North York Moors

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Mallyan Spout and Beck Hole photoThomason Foss near Beck Hole by Mike Nicholas

Mallyan Spout and Beck Hole

Long before Heartbeat and TV fame, the tumbling waterfall of Mallyan Spout helped put Goathland on the map as a tourist village in the nineteenth century. See the spectacle that charmed Victorian visitors on this 3-mile circular route from the village, which descends into the wooded valley bottom and to the waters of West Beck before returning along part of the track bed of the original Whitby-to-Pickering railway line.

Walk info

Great for:
woodland wanders, family walks, nature nuts
3 miles (4.8km)
1 hour 30 minutes
Goathland car park
Grid Ref:
NZ 833 013
OS Map:
Ordnance Survey OL27
Goathland and Beck Hole
Start/Finish of walk
GPX file, MMO file

About this walk

WalkThe first part of the walk follows the pavement alongside the village road in Goathland. There are steps on the descent into the wooded valley, and steps and gates on the ascent – all paths may be slippery and muddy after rain. The rocky path alongside West Beck to Mallyan Spout can be challenging, especially after heavy rain – take great care.

DogsThe waters of West Beck can be fast-flowing after rain. Please keep your dog under control, and always on a lead near livestock.

Mallyan Spout

The water cascading from Mallyan Spout rises from springs in the moorland above Goathland. It finds the easiest route downhill until it meets New Wath Scar. This deep ravine was cut by the flowing water of West Beck, which over thousands of years has eroded a path through the sandstone. At Mallyan Spout the sides of the ravine are 70 feet high and almost vertical. Water draining from the moors has no option but to tumble over the edge – forming a towering waterfall for us to enjoy. It's even more spectacular after rain but take care – the wet rocks can be treacherous under foot.

Watch our video of a wonderful springtime rainbow appearing in the waterfall at Mallyan Spout.

Goathland's first railway

Goathland dates back to at least the 12th century, but until 1836 it was a mere farming village. Then George Stephenson's railway arrived, bringing visitors en masse. The final part of the walk follows a straight, even path that marks the line of the original railway – it may seem like a gentle uphill stroll but the 1-in-10 gradient was too steep for horse-drawn carriages. The solution was to attach the coaches (via a rope around a pulley at the top of the hill) to a wagon containing water tanks. The tanks were filled with water and the weight of the wagon hauled the carriages up the incline.

It all made for a slow and dangerous ascent, and was eventually abandoned in favour of a more level route, but you can still find evidence of the original railway – from the line of the track to former railway workers' cottages like Incline Cottage.