A WALK along the high plateau and woods of the western North York Moors to Scarth Gap and return past the delightful Cod Beck Reservoir. It makes for a short, but pleasant, winter half day walk.

Osmotherley, the walking mecca of the Moors, is at the cross roads of a number of long distance walks, the Coast to Coast passes close by, the Cleveland Way goes through it whilst the 44-mile one-day Lyke Wake Walk starts here before heading to the coast.

It is also an attractive village with a pleasant square, three pubs and a cafe.

Park near the centre and head north up a road. After 400 metres turn left in to a lane with some impressive houses on your right. This is part of the Cleveland Way.

The lane becomes a track as it contours around to the north and on to open fields. The views are superb over the Vale of York with the Yorkshire Dales in the distance.

Enjoy it because the track soon enters some dense forestry. Good because the path retains its height, bad because the views are temporarily blocked out.

After entering the forest take the right fork signed Cleveland Way that leaves the track and climbs steadily for 300 metres. The path soon emerges however above the forest line and on to the top of the scarp.

The path, still heading north, passes a TV tower until it arrives at the high point of the walk at 299 metres. Here there is a trig point. Do not take the path that drops back in to the forest but continue to follow the Cleveland Way which now bends north east and around to east across open access land.

There is some lovely walking here and it is almost too soon that the minor road is met at Scarth Nick. I am reliably informed it is a glacial overflow channel. Leave the Cleveland Way here and turn south and uphill as the minor road starts on its return to Osmotherley.

It is a lovely ‘Herriot’ road with no walls blocking the view and the chance to wander away from the tarmac itself.

As Cod Beck Reservoir is not far away the road starts to descend by the picnic spot of Sheepwash. Some parking on the right indicates the arrival at Cod Beck Reservoir, an indication of the local beauty spot.

Cod Beck Reservoir is managed by Yorkshire Water and they have improved the path on both sides of the lake. The west side path runs through some lovely mixed woodland. The reservoir itself was completed in 1953 and is a significant conservation area for toad management!

In February the toads are moved from the moors and placed near the water, avoiding the potentially dangerous road crossing.

The dam marks where the path returns to the road. From here it is no more than a fifteen minute walk down hill in to the centre of Osmotherley and the tricky decision of which of the three pubs to visit.

* Fact Box:

Distance: Roughly 5.5 miles

Height to Climb: 230m (750 feet)

Start: SE 457973. There is roadside parking in Osmotherley. It will not be crowded this time of the year.

Difficulty: Easy. The route is straightforward with only short sections of climbing.

Refreshments: There are three pubs and a café in Osmotherley centre.

Be Prepared: The route description and sketch map only provide a guide to the walk. You must take out and be able to read a map (O/S Explorer OL26) and in cloudy/misty conditions a compass. You must also wear the correct clothing and footwear for the outdoors. Whilst every effort is made to provide accurate information, walkers head out at their own risk.

Please observe the Countryside Code and park sensibly.

* Jonathan Smith runs Where2walk, a walking company in the Yorkshire Dales. He has published two books on walks in the Dales; The Yorkshire 3 Peaks and The Dales 30 mountains. Available from the Where2walk website.

Book a Navigation Training day (Beginners or Intermediates) in 2022. Dates and information on the website.

Where2walk also run Navigation weekends in the Dales and the 3 Peaks in 3 Days guided walks. Go to Where2walk.co.uk