Chop Gate, a journey to the isolated village in the middle of the North York Moors

Chop Gate is a small village that is located in North Yorkshire in the middle of the North York Moors. It is located on a strip of road known as the B1257, which runs down a valley between the hills coming out at Helmsley.

How the name of the village is pronounced is different to how it is written, which actually sounds like “Chap Yat” and believed to be derived from old Norse, referring not to a gate but a “peddler”.

It was on my personal journey by foot from Sunderland to Helmsley in February 2024, which lasted two days and spanned 58 miles, that I passed through the village of Chop Gate while trekking the North York Moors.

During this part of the journey Chop Gate was the only meaningful settlement I encountered on the moors. It was a useful point of navigation to follow the B1257 as it was a direct route to Helmsley and by nightfall there was no light whatsoever on the moors, and nor was there any phone signal.

Even though by owning a car one could drive to Middlesbrough or York within an hour’s range, it seems apparent that life in Chop Gate must be very isolated due to the above. It is a small community and has no connections to public transport.

The village consists of a single pub, its most prominent landmark, known as The Buck Inn. The pub is only open three weekdays (and weekends) and I had passed through on a day it was closed. In addition to that there’s also a Methodist church and a school, both of which have very traditional buildings.

Because of this, the location, and the lack of any mobile phone signal there is a strong sense that Chop Gate to some degree is lost in time and the world has moved on without it.

Ironically, the village falls into the Parliamentary Constituency of Richmond, and as of 2024 is served by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, I doubt he’s ever been!

If you are going to visit Chop Gate, I recommend you do not try to emulate the excruciating journey on foot I undertaken unless you have a high degree of fitness and very good health.

From Yarm, it took seven hours to get there on foot and then another five hours to reach Helmsley. Even more so than the Bamburgh walk it was the single toughest physical experience in my life.

Thus instead of walking, it is best to do so by car or as part of a cycling route to make it a swifter and more enjoyable experience. The Buck Inn is only open Monday, Wednesday, Friday and weekends so time it well.

There are no shops otherwise in the village.

SGM

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