I awoke to a lovely sunny morning so once I'd packed the kids off to school I pulled out the maps and turned my mind to the moors.
As I was pulling my boots on the terrier was sitting expectantly by the front door staring at his lead. Sadly I had to leave him behind. I was heading to Battersby Moor, the moor is open access land but dogs are not allowed.
I parked up at Ingleby Greenhow next to the lovely church and headed out across the fields to Bank Foot Farm. There is a hint of the imminent arrival of spring in the fields. The hedgerows are begining to bud and you can spot the lovely yellow flowers of lesser celandine and the occasional daffodil poking through the grassy banks.
Battersby Moor is situated on the northern edge of the North York Moors escarpment. There are easier ways to access it than walking from Ingleby but the only way you can really experience how the crags dominate the fertile farm land below is to walk up from the base.
Once at Bank Foot you have two choices. You can turn right and walk up to the moors along the Ingleby incline, an old railway incline which was used to send tubs of ironstone down from the moors. The tubs were then tipped into wagons and the stone was sent to blast furnaces of Middlesbrough.
Alternatively you can walk through the farm and follow the old track that runs up the side of Ingleby Bank. The track is steep but gets you there in half the time. There is a public footpath that runs up the bank through the conifer plantation, this is the shortest route but is currently closed due to forestry operations.
Once on the moor you should take the left hand path walking past a pair of posts with a chain slung across them. Before you strike out across the moor you should walk to the edge of the crags and drink in the view. The whole northern edge of the North York Moors Escarpment in laid out before you along with the beautiful fertile Vale of Cleveland.
The walk to the Cross Ridge Dyke is fairly easy going, the paths are well made keepers tracks and eventually join the long distance path of the Cleveland Way. There are lots of stone outcrops on the surrounding moor giving plenty of opportunities for cup mark hunting. I found a few very weathered cup marks on these stones but cannot really say whether they are natural erosion features or genuine cup marks. In The North York Moors, An Introduction, Stanhope White described a rock cut basin at NZ6100069, I was unable to find this stone.
The Cross Ridge Dyke is not a huge feature, if your visiting the area the thing to look out for is the standing stone on the crest of the dyke. The dyke itself runs SE-NW for approximately 200m. It runs from a marshy area in the south east, across the ridge and the modern path and then heads down the bank where it is lost in a jumble of modern ditches. The bank itself is composed of earth and stones with a ditch on the southern side. There are a couple of large stones on top of the bank which may indicate that this dyke was once lined with stones in a similar manner to the Bridestones at Commondale http://www.themodernantiquarian.com/site/5506. Blaise Vyner has this to say about the monument
"The area defined may lie to the north, where a damaged barrow lies some 300m distant; there are no other monuments in the vicinity. This earthwork is not typical of the group, since, although it runs across a well-defined ridge, no trace of a second earthwork is seen and it is not clear what area may originally have been marked off. It may be the rising ground to the north, beyond the visible burial mound, was thought a sufficient boundary."
The brides of place: cross-ridge boundaries reviewed.
Moorland Monuments. CBA Research Report 101 1995.
The dyke is well worth a visit, the site affords some lovely views across the Vale of Cleveland, the northern moorland escarpment and Basedale. The moor is essentially a heather moor but there are also marshy areas, sphagnum bogs and mixed woodlands on the flanks. Apart from the initial climb the walking is along level paths and you will be accompanied by the calls of the grouse and the shrill cries of golden plovers and snipe.
If you are looking for a lazy way to access the moor you can drive up on the Kildale to Basedale road which will take you to within a couple of hundred meters to this monument.