The handsome village of Osmotherley on the western edge of the North York Moors has long been associated with walking. Back in the 1800s, it was a popular overnight stopover for Scottish cattlemen as they moved herds southwards along the Hambleton Drove Road.
Today that same ancient drovers’ route is popular with walkers as they follow one of three long distance trails which pass through the village, the Cleveland Way, Coast to Coast and Lyke Wake Walk. There’s no shortage of places to rest up afterwards, including three pubs for a population of just a few hundred.
With an elevated position and a ready water supply, Osmotherley’s location was attractive to early settlers and its name appears in the Domesday book as ‘Asmundrelac’ meaning ‘a clearing belonging to Asmund’. Centuries later and the village had developed into a small town in part due to its proximity to a priory and chapel, which led to an influx of visiting pilgrims and Quaker and Methodist congregations being established.
Osmotherley’s convenient position also made it a popular meeting point for traders and by the 19th century it was a hub for housing workers from the nearby quarries and textiles industries.
Clues to Osmotherley’s religious past are everywhere. In the village itself there’s a tiny green where John Wesley, founder of the Methodist church would preach, a chapel (one of the oldest in the UK) and St Peter’s Church.
A few miles further out are the fascinating ruins of the 14th century Mount Grace Priory, House and Gardens, the best preserved of nine Carthusian Priories in the UK. On a scenic hilltop overlooking the village is The Lady Chapel, first built by monks from nearby Mount Grace Priory in the 15th century that has been a place of Catholic pilgrimage for over 600 years.
Cod Beck Reservoir and clearway
There is very limited parking at Cod Beck Reservoir. If the car park is full, please do not park on the roadside as a 2 mile clearway is in operation in the Sheepwash area and you may get fined.
Clearways are stretches of road where you are not allowed to stop your car for any reason at any time. Look for the circular sign showing a red cross on a blue background.
Please keep out of the reservoir - the open water is not a safe place to swim; it is cold, deep and potentially dangerous and there are no lifeguards on duty.