There is a map of the Parish of Great Ayton located on the wall of the Chemists shop on the High Green. The map identifies public footpaths, bridal ways as well as highways. The walks below use the public footpaths as well as highways –all start from the High Green, the centre of the village.. The field sections can be wet underfoot and especially on the moorland sections appropriate footwear and clothing should be worn. The car park opposite the Chemist Shop should be used in preference to the spaces in front of the shops. There are public conveniences near the High Green. There are cycle racks located on the High and Low Green and the village is on the Sustrans route 165. The North York Moors offer a number of off road bike trails. OS North York Moors Western Area. Outdoor leisure 26 map.
Walk 1 A circular walk of approx. 7 miles/3 hrs with optional climb but otherwise moderate in terms of difficulty. The walk takes in the Whinstone Dike, Airyholme farm, Roseberry Topping, Gribdale Gate, Captain Cooks Monument. The walk is very scenic, passes old mine workings and the farm where James Cook`s father worked. The monument to the great explorer is located at a waypoint in the walk. Refreshment is available in the village and at Little Ayton.
Leave the High Green travelling North up Newton Road for 200 metres before crossing the highway to a “kissing gate” in the stone wall. The footpath continues skirting Cleveland Lodge before crossing the Middlesbrough to Whitby railway line into the North York Moors National Park. Entering Cliffe Rigg wood a National Trust signpost identifies the footpath climbing diagonally up the wood. At the top of the climb cross over the stile and bear right follow the fence line before descending to the road leading to Airyholme Farm. Airyholme farm is a working farm and care is needed when walking through the farmstead. The track heads northeast towards a gap in the escarpment with Roseberry Topping to the left and the Moors to the right. At the gap the optional climb to the top of Roseberry can be taken – the view from the top is spectacular, or take the footpath to the right (east) to climb the escarpment to the moor. Through the gate and at the top take the footpath with the stone wall to the right. The footpath follows the wall for 2 miles along the long distance Cleveland Way footpath before descending to Gribdale Gate. Crossing the highway continue through the gate leading to Captain Cook Monument. Leaving the monument behind, head north and after going through two sandstone gateposts follow the descending footpath to the left. On reaching the stone wall go through the gate and follow the wall to the right and continue the descending track to a gate. Continue descending to enter a lane then turn left onto a track heading west, crossing the railway bridge down to little Ayton, The “Iron Bridge” crossing the River Leven is left behind when taking the highway north down to the village and High Green.
Walk 2 A circular walk of 2/3 miles 2 hours is moderate in terms of difficulty. The walk takes in Whinstone Dyke, the site of what is thought could be James Cook father`s cottage, Airyholme Farm. The walk is on field footpaths as well as public highway. Refreshment is available in the village and at Little Ayton.
Leave the High Green travelling North up Newton Road for 200m before crossing the highway to a kissing gate in the stone wall. The footpath continues skirting Cleveland Lodge before crossing the Middlesbrough to Whitby railway line into the North York Moors National Park. Entering Cliffe Rigg wood a National Trust signpost identifies the footpath climbing diagonally up the wood. At the top the site of the possible Cook Cottage can be seen to the left - returning by following the fence line heading east before descending to the road leading to Airyholme Farm.Visiting the farm is optional before heading south downhill to what is known as Whitehouse crossroads. Cross over the highway onto a narrow lane. Take the first track heading west, cross the railway bridge and follow it to Little Ayton. The iron bridge crossing the River Leven is left behind when taking the highway north down to the village and High Green.
Walk 3 The map of the Parish can be used not only for the above but also for short rambles including a field path and highway walk leaving the High Green in a south west heading after 50m crossing the high street to a foot bridge into waterfall park. The field footpath passes the waterfall to the left, through the kissing gate to continue south alongside the River Leven to the next kissing gate leading to the cricket field. The footpath- which can be wet underfoot, continues passing the football field to the right and heads straight in a southerly direction. The footpath reaches the river and a footbridge leading to Little Ayton lane. A right turn onto the lane leads back to the village and High Green. This walk is considered to be easy, almost two miles and can be completed in less than an hour. The ramble takes in wonderful views of the Cleveland Hills and the monument to Captain Cook can be seen on top of the hill and escarpment of the North York Moors.
Walk 4 The map/plan of the village creates a Cook trail within the village and identifies a ramble between the various locations where interpretation boards can be seen. The ramble is on public footpaths and can be navigated in less than two hours however exploring the area in the vicinity of each of the interpretation boards locations will easily double that time. The village has many possible refreshment stops and other retail outlets to enhance the visitor experience.
Notes reference map of walks
All walks start and finish at the High Green
Walk 1 red route with optional climb to Roseberry Topping
Walk 2 Blue route with optional excursion to view possible site of Cook family cottage
Walk 3 Yellow route – short circular walk
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