18th-Century Marker Stone

Very close to the ruined farmstead of Jane Frank Garth above Hob Hole and inscribed with ‘WESTERDALE ROAD・EAST‘.

It’s located on Little Hograh Moor, about 350 metres from the Hob Hole to Westerdale Road and away from any modern footpaths, Tucked way in the heather.

Jane Frank Garth is more locally known as ‘Gin Garth‘ due to its supposed reputation as a smuggling den. But perhaps this stone is evidence that the old packhorse route from Guisborough to Westerdale, known as Ernaldsti, actually went past the farmstead. The temptation is to assume that the modern road has been built along the course of the ancient route. But heather and moorland vegetation can quickly obliterate a track.

This notion is supported by two gate posts I had passed earlier about 200 metres upstream from the ford. Tom Scott Burns in ‘The Walker’s Guide to the Cleveland Hills‘ suggests that these indicate the site where Baysdale Beck was once crossed by a packhorse bridge.

I think another trip is beckoning to search for any signs of this bridge.

6 Replies to “18th-Century Marker Stone”

  1. Interesting Mick, earlier I came across the marker post and gate posts and now might have a search for any signs of remains of bridge abutments.

  2. I ran past the gate posts this morning and noticed stonework on the opposite side of the beck, just a few placed stones but must be remains of the packhorse bridge, thought it was a funny place for the posts, interesting. Shame I didn’t read your blog before I went out could of had a look at the marker stone as well.

  3. Funny you mention this, I was near there recently, walking along the beck from Hob Hole car park. Looking across to the south side I see what appear to be eroded lines going up the slope, very much reminds me of what some actual paths/bridleways look like over moorland when they end up as just little dips visible in the heather and/or bracken. Could it be linked to this supposed bridge site?

    1. Yes, Reece, I have often thought the same myself. Many of these gullies may indeed be sunken pathways. The practice of sleding turves and heather bales may account for many. But some don’t seem to have an obvious “destination”.

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