Ash Dale from Helmsley

  • Explore two pleasant dales
  • Good walking on excellent paths
  • Start in the market town of Helmsley

Looking at the map of Helmsley there is one obvious walk for those who have already visited Rievaulx Abbey. This heads north in to the surprisingly open valley floor of Collier Hag Wood, returning along the wide footpath in Ash Dale. The pretty little stream in Hag Wood is enchanting, partially because the woods have been cut back on the valley floor but also because of the numerous pheasants which have made their home here. Ash Dale meanwhile is quite a contrast, there is no stream and the track feels enclosed by the forestry despite being only a few trees thick. The wide paths though make this a very pleasant 1/2 day walk from the busy market town of Helmsley.

Recommend: Although I walked in autumn the bluebells are meant to form a wonderful carpet in the dells during early summer.

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All maps are copyright of Where2Walk ©2018

OS Map: O/S 1.25,000. OL26 North York Moors West Buy Map
Start Point: ?? 612840. Head past the church and 50 yards further there is a footpath signpost in to some woods beside a bungalow. Take it!
Height to Climb: 161 ms (528 feet)
Terrain: Good, wide tracks through the woods with no route finding difficulties.
Eating & Drinking: Helmsley is a market town with plenty of choice of places to eat and drink
Similar Walks Nearby: Hills over Hawnby
Dales north of Kirkbymoorside
Explore the grounds of Rievaulx Abbey
Places to Stay:


 Laskill Grange Country House, nr Helmsley  Laskill Grange Cottages, nr Helmsley


  1. Steve Dunn says:

    Very pleasant walk from Helmsley, but we only did the first half properly as the map is misleading where you start coming back. When you get to the end of the track at the top of the hill, you have to cross a couple of fields to get to the road (Baxton’s Sprunt.) However the map shows the trail going down that road then off to the left to get into Ash Dale. This is wrong. There is a footpath sign almost directly across the road when you get to it (we ignored it as the map showed down the road.) You need to follow that to get into the Ash Dale woods (checked it on OSM maps later – unfortunately the track didn’t show when we checked it during the walk!) That being said, the walk back along the road was lovely (its a very quiet road) and we tried a foray across a field to try to find the trail – no use of course, but we did see a large hare as well as dozens of pheasants and a rabbit during the detour.

  2. Evangeline says:

    We started walking into the woods and followed the Footpath signs all the way to the top; but we did not see the sign that leads as ‘back’ through Ash Dale… On the top of the hill there’s a road turning right, and there’s a ‘Private’ sign; the straight on through the gate is a wide field (saw a few peasants). Are we supposed to walk through the field in order to make the turn to Ash Dale? Thanks!

  3. Jonathan says:

    Not a problem, there are plenty of walks direct from Helmsley on to footpaths including this one

  4. Janet Houghton says:

    We have a dog and want to stay in Helmsley. We want to know if we can walk straight out of the Inn or Hotel and Helmsley each day with the dog. We do not want to have to use the car to get to the walks.

  5. PattyMac says:

    My husband and I did this walk in reverse today and found it a very pleasant and easy walk. Lots of wildflowers and greenery around – buttercups, beaked parsley, forget-me-nots, red and white clover (scenting the air), also still some wild garlic – also scenting the air! I think the highlight was encountering the “pheasantarium” – as my husband dubbed it! – and making our way through it, with hundreds (if not thousands!) of young pheasants scuttling around, taking dust baths and disappearing into the bracken-cloaked daleside. Such a pity that these cute and comical birds are being reared as “cannon fodder” for so-called sportsmen! I’m sure this walk would be ideal for a hot summer’s day where plenty of shade would be afforded by the shady wooded areas through which the trail passes and the reward of a scrumptious ice cream on returning to Helmsley!

  6. Dan Prescott says:

    My partner and I did this walk over the weekend and it was excellent. There was some snow cover and we only came across other people foot prints in the last mile. We’re not experienced walkers but we found the route easy. There was only one steepish section, which was slightly slippy when covered with snow. We saw all kinds of wildlife, including several deer. Great walk especially when finished off with afternoon tea in Helmsley.

  7. kennethraine says:

    It maybe my lack of geographical knowledge, but I would be hard pressed to pin point Helmsley, on a map. Before I go to bed tonight, I will find out, it has not been specified on your site. I live in Keighley, west yorkshire, so maybe I should feel a little ashamed of my ignorance. If I walk into a fish shop I would expect to see vinegar on the counter. If I did come from london , perhaps it would help, if I knew its relative position to leeds or york. Ah! I see its twenty miles due north of york[ I had to look on a map in my Atlas, pity about that londoner who wanted to visit Helmsley, who only had a computer!

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