The what3words address takes you to the car park (pay and display) beside Helmsley Castle, but you could also park at Rievaulx Abbey (///torches.toward.erupt) and do the walk from there.

We took some time to explore Helmsley Castle, an English Heritage site, before setting off along the Cleveland Way opposite the car park and on towards Rievaulx Abbey. The path is well-marked and also well-used by walkers, runners and dog walkers. Most of the route to Rievaulx is through, or beside, woodland before it opens onto a minor road just east of Rievaulx Bridge. We couldn’t resist breaking our walk and visiting the Abbey (also English Heritage … and there’s a cafe here…!). Rievaulx was a Cistercian Abbey founded in 1132 by twelve monks from Clairvaux Abbey in France. The second abbot, Aelred, expanded the abbey massively and there is a trail through the abbey ruins detailing his life. Aelred has, perhaps surprisingly, become an unlikely LGBTQ+ icon.

After culture, coffee and cake we continued our walk, turning onto a track at the northern end of the village and losing our fellow sightseers and walkers. This track leads to the B1257 which can be busy with fast moving traffic (take care) and this is a section to endure rather than enjoy, but there are  wide verges, it’s not too long and you can keep away from the tarmac. Just past a disused quarry a track turns away from the road and back to more peaceful landscapes.

The route now loops back towards Helmsley, much of it through woodland and finally following Borough Beck into the town.

We enjoyed this walk and the two English Heritage sites added interest. You can just walk from Helmsley to Rievaulx along the Cleveland Way and return the same way (about 6 miles altogether) but I think the route we walked was more enjoyable and the section  beyond Rievaulx was peaceful (apart from the B1257!) and deserted.

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