This walk is about 3km long and can take between 1 to 2 hours depending on your pace and how many stops you make.
Please note that some sections are difficult under foot, specifically very muddy and in places the path is unstable/rocky under foot. Given it is a dale, it can be subject to rapid flooding after heavy rain – when this happens, please take the road back.
This short and enjoyable walk takes in King Alfred’s Cave, the local pinfold, where stray sheep were kept and released (for a fee). There is a cracking spot for a picnic and a walk down Netherby Dale (sometimes referred to Ebberston Dale) from which some of the stone for the village and no doubt Cliff House were quarried from.
Start by turning right out of the main entrance to Cliff House. Head up the road, keeping an eye out for traffic until you get to the grassy/meadow area on the left. Take a moment to read the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s sign about Chafer Wood. Take this little path up hill. On your left you will pass the village pinfold, where stray sheep from Ebberston were rounded up and kept. The sheep were only released on a payment of a fee. Keep going and you will join the main path – some maps mark this as Stanishon Road. Keep following this old lane up, it can be a bit tiring, so don’t hesitate to stop and look through the trees to your left at the views across the Vale of Pickering on to the Yorkshire Wolds on the other side of the Vale
You’ll get to a right hand bend, keep going up and the land to the right opens up revealing a view up to King Alfred’s Cave. It is near here that an old Northumbrian King by the name of Alfred hid in a cave following a battle – probably if you look at maps at a place marked as “Bloody Field”. The cave was subsequently rediscovered and Neolithic human bones were found in it. The cave has been capped off and this nearby memorial cairn, now called cave commemorates the occasion of the King hiding nearby.
After a visit to the cave, rejoin the path and keep walking through the woodland, keeping an ear out for the birds that you may hear. Maybe borrow the binoculars from your cottage and one of our birding guides to see what wildlife there is? Keep going until you come to the edge of the woodland, there is a kissing gate/stile to your right – go through it. After a few meters, the path takes a sharp turn to the left, stop and look to your right there is a clearing. In spring it is full of cowslip and then bluebells and makes a perfect spot for a picnic.
Carry on following the path, with the field boundary wall on your left and the woodland sloping away to your right. As you’ve gained a fair bit of height by now, you will come across some steps on this part of the walk. Keeping going until you come across a way marker. Here, you can either go straight on and join the road (recommended in heavy rain) and walk down hill or take the steps down on to the floor of Netherby Dale and start walking down.
On the way down Netherby Dale keep any eye out for the old quarry workings. There’s no doubt that parts of Cliff House and its outbuildings would have been quarried here. In times of heavy rain, this steep sided dale becomes a funnel for water coming off the plateau above. In 1910 there was severe flooding of the village of Ebberston. Now a days towards the bottom of the Dale you will see traps put in place to catch/slow down any water that comes down the Dale.
On your walk look at the flowers and trees around you. What do you see? In the early spring the woodland is full of wood anemone. As you near the end of the walk and you rejoin the Netherby Dale Lane, you will see the Ebberston Beck emerging on your right. If you follow this beck away from the road, you will see that its source is spring in the hill side. Even after 3 months of little or no rain (in Spring 2020) it still constantly fed the beck that runs along the side of Cliff House.
Carry on past the the wood land garden of Cliff House (on your left) and you will be back at the main entrance to Cliff House.
For more walks from Cliff House, please visit our walks home page.