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North York Moors walk

Graham WIlford reports...

October 20th’s club walk of 5.6 miles took in the villages of Appleton le Moors, Spaunton and Lastingham, three pretty villages in the tabular hills of the North York Moors, all quite different in character, but all occupied by moorland sheep grazing freely through the villages.

Starting at Appleton le Moors, where the original village well head had been converted into an elegant war memorial, the green lane tracks provided a pleasant route to Spaunton.

En route there was an interesting view of part of the former Spaunton quarry – the source of limestone road stone until 20 or so years ago.

The sheer rock face forming the edge of the large quarried area, indicated the size and extent of the former quarrying operation. The future use of the abandoned quarry, is the subject of contested planning applications to the North York Moors Planning Authority for use in part as a caravan and holiday home site. In the meantime it is providing practice grounds for motor bike scrambling.

Walking through the short and very quiet village of Spaunton, there was not a soul to be seen – no pub, no church, the only communal facilities are a Victorian post box and a good old fashioned phone box now boasting a 21st century defibrillator!

The well preserved pinfold for keeping stray animals gives a nod to the village’s past. It is the highest and smallest of the three villages and yet it gives its name to the local Court Leet – one of the few surviving manorial courts, the majority having been culled in 1997. It is a little known part of the English Criminal Court system for dealing with local offences. It fiercely safeguards the surrounding common land against encroachment and to this day meets annually in October and fines those who fall foul of the common land restrictions.

The Moors Inn proved to be a prosperous and welcoming country pub for the six of us to enjoy their excellent food and hospitality.

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