Out & About …

… on the North York Moors, or wherever I happen to be.


With low cloud shrouding the North York Moors I had to dig into my bank of “bad weather” ideas. Earlier this year I recalled seeing a large new sandstone “PRIVATE NO ACCESS” sign which I thought a bit over the top. So I headed for Kempswithen, the site of a 18th-century agricultural experiment but now under intensive management for grouse shooting. But the stone had disappeared, or had my navigation let me down. A hardcore base suggests it could have been here. Instead, there was a new small sign:


Now, no bikes I can understand, no dogs too but no footpath! Technically it’s probably correct but this is Open Access Land over which we have the freedom to roam. Clearly, it is intended to intimidate walkers into keeping away.

On the way back I took in Percy Rigg over Kildale Moor and came across the missing sandstone “PRIVATE NO ACCESS” sign. Or its twin. Maybe I’m not going doolally after all. I just had to take a photo in case it moves again. Way over the top. The siting of this stone is actually on the boundary of Open Access Land which is to the right in the photo below. To its left is a small area of heather moorland which somehow escaped Open Access designation. An anomaly. Either way, the intention is clearly to discourage walkers from enjoying their freedom to roam. They’re a red rag to a bull to me.

No footpath sign, Kildale Moor

Kempswithen map



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3 responses to “Kempswithen”

  1. John avatar

    The small ‘No Footpath’ has now been removed. I communicated my concerns with the NYMNP ranger for the area and they spoke to the land agent for the estate who promised it would be taken down, which they have now done.

    On the topic of the large rock originally in position this said ‘No Vehicle Access’ and is not the one on Percy Rigg, different rock.

  2. Reece Fowler avatar
    Reece Fowler

    I understand that that patch of moorland next to that stone sign, between the road and the wood, used to be forestry. It was cleared in the late 90s to move the tree line down the hill and restore the heather on the top. Presumably because of the landscape issue with having straight line forestry boundaries over the tops of hills. That might be why it’s escaped designation as open access.

    1. Fhithich avatar

      Thanks for that info. Must have run past in hundreds of times in the 90s but just can’t remember.

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