Routes News

Unsafe bridge on Hartoft bridleway near White House

October 2015: Karl Gerhardsen (North York Moors National Park) has informed us that the bridge on the Hartoft bridleway near White House (Grid Ref SE 757 960) is unsafe for horses to use. He has asked that we use the ford until repairs have been carried out.

Helpful maps

RBG member Alison Fuller reports that The National Park have just launched an interactive map that as well as showing route status (bridleway, footpath etc) also shows the furniture items (gates, bridges etc) with symbols. Unfortunately due to lack of funding and staff shortages it is not completely up to date but they are working on this. To access the map go to, on the top menu click on About us, on the side menu click on Rights of waythen on Rights of Way Map. Next scroll down to the paragraph entitled Rights of way mapand click on the link interactive rights of way map. This map clearly defines the area covered by the National Park. Be patient, it is a little slow to load.

North Yorkshire County Council also have a map system you can use at If you click on the relevant bridle path its path number is displayed so you will be able to give NYCC that information as well.



At last! Alison Fuller writes:

We are pleased to be able to announce that a new bridleway has finally been opened after three years of protracted negotiations, one public inquiry and one hearing in the Magistrates Court. Our thanks truly go to Karl Gerhardsen at the National Park who has pursued this to the end and the National Park in general for funding this. We would also like to thank the Helmsley Estate for all their support and co-operation.

The new bridleway links Helmsley to the existing bridleway in Riccal Dale, thus avoiding the need to ride along the A170 for 1.5 km. It is well signed and all the gates have equestrian handles.

Description of the route going from Helmsley to Riccal Dale

The bridleway starts about 100 metres up the Carlton Road. Turn right when you see the wooden bridleway sign. Take the tarmac track, which then becomes grass at the back of the houses and continue to a wooden field gate (waymarker). Go through the gate and go straight ahead along the hedge line until you see a short wooden post (waymarker). At the post look slightly left and you will see another short wooden post on the other side of the field (waymarker). Cross the field to this post. This post is on a little culvert bridge – take care as you cannot see the bridge until you are on it. Continue straight ahead to a wooden field gate (waymarker). Go through the gate and continue straight ahead up the field edge path (ignore the wooden gate on your right at the bend) to another wooden field gate. This is beside an electricity pole and there is a large wooden sign post marking the bridleway as ‘bridleway to Riccal Dale’ and the footpath ‘footpath to Pockley’. Go through the gate and then go left diagonally across the field to a wooden field gate (waymarker) into the woods (Monk Holme Wood).

Go through the gate and continue on the only track through the woods to a short wooden post (waymarker) at the top of the wood. The track is wide but a little overgrown and a bit wet in parts. At the post turn right and go uphill to a wooden field gate (waymarker). Go through the gate, continue slightly left to join the field edge path. Turn slightly right and go straight ahead up hill on the field edge path with the hedge on your right until you reach a stone (with grass in the middle) track (Monk Gardens Lane). Turn left and continue on this track until you see a short wooden post (waymarker) which marks the junction with the footpath. Follow the stone track down hill through the woods to a short wooden post (waymarker) which is the junction with the bridleway through Riccal Dale. Go left to go up Riccal Dale and right to go down to the A170.


TEMPORARY BRIDLEWAY CLOSURE - LEVISHAM – this route is now reopened (September 2014)
Message from Karl Gerhardsen, Head of Recreation and Access, North York Moors National Park, February 2014:-
‘I’m sorry to advise that due to its very poor condition following timber extraction we’ve taken the difficult decision to close a short section of bridleway west of Levisham. The details appear on our website by following this link and at the bottom of the page there’s another link to a site map:- 203-and-221-levisham-west-side-brow
We aim to get a machine in to remove logs and brash and re-profile the track itself, but this needs to be done at a dry time if we are to be able to restore the ground structure, so the closure will unfortunately need to remain in place until 2nd July at the latest. I will let you know if we do manage to get the bridleway opened before then, but in the meantime, the map has the alternative riding route.’


Work in 2013 by the Park authority includes: Completion of a bridleway diversion at Moss Dyke west of Moorgates, Goathland. Upgrading of footpaths to bridleways west of Whitby from the A169/A171 roundabout north to Bannial Flatt Farm and east to the Newholm road.


Work in 2013 by the Park authority includes: Correction of the definitive map to record the historic bridleway line up Thirlby Bank. Surface improvements to the bridleway over Hambleton Mosses from Wethercote Lane to the Cleveland Way north of Sutton Bank. Emergency repairs to Hutton village bridleway following the storm damage there in early September. Repair works to the bridleways on Roseberry Common have restored an eroded section of the Cleveland Way National Trail and improved the route through from Hutton Lowcross Wood to Aireyholme Farm with a significant financial contribution from Redcar and Cleveland.


