Track To Summer Hill

I’ve lived in the area for almost fifty years and there are still footpaths I’ve never trodden.

I’ve known about this Right of Way but I’ve never bothered with it. For me, getting to the start would entail a kilometre or so of road running, it ends abruptly and doesn’t link up with over routes. In short, it hasn’t inspired me.

But I learnt from a recent FaceBook posting that someone has tried to use it and as been challenged. So fully psyched up ready for a confrontation, I ran it today.

The route is shown on the OS 1:25,000 map as green dots which the legend says is “Other routes with public access …”. The North York Moors Rights of Way Map completely omits it but the North Yorkshire County Council Rights of Way Map lists it as part of the “Road network”1Search for TS9 6HW and turn the “Road network” layer on. So I was confident I had access rights on foot as a minimum.

Photo AAA

On leaving the tarmac road at Gribdale, I was presented with the ubiquitous intimidating sign “PRIVATE ROAD — STRICTLY NO ENTRY”. Not a good start (Photo AAA).

Photo BBB

A short distance later the map indicates the Right of Way leaves the farm track and crosses a small wooden dell, and sure enough a small gate was provided. Perfectly adequate for pedestrians but as part of the “Road network”? (Photo BBB).

Photo CCC

At the top of the dell, another small gate (Photo CCC). After this there didn’t seem to be anyway down across the dell avoiding the nettles. I was forced to deviate slightly.

Next to the gate was this rusty trap which I think is now strictly illegal.

 

Photo DDD

On the other side of the dell, back on track and another small gate (Photo DDD).

Photo EEE – looking back to Ayton Banks Farm

Looking back after passing through Ayton Banks Farm, the route (the little-used track on the right) could certainly be confusing (Photo EEE).

Photo FFF

Photo FFF: about here the Right of Way should continue across the field on the left but a barbed wire fence blocks the way.

Photo GGG

Photo GGG: however, a farm gate slightly off route would provide easy access into the field but it is tied very tightly by a lead of some sort.

Photo HHH – Summer Hill Farm

Finally, at the end of the Right of Way, a “Permissive Access” sign (Photo HHH), but apart from straight ahead it doesn’t exactly indicate which way to go. Presumably, it’s just to cross the site of Summer Hill Farm which has avoided being designated ‘Open Access Land’.

The route I have just ran would have been the old access to the farm. Indeed the street on Hambleton District Council’s property address for Ayton Banks Farm is listed as ‘Track To Summer Hill’2Hambleton.gov.uk. (2021). 000RGHHUBU000 | Ayton Banks Farm Great Ayton Middlesbrough North Yorkshire TS9 6HW. [online] Available at: https://planning.hambleton.gov.uk/online-applications/propertyDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=0012A1HULI000 [Accessed 17 Sep. 2021]..

There was a FaceBook posting some time ago (but the link is now unavailable) recalling that Summer Hill Farm was still occupied in the 1970s. In October 1941, “the small daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Muxlow of Summerhill Farm had a remarkable escape when [she was] temporarily left in a milk float and its horse bolted through the main street [of Great Ayton]”3Pearce, I. (2012). Published books on Great Ayton and Roseberry Topping. [online] Available at: http://greatayton.wdfiles.com/local–files/books-on-cleveland/Published-Books-on-Great-Ayton.pdf [Accessed 17 Sep. 2021]. ‌ Read all about it, a selection of news cuttings about Great Ayton and district from 1926-1959 Published by June Imeson, Trustee of Yatton House, Great Ayton 1984.

The 1901 census records nine people living here. Jonas and Sarah Swales and their children: Annie (19), Jessie (18), Hannah (14), John (10), and Margaret (8), as well as Hy Hutchinson Kent, who has a question mark as a son, and a servant, John Wilson, both 17.

I  get the impression this was a difficult farm to work with a high turnover of tenants. In 1893, it was advertised to let4‘Legal Notices’ (1893) Daily Gazette For Middlesbrough, 28 Apr, [1]+, available: https://link-gale-com.ezproxy.is.ed.ac.uk/apps/doc/R3211493966/GDCS?u=ed_itw&sid=bookmark-GDCS&xid=be98870d [accessed 17 Sep 2021]., in 1898, a William Rush was seeking a shepherd to work on the farm5‘Multiple Classified ads’ (1898) Daily Gazette For Middlesbrough, 16 Sep, [1]+, available: https://link-gale-com.ezproxy.is.ed.ac.uk/apps/doc/R3209161696/GDCS?u=ed_itw&sid=bookmark-GDCS&xid=c54f04cb [accessed 17 Sep 2021]., in 1901 we have the Swales family and in the 1911 census we have Thomas and Ethel Gibson living there with a baby daughter and Ethel’s mother. So that’s four tenants in less than twenty years.

In the main photo, the site of Summer Hill Farm is the patch of rough ground near centre. Ayton Banks Farm is far centre.

  • 1
    Search for TS9 6HW and turn the “Road network” layer on
  • 2
    Hambleton.gov.uk. (2021). 000RGHHUBU000 | Ayton Banks Farm Great Ayton Middlesbrough North Yorkshire TS9 6HW. [online] Available at: https://planning.hambleton.gov.uk/online-applications/propertyDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=0012A1HULI000 [Accessed 17 Sep. 2021].
  • 3
    Pearce, I. (2012). Published books on Great Ayton and Roseberry Topping. [online] Available at: http://greatayton.wdfiles.com/local–files/books-on-cleveland/Published-Books-on-Great-Ayton.pdf [Accessed 17 Sep. 2021]. ‌ Read all about it, a selection of news cuttings about Great Ayton and district from 1926-1959 Published by June Imeson, Trustee of Yatton House, Great Ayton 1984
  • 4
    ‘Legal Notices’ (1893) Daily Gazette For Middlesbrough, 28 Apr, [1]+, available: https://link-gale-com.ezproxy.is.ed.ac.uk/apps/doc/R3211493966/GDCS?u=ed_itw&sid=bookmark-GDCS&xid=be98870d [accessed 17 Sep 2021].
  • 5
    ‘Multiple Classified ads’ (1898) Daily Gazette For Middlesbrough, 16 Sep, [1]+, available: https://link-gale-com.ezproxy.is.ed.ac.uk/apps/doc/R3209161696/GDCS?u=ed_itw&sid=bookmark-GDCS&xid=c54f04cb [accessed 17 Sep 2021].

One Reply to “Track To Summer Hill”

  1. Regarding that trap, it’s a Fenn type and I don’t think the trap itself is illegal. They lost approval for stoats in April 2020, which are probably the main species they were used for (on grouse moor estates). Other trap designs have been approved to replace them, like DOC and Tully traps.

    However, they remain approved for weasel, rat and grey squirrel. Which creates a bit of a legal grey area, as surely any trap has the potential to kill a stoat given how thin they are.

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