From Westerdale, the River Esk flows somewhat leisurely down its broad valley. Until it reaches Glaisdale. There it enters the narrow defile between East Arncliffe Wood and Limber Hill where it speeds up into a mountain river, cascading over submerged rocks. For the modern cyclist, journeying down the dale to Whitby the steep climb up Limber Hill awaits. Walkers can use the footpath along the slope of East Arncliffe Wood following the stone setts of the medieval pannierman’s causeway to Delves and onto Egton Bridge. Known locally as the “Monk’s Trod”, the narrow setts have been eroded smooth by generations of packhorse hooves.
Delves is a small hamlet above Egton Bridge. The name derives from the Old English ‘dælf‘ meaning a trench or ditch, so to delve came to mean to dig or turn over with a spade, especially digging a garden. And in the North ‘delf’ (or ‘delve‘) became used for a quarry from which we get ‘delver‘ for a quarryman. Delves can also mean the bell-pits characteristic of medieval iron mining sites and sure enough at the top of the bank is Holey Intake, a small pitted patch of semi-open woodland.