Work in 2013 by the Park authority includes: Signage of new bridleway links in the forest west of Rock House, Hartoft and on an upgraded footpath at West Ayton Moor above Cockrah Wood, West Ayton. Daleside Road north from Thorgill in Rosedale has had gates adjusted to be more easily opened from horseback. Levisham’s steep bridleway from Braygate Balk south-west towards Keldgate Slack has been cleared of gorse and broom. Hartoft bridleway leading north from St James’s Farm on the edge of the forest had a new culvert installed to resolve a boggy patch. In Farndale West, the bridleway between Horn End and Keysbeck has been restored on its historic line and access to the ford re-opened. A formal diversion of the bridleway around the outside of the garden is underway, but the proposed new route is already available.

Yorkshire Dales

This new series of circular horse rides take in some of the most spectacular scenery of the northern Yorkshire Dales covering Swaledale, Arkengarthdale, Lower Wensleydale and Coverdale. The routes cater for a range of abilities and use mainly bridleways, green lanes and some unclassified county roads.
The bespoke guide maps are specifically designed for horse rider use and provide an easy-to-follow route from a start point which can be reached by horsebox or trailer.
A PDF guide map for each can be downloaded for printing at


Forestry sell-off

Good news this month (February 2013) with confirmation that the public forestry is safe. The government has announced its response to the independent panel's report. Key points -

  • A new independent body will be set up to manage the public forestry for the long term, in trust for the public.
  • Government has pledged to maintain and improve access to forestry.
  • Government 'wants to see' woods and forests increase in size and number.

It has provided some extra short term money to help the Forestry Commission avoid selling off land to balance its books. What the plans mean for the Commission itself we don't know yet - another review on that subject is underway.

Ryedale Bridleways Group has actively campaigned on protecting the forestry and access, and with some 70,000 others can rightly claim victory in forcing a government U-turn on the sell-off. Here's how we reported it then -

Update February 2011: Victory! The government's consultation has been cancelled and it has promised not to go ahead with the total sell-off. The minister responsible, Caroline Spelman, said she was 'sorry' for the attempted sale. The government can still sell off 15% though so the battle for horse riding rights goes on.


The BHS has been researching and compiling a report on these.  Apparently they have been implicated in several accidents and councils are being encouraged to avoid installing them.

Read this link for more detail:-



Another interesting read:-


Have your say on wind turbines

The BHS has set up a survey to identify any concerns surrounding wind turbine developments in order to guide its policies and support its responses to planning applications using fact and not assumption. The questionnaire takes only a few minutes and means your contributions could help to protect the interests of all equestrians around wind farms. To share your views and experiences, complete the survey here.--


Boltby Forest area

Bill Tait reports that there has been considerable improvement to the bridleway from Black Plantation to Brickshed cottage (west of Boltby Forest OS square 47 88). Thanks Bill for reporting this – please feel free to email us to inform other members of similar improvements.


Ryedale Bridleways Group has worked with North Yorkshire County Council to clear and improve Bull Ings Lane which was overgrown and collapsing underfoot. The route is now open and much better for riders.

Dalby Forest
Group members have cleared a series of bridleways in the forest, including two in Deepdale on the eastern side and one in Sievedale not far from the main visitors’ centre. Please note that riders taking vehicles into Dalby Forest must pay a toll charge. Those riding in have open access to all Forestry Commission land – but you must have £5 million third party insurance cover.

A group member has been working to secure permissive riding on former railway routes in the area. One route to the south of Helmsley is now open, and further work is continuing.


Coastal access
RBG has responded to a series of government consultations on the new law creating a long distance walking route round the coast. Our concern was that existing rights for horseriders could be lost. The government has now assured us that existing rights will be protected. But there remains no general statutory right to ride on the beach - where there isn't a particular route granted it's down to each council's byelaws, so check before you set off.


Forestry Commission land
RBG was among many organisations that responded to a 2009 consultation on the Forestry land's future. The responses strongly backed free access to the forestry for horse riders (happily we have this in our area but riders in many areas have to buy an expensive annual permit). The responses also strongly rejected any idea of selling off the public forestry and wanted it increased. See the responses here:


The National Parks

Yes, we responded to this one too! This was a consultation on an updated, ahem, 'vision statement' for the parks, including our own North York Moors National Park. It's pretty general, stressing the amenity value of the parks and the need to work cooperatively with organisations like the Forestry Commission. Read the government's March 2010 circular in response here.