History Hike Enjoy a 5 mile walk taking in two of the town’s becks and some intriguing historic sites; allow 2.5 hours for completion at a medium pace. Stewart Park is a good place to start the walk but the route can be picked up at any point along its length. Free car parking is available at Stewart Park and the Southlands Centre. Most paths are surfaced footpaths. Take care when crossing roads and make use of pedestrian crossings along busy Ormesby High Street/Ladgate Lane. The path from Ormesby Hall to The Grove can be muddy with steps and gradients but has no stiles. Strong footwear with good grip is recommended and please dress for the weather. Cafes are available at Stewart Park, the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum and along Church Lane in Ormesby. Public toilets can be found at Stewart Park. The Middlesbrough A-Z guide is useful for street names along the route.
The Boro Becks Project ran from September 2010 until December 2013 and was funded by Natural England’s Access to Nature fund, part of the Big Lottery Changing Spaces programme.
H istory Hik e
Middlesbrough Council, Tees Valley Wildlife Trust and the Environment Agency came together to win the grant and deliver the project on the ground. The project team worked alongside a dedicated group of volunteers from the local community and a range of other agencies to improve four of the becks in Middlesbrough; Marton West, Ormesby, Middle and Spencer Becks. Projects have included school activities and nature walks, art installations, planting bulbs, wildflowers and trees, meadow management, litter picking and a full programme of family events and guided walks. These activities aimed to inspire local communities to enjoy, respect and look after their valuable green spaces as wildlife refuges and recreational areas.
From 2014, please check the websites of Middlesbrough Council and Tees Valley Wildlife Trust for information about the project’s legacy in the town. Credits: Photos - Teesside Archives, Park End House, St Cuthbert's Church, Barry Jobson and Sammy Metcalfe Illustrations - Helen Jane Gaunt | Design - www.mccreativedesigns.co.uk
Wildflower walk along Ormesby Beck
Directions Leave Stewart Park and cross Ladgate Lane at the pedestrian crossing. Turn right and follow the footpath under the railway bridge, after which turn left to start walking alongside Ormesby Beck. Tall black poplar trees and metal sculptures designed by artist Graeme Hopper mark the entrance to this diverse and wildlife rich valley. Walk along the tarmac path or follow the grass path beside the beck. Look for the curve in the beck close to the path; this is a good place to linger for a glimpse of a kingfisher, and to enjoy waterside plants such as water mint. Turn off on to Felby Avenue, just before a copse of trees. Cross the Park End estate by turning left on to Evesham Road, crossing over the Water mint road and continuing along Ettington Avenue. At the end, take care crossing Overdale Road, cross the open green space and turn left on to Sandringham Road. Take care crossing Ormesby Road to the right of the roundabout and continue straight ahead to the Southlands Centre. The name of the Park End estate comes from the house built by James Stovin Pennyman of Ormesby Hall in 1859-60; a supermarket now stands on the site, along Ormesby Road. Follow the path at the front of the Southlands Centre, and walk through the gap in the fence on to Middle Beck. Cross the footbridge, a good place to spot water voles; turn right on to the path beside the beck.
Look out for the pink flower spikes of butterbur in early spring along the beck, followed by the huge leaves, once used to wrap butter. At the social club, cross the road and walk up Bournemouth Avenue. Turn right on to The Link Butterbur and then sharp left on to flower spike Pritchett Road to reach Ladgate Lane. Turn left and walk along the main road, past the almshouses built in 1773 for the poor; look out for the sign on the end of the social club, originally a school and the information plaque on the Fountain pub. Cross Ladgate Lane by the pedestrian crossing, pass the petrol station and turn left on to Church Lane, leaving the busy traffic behind. Look out for old village houses such as Mudd Cottage along the lane, once the main road between Stokesley and Guisborough. Walk up Church Lane past the elegant monument to Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, commissioned by Elizabeth Caroline Brown. She lived in Ormesby House opposite the cross and was a generous benefactor to the village. Walk through the gate of St Cuthbert’s Church and up the path past the iron grave monument to Elizabeth Brown.
Monument to Elizabeth Brown
Enjoy the tranquillity of the churchyard and look for fragments of ancient stones and medieval grave covers set in to the church’s south wall at the time of its rebuilding in the 19th century. Leave the churchyard and admire the impressive monuments to the Pennyman family who occupied Ormesby Hall for nearly 400 years. The National Trust care for the hall now and it is well worth a visit. Turn left on to a drive and follow it as it curves right. Before a gateway, turn left on to a grass path alongside a hedge to pick up the waymarked Park to Park route. Turn right on to the path which runs parallel to the A174, admiring the views of the hall. The earlier 17th century brick hall is to the right of the magnificent 18th century stone house. Pass Ormesby Grange Farm, with its Grade 2 listed pig sty! Follow the path under the Middlesbrough-Whitby rail line and cross Ormesby Beck to reach the Grove. Turn left and follow the road until an entrance to Stewart Park is seen on the right; cross the Grove to enter the park where a number of paths take you either past the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum or around the ponds, thought to mark the site of the old village ponds. Henry Bolckow, one of Middlesbrough’s 19th century founders of the iron industry, bought the Marton estate, remodelled the hall and erected a granite vase in 1858 to mark the site of Captain James Cook’s childhood home.
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