THE walk follows the river from Goathland to Grosmont through some attractive woodland. A steep climb then takes you up on to the moors and with a high level return and outstanding views.

The walk is done to the backdrop of steam trains on the Pickering to Whitby line.

It is possible to start at either Goathland or Grosmont. I prefer Goathland for the dramatic conclusion to the walk as it drops back in to the village. From the car park next to the information point head north (towards Darnholm) along a road for 200 metres to a footpath sign on your left for the Rail Trail. The two-and-a-half miles to Grosmont along the old cinder railway track (the original built in 1836 was initially used for horse drawn carriages) is a pleasure to walk on, easy on the feet and gradually downhill.

The path passes through mixed woodland, alongside a pretty stream with various nods to the original railway line (the new one lies to your right, higher up and is only seen towards the end of the Rail Trail).

After the first mile a track to your right leads in to the small hamlet of Beck Hole (worth the detour), pretty with a small pub and the gateway to nearby Thomason Foss, a pretty waterfall.

As the trail approaches Grosmont there is a row of old but classic railway houses on your right. Further on is an old engine house with some rusted old trains, a fascination for those with an interest in the line. The path climbs a little near the engine shed before dropping down in to the pretty village of Grosmont. Peaceful now, the village grew up in the early 19th century after the discovery of iron in the nearby hillside. The railway dominates the village, Grosmont being the junction of the commercial Esk Valley railway to Teesside and the heritage line from Pickering to Whitby.

The heritage line runs volunteer staffed steam trains throughout the year and when one is in (they run roughly every two hours) it is a great site. It is worth having a cup of tea at the station if a train is due.

Head east from the station, climb steeply up the Whitby road. After 300 metres take the right fork on to a quieter road and continue climbing. The views open up brilliantly up here towards the sea and the north. It is also part of the Coast to Coast walk, for many long distance walkers the final climb of a near 200 mile trek. After one mile the road splits as it enters some high moorland. A footpath to your right heads south over the moors. This is the next stage of the walk.

For half a mile the path sticks near a wall before dropping steeply in to a small river gully. The 200 foot climb that follows brings you to a farm/holiday cottage complex at Greenlands. The path circles around to the west of little Arundel Hill before continuing south across open moorland. It is a fine panorama and typical of much of North York Moors. There are great views in all directions including the military base at Fylingdales.

After crossing a moors road the path drops down towards the small community at Darnholm. Rather than cross the river keep to the path to the east of the railway for a further ½ mile till it arrives just above Goathland Station. It is most famous as the film set for Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films. Cross the train line over the bridge and climb back to the centre of the village passing the garage used for the filming of Heartbeat on your right.

Fact File

Distance: Roughly 7.5 miles

Height to Climb: 410m (1,345 feet).

Start: NZ 836014. There is parking with toilets in the centre of Goathland.

Difficulty: Medium/Hard: The Rail Trail is very easy but it is a steep climb up on to the moors which can be a bit wild in bad weather.

* Jonathan Smith runs Where2walk, a walking company in the Yorkshire Dales. He has published two books on the Dales, ‘The Yorkshire 3 Peaks’ and ‘The Dales 30’ mountains. Available direct from the Where2walk website.