Battersby Crag

I first came across this old rusty gate many years ago when I was planning a night navigation exercise. That must have been in the 1990s. I had waded down through the steep heathery slope, stopping on top of the crag and looking down on to the spikes. For an instance, my heart missed a beat as I conjured up an image what could have happened.

It’s a strange feature to find on the moors. Dry stone walling is more usual for stock control. I can not think of another instance where iron has been used locally for fencing. Although I did not look too closely I could see just a fence post visible about two-thirds of the way down towards that tree on the left.

And there’s no sign of a path, so why a gate? The oldest Ordnance Survey map shows no fence or path. I’m on Battersby Crag, northeast of Turkey Nab and above a complex area of jet workings mapped as Otter Hills. In the distance is Park Nab.

I thought it best not to send runners down the slope in the dark but I did recall imagining the plot of a novel, where a skeleton is discovered impaled on the gate.

7 Replies to “Battersby Crag”

  1. Mick, I have a vague recollection of someone once telling me that just after WW2 and in the 50’s the Bass brewing family owned the shooting rites to the Park Nab area and jealously guarded access. I wonder if they installed an iron fence to deter climbers from the crags.

  2. Strongly suspect this relates to water supply. The moor above has the Three Sisters Springs which have long been an important water source in the area. One of the springs still supplies a small reservoir on the ‘middle track’ in the forest below (before the stone seat), which is part of the Manor Water Supply system which supplies some properties in the area. Below Otter Hills is the Northumbria Water reservoir. I believe this was once ‘spring fed’ but is now connected to the water main system.

    1. That is a more plausible reason than the one I suggested.. I should have looked in more detail as the crags I refer to , are about 1Km to the north of the gate.

  3. As well as the reservoirs an older open watercourse called The Race contours round from Otter Hills Beck behind Bankfoot to the manor. I also saw a reference to water supply to Stokesley station from the area via a pipeline along the railway from Battersby.

  4. Paid a visit to the gate today and can confirm its purpose was to fence off a ‘spring area’. There is also an iron fence post (that can be seen in your photo) just downhill. Just up from the fence post, but out of sight in the photo, are 2 brick built spring tanks topped with GRP hinged covers.

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