that causes any problems in those circumstances. The path is well-made, generally pretty wide, and lacking in any nasty drops or eroded sections where footing might be difficult. You get great views over the river, the previous route of the railway, and the current steam railway itself.
In the second half of the walk, there is the option to detour into the tiny and delightful hamlet of Beck Hole, which has a delightful Inn, close by the river, which on last visit served a lovely selection of Ales and traditional Yorkshire snacks (namely pork pie). There is a lovely beer garden, where you can sit and enjoy the birds, and the sound of the river running right past.
There is also a great model shop a little way out of the village (which may be visits by appointment only), for those interested in railway modelling.
Concluding the walk
Returning to the Rail Trail brings you further down through the woods, then alongside the railway line towards the works near Grosmont. Here lies the biggest challenge for the weary family – getting over the hill into Grosmont (as the railway tunnels through). Rest assured, it’s not as big as it looks, and you get some great views of the works and the sation as you head back down past the church into Grosmont.
Grosmont itself is prettily situated in the deep valley of the River Esk, at the confluence of the main river Esk, and the Musk Esk that the walk follows. There are a number of shops, cafes and tearooms (not least those on the station) to help restore energy to the family.
All in all, a well recommended day out for anyone in the Yorkshire Moors area!
Final note – be aware that during these coronatimes, not all services will be available!