Roseberry Topping National Trust is a famous hill in North Yorkshire, famous for its shape which makes it very recognisable from afar.
After the lockdown rules lifted all I remember seeing was the flocks of people going to this site which put us off going. However now that over a year has passed, I am so glad we did finally get to go!
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Now let’s get on with it!
Parking and Getting Here
If you live in Sunderland, then it really doesn’t take very long to get here. It’s just past Middlesborough and took about 40 minutes in total. (It actually took us a little longer because we had to stop off at the service station just outside of boro for coffee!).
There is an NT car park right at the base of the hill which is ideal. There was a little picnic area under the trees and free toilets on site also.
The main issue is that it was a very small car park. I don’t think it held 50 cars in total. When we arrived at 10am on a Sunday we got one of the last spaces, and there were constantly people coming in behind us trying to get parked, and even when we left 4 hours later it was the same.
Postcode: TS9 6QS
Under 2hrs – £2.70
Over 2 hrs – £4.80
National Trust members get to park here for free!
The Route – Roseberry Topping to Great Ayton
The first part of this section will simp[ly be Roseberry Topping, and then after I will go into the path to Great Ayton. So if you just want to do the hill, then I have all the info for you!
From the car park, on the south end, there is the main path to the hill. You cannot miss it! You follow this path for a few minutes and get the first glimpse of the hill.
Once you reach the treeline and head through the gate, you are faced with 3 possible routes; left, right or straight. Right is the longest route as it takes you all the way around the back of the hill and up the path to the rear. The Left looked a little less frequently used but also took you to the path around the back. The route straight in front of you is the most direct and frequently used path however, it is a sharp incline.
The route up the rear is less well maintained so instead of it being built with rocks which you can use as steps like the front, it was dusty and in the wet, I’d imagine slippy. The front path was a knee and lung burner, but it did get us up in about 25 minutes. All have pros and cons so pick which one works best for you.
We took the front direct path up and came down the back which I think, looking back, was the best way to do it.
There are plenty of passing places on your way up, and the view was incredible to look at while you were catching your breath.
The view from the top is absolutely incredible too! You can see out to sea at Saltburn and over to the hills nearby on the moors.
The top of the hill was a little busy with a lot of people sitting on the edges taking in the view and having a picnic.
All in all, if you went straight up and down, I reckon you could do it in an hour in total.
To Great Ayton
To get to Great Ayton, head down the rear of the hill and you will find the Shooting Box. This building was commissioned by Commodore Wilson of Ayton hall in the late 184 century as a shelter at lunchtimes and inclement weather during shooting it was restored in 1983 with assistance from the North York Moors National Park committee.
From here, head down the hill till you get to the tree line. This is the Cliff Ridge Wood and if you follow the tree line and keep the hill on your left you will get some great vantage points of it!
The path here does get a little tricky to follow, but if you have a general sense of direction you can’t get too lost.
It took us about an hour of walking through the trees before we got to the village, but we did go a slightly awkward way. But you should get to a point where you cross the train tracks. If you do that – whether it is over one of the bridges or just straight over it on foot, then you are going the right way!
There are a few really lovely looking spots in the village of Great Ayton itself. The sweatshop is supposed to have great homemade ice cream (I didn’t know until later so I shan’t be telling Shaun we missed that one!!), there are a couple of cafes and pubs all of which had great ratings on google. Really we were spoilt for choice.
We ended up in The Royal Oak, and we are so glad we did!
We had been craving a proper Sunday dinner and this place did not disappoint. Shaun went for the trio of meats in a giant Yorkshire and I went for veggie toad in the hole. It was amazing!
Of course, it had to be washed down with a pint of crisp fruity cider. Just delicious.
It did make the walk back a little slower and sluggish. But it was worth it!
After that, we took a more direct route through the forest to the car park. To get to it you did have to go through a housing estate and find the cut up onto the trail. This route took you through the trees but kept the field of cows to your left. I felt like heading back you couldn’t really get as lost once you found the trail.
On this walk, we had to download the All Trails app to get through the trees so it might be worth taking a map or using an app like this to make sure you find your way!
Total Time – 4 Hours (with a 30-minute lunch stop)
Total Distance – 6 miles
Terrain – Roseberry Topping is steep and uneven, but the walk to Great Ayton is more gentle with some hills. Hiking boots are necessary for this one. And it is not wheelchair or pushchair friendly.
Overall, we had a great day and this route was a really fun one to follow. If you wanted to extend it you absolutely could go further and include the Captain Cook Monument on a hill nearby. Or you could shorten this walk and do just the hill, or just the village.
Thank you for reading this post and I hope you enjoy this walk if you go on to do it!
Stay Safe and Happy Adventuring!
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