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Hole of Horcum – A Walk of Four Seasons

By Rich Smith   

on January 10, 2017    5/5 (1)

Hole of Horcum – A Walk of Four Seasons

Further Details

Route Summary:

Route Start Location:

11.86 km 269 m

Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.

Activivity Type: Moderate Walk

Summits and Places on this Route


Check out the businesses nearby for more places to stay and drink.


Remember that we cannot outline every single hazard on a walk – it’s up to you to be safe and competent. Read up on Mountain Safety , Navigation and what equipment you’ll need.

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Hole of Horcum – A Walk of Four Seasons Ordnance Survey Map and GPX File Download

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Hole of Horcum – A Walk of Four Seasons

Hole of Horcum & Skelton Tower Circular a walk of four seasons

Rich Smith describes this walk around the Hole of Horcum in North Yorkshire.  

Photography by Rich Smith | Yorkshire Wedding & Landscape Photographer | Blog

The Hole of Horcum is a well known feature within North Yorkshire. It’s easily accessible as the A169 Pickering to Whitby road gives a panoramic view of the full valley but to really appreciate its beauty you have to park the car up and take a walk.

Hole of Horcum & Skelton Tower Circular Route Description

Once parked up and paid up, take care crossing the road and head right with the hole on your left. If you have a dog with you, keep it on a lead here, as the path nears the roadside further on. When you head down to where the road turns around the hairpin towards Whitby, keep to the path and ignore the first left which descends. (Unless you want to walk this in reverse!). Keeping to the bridleway, hop over the style and the track is very pronounced. Keep to this track with more views over the Hole where natural springs have cut into the valley. Passing the 2000 year old earthworks follow this track for approx. 3.5 km until you reach a 5 way marker post at Dundale Pond.

Follow the sign post marked ‘Levisham Station’ for Skelton Tower. Don’t worry, we aren’t going that far. Or if you only put a £1 in the car park meter take the direction of ‘Dundale Griff to Hole of Horcum’.

We’re going for it! After 200 yards or so the path ascends and we are at another junction with a reminder to keep your dog under control. The swaledale moorland sheep probably have it tough enough!

Take the immediate right path. You’ll be pleased you have waterproof footwear if walking in winter. Not far along here you’ll see why it’s worth the walk. As you reach the brow, the trees and forest come into view and your destination, Skelton Tower.

Skelton Tower was built as a shooting lodge in 1830 by the local rector in Levisham. The views stretch nearly 360 degrees. Goathland Moor to the north, the whole of Newtondale to the west and Pickering is to the south.

It’s an incredibly romantic monument, I’d love to be here on a summers night. It would be a perfect spot for a picnic, or in my case a flask of Yorkshire Tea!

Time to track our footsteps back to the five way sign post at Dundale Pond and head down into the Hole of Horcum.

The path follows a steep sided ravine known as Dundale Griff, heading gradually downhill.

At the bottom, you’ll meet Levisham beck and cross the footbridge. Important here not to pass through the gate but head left on the beck side.

Keep heading towards low Horcum and enjoy the views of valley you were once looking down on. Head past the eerie abandoned farmhouse of low Horcum.

At this point I went wrong, and took a slightly longer walk to the right, but you can go straight up and meet the path further uphill.

You’ll find yourself back to the start of the walk, with a short hike back to the car park. Take in the final views of the Hole of Horcum to your right.

Next stop… The pub for a well earned pint!

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