The Ghost of Hoggart’s Wood

The Cleveland Hills once formed a intimidating barrier that kept the dales in isolation. Access was by steep unmade tracks, Turkey Nab, Clay Bank, Carlton Bank, Scarth Nick.

Nowadays of course, (most of) these routes have been tarmaced and the internal combustion engine has made the climb so much easier.

The route from Ingleby Greenhow to Bilsdale involves climbing Clay Bank — a bit of a challenge on a bike. It’s a regular route of mine, and before the climb starts  in earnest, I pass Hoggart’s Wood, a place said to be haunted by the spirit of a woman who was murdered here. At the turn of the 20th-century there were still folk alive who vowed they had seen and heard her leaning against a tree, pointing to a gaping wound in her throat, and screeching1FAIRFAX BLAKEBOROUGH, J. The Story Of The Cleveland Hills. | Whitby Gazette | Friday 05 October 1906 | British Newspaper Archive. [online] Available at: https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0001103/19061005/081/0003 [Accessed 27 Apr. 2022]..

In the photo, Clay Bank is the col to the left of White Hill, the scene of The Great Landslip of 1872, the scar clearly visible. Bottom right is West Wood Farm with Hoggart’s Wood immediately to the left of that2‘View Map: Yorkshire XLIII.6 (Bilsdale Midcable; Ingleby Greenhow) – Ordnance Survey 25 Inch England and Wales, 1841-1952’. 2022. Maps.nls.uk <https://maps.nls.uk/view/125625994#zoom=5&lat=7551&lon=2463&layers=BT> [accessed 10 August 2022]. The spectral lady now shares Hoggarts Wood with an industrial gas valve compound; maybe that’s why she hasn’t appeared for some time.

It is probable that Hoggart’s Wood was named after one Thomas Hoggart3‘CAPITAL OAK TIMBER, at Ingleby Greenhow TO BE SOLD BY AUCTION | Yorkshire Gazette | Saturday 06 March 1824 | British Newspaper Archive’. 2022. Britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk <https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000266/18240306/020/0001> [accessed 10 August 2022].

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    FAIRFAX BLAKEBOROUGH, J. The Story Of The Cleveland Hills. | Whitby Gazette | Friday 05 October 1906 | British Newspaper Archive. [online] Available at: https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0001103/19061005/081/0003 [Accessed 27 Apr. 2022].
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    ‘View Map: Yorkshire XLIII.6 (Bilsdale Midcable; Ingleby Greenhow) – Ordnance Survey 25 Inch England and Wales, 1841-1952’. 2022. Maps.nls.uk <https://maps.nls.uk/view/125625994#zoom=5&lat=7551&lon=2463&layers=BT> [accessed 10 August 2022]
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    ‘CAPITAL OAK TIMBER, at Ingleby Greenhow TO BE SOLD BY AUCTION | Yorkshire Gazette | Saturday 06 March 1824 | British Newspaper Archive’. 2022. Britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk <https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000266/18240306/020/0001> [accessed 10 August 2022]

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