Hole of Horcum

Hole of Horcum

North York Moors

Route: Hole of Horcum

Area: North York Moors

Date of walk: 25th February 2016

Walkers: Andrew and Gilly

Distance: 6.7 miles

Ascent: 800 feet

Weather: sunny at first, then clouded over

The Hole of Horcum is a massive hollow in the valley of Levisham Beck, 400 feet deep and ¾ mile across. According to local legend it was formed when Wade the Giant scooped up a handful of earth and threw it at his wife during an argument.  In reality the Hole was created by a process called spring-sapping, where water welling up from the hillside gradually undermined the slopes above, eating the rocks away grain by grain, so that, over thousands of years, a once narrow valley widened and deepened into an enormous cauldron. The process still continues today

We parked near the Horseshoe Inn in Levisham and walked out of the village with the inn to our backs and turned off along the path leading along Levisham Brow, a high level route at the top of the woods

The path was either muddy or frozen most of the way but we managed to avoid any slips and trips. Eventually we descended into Horcum Slack and walked along the valley to the deserted house shown on the OS map as Low Horcum, set in an extraordinary location and which makes one wonder who lived here and why

After passing by Low Horcum we climbed up the edge of the Hole of Horcum onto open moorland – a complete contrast with what has gone before – and from this vast open space the nature and magnitude of the gorge becomes apparent

The moorland section of the walk was otherwise quite featureless but made for rapid progress and it only took us an hour or so to cover the 3 miles back to the start of this classic walk

For other walks here, visit my Find Walks page and enter the name in the ‘Search site’ box

Click on the icon below for the route map (subscribers to OS Maps can view detailed maps of the route, visualise it in aerial 3D, and download the GPX file. Non-subscribers will see a base map)

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