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Multi-Track Hollow Ways on Kempswithen

Kempswithen is a hill near Kildale in the North Yorkshire Moors.  It is crossed by the old road that runs from Guisborough to Westerdale and at several places alongside this road there are traces of earlier routes that the road took.  The section shown above is only about a kilometre north from the Little Hoghrah Moor hollow ways mentioned here and the latter is very probably where the road used to cross Baysdale Beck (instead of further down-stream at Hob Hole). 

As I said in my earlier post, I like to think that these multiple tracks were formed by the road meandering over time: people used one track until it became too muddy and rutted, then they moved over to one side and took a slight different, less muddy and rutted, route.  However, I suspect that it is more likely that most of the parallel tracks were in use at the same time, as herds of cattle and sheep were driven along them in the middle ages.  If that was so then they would have appeared as broad gashes in the landscape, much like motorways do nowadays.  The North Yorkshire Moors, which are nowadays so quiet, must have once been much busier.

Reader Comments (2)

It is hard to tell from aerial photos. It would be best to go there & have a look.
December 19 | Unregistered CommenterAydin
I have got some ground level photos of similar hollow ways near the Guisborough end of this road. I will sort them out and put them on a future post.
December 19 | Unregistered CommenterTristram

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