A169 road

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A169 shield

Major junctions
South endMalton
North endWhitby
Road network

The A169 is an A road in North Yorkshire, England. It runs from the A64 at Malton on the edge of the Yorkshire Wolds through the Vale of Pickering and across the North York Moors to join the A171 just west of Whitby. It is a single carriageway for all of its 25-mile (40 km) route. Whilst it is not considered a Primary Route nationally, the Ryedale Local Transport Plan lists it as part of its Major Road Network alongside the A64, A166 and A171.[1]

The moorland section between Pickering and the junction with the A171 can be problematic to travellers during winter when frost, dense fog and heavy snow are common occurrences.[2]

Settlements on the road[edit]


The B1257 connects Malton town centre with the A64. Once the B1257 reaches the A64 it becomes the A169 road to Whitby. On the north west of this junction is Eden Camp. The route then goes in a mainly northerly direction through the Vale of Pickering and crossing the confluence of the River Rye and the Costa Beck before reaching Pickering town and intersecting with the A170.

The route then goes north east and strikes out across the green countryside on the edge of the Dalby Forest. It enters the North York Moors National Park 1.2 miles (2 km) out of Pickering near to Little Park Wood. 8 miles (13 km) out of Pickering is a car park for taking in the superb views to west over the Hole of Horcum.[3][4] Immediately after this there is a sharp 90° turn to the west followed by a sharp 180° downhill turn to the east before you pass out into the purple moorland landscape past the Saltersgate public house. Legend has it that there is the body of a Customs & Excise man buried beneath the fireplace. If the fire in the pub ever goes out, his ghost will come out and haunt the house and its patrons.[5]

1.9 miles (3 km) after the Hole of Horcum is the turning for RAF Fylingdales and another sharp bend in the road over Eller Beck Bridge. This is where the Lyke Wake Walk route crosses the A169.[6] This one bends east first then west and is not a severe as that approaching Saltersgate. Here you pass the first turn for Goathland as the route strikes out across Widow Howe Moor and Low Moor. There are some places to stop along the moorland route and it is popular with walkers.[7] After this there is a descent and ascent over Brocka Beck Bridge[8] before the second turn for Goathland. At the junction is Sleights Moor, another turn off the road (this time for Grosmont) and then you happen across another viewpoint which looks north east across to Larpool Viaduct and Whitby.[9]

From here downhill is the steep 1 in 5 (20% gradient) of Blue Bank[2] which has an escape route on the northbound side as you go downhill and high friction surface tarmac to aid in braking.[10][11] At the bottom of Blue Bank is the turn for Grosmont and the route is mostly downhill from here with some gentle gradients and some steeper as you descend into the village of Sleights. At the bottom of the valley you cross the River Esk and the Middlesbrough to Whitby Railway line across Sleights Bridge.[12] This bridge was built in 1937 to replace a bridge that was swept away in the flood of 1930.[13]

Immediately after the bridge is the east turn for the B1410 into Ruswarp, then it is up out of the valley on a much gentler climb until the road reaches a roundabout junction with the A171. Eastwards it is 3 miles (5 km) into Whitby[2] and westwards it is 29 miles (47 km) to Middlesbrough.

Acts of Parliament for the building of a Turnpike between Whitby and Pickering were granted in 1784, 1785 and 1827.[14] The original turnpike road south from Whitby deviated at the Fox and Rabbit Inn (at Crossdale Head) and headed south through to Thornton Dale. This road still exists as a minor route.[15] The route south from Saltersgate was tarred in the 1920s (previously having been laid with limestone), with the whole route between Pickering and Whitby being tarred by the 1930s.[16]

After extensive flooding of the River Derwent and Pickering Beck in the year 2000, the A169 between Malton and Pickering was raised to elevate it above the water levels in future possible flooding.[17]


The view south from Goathland Moor as the road goes downhill and curves south west over Brocka Beck Bridge. The pylons are visible against the skyline.

The route passes through two SSSIs when north of Pickering: Hole of Horcum and Newtondale.[18] According to the Landscape Conservation Action Plan, the scenery and view alongside the moorland section of the A169 has been blighted by the pylons that run alongside the road and across the moor.[19] In 2015, Northern Powergrid started remedial works to remove the pylons and associated electrical equipment and replace them with a sub-surface cable power network.[20]


North Yorkshire Police have mobile speed cameras placed on the road at random times. These cameras have been recording in positions where people have been killed or seriously injured and at designated motorcycle incident points (the route is recognised as being 'used by motorcycles that has a high incidence of collisions and anti social behaviour.' [21] Serious offenders summonsed to court were as follows; 20 in 2013, 11 in 2014 and 8 up to August 2015.[21]

Public transport[edit]

Buses operate on the route between Malton and Whitby. The Coastliner service runs from Leeds to York and onto Malton (via the A64) 3 times hourly. Of these, an hourly service operates to Pickering with four services a day going on to Whitby via the A169.[22][23] The whole route of the Coastliner service was voted Britain's most scenic bus route in an online poll in 2018. Particular mention was made about the section across the moors on the A169 road.[24]


  1. ^ "Ryedale Local Plan - March 2002 - Chapter 12 Transport (T)". www.imagine-ryedale.org.uk. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "Whitby Traffic Management Strategy" (PDF). northyorks.gov.uk. NYCC. October 2003. p. 6. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  3. ^ "A guide to A-road Britian [sic]: A169". The Independent. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  4. ^ "Levisham Moor & Hole of Horcum". www.northyorkmoors.org.uk. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  5. ^ "One of North Yorkshire's most famous pubs to reopen". York Press. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  6. ^ "The Lyke Wake Walk: the route". www.lykewake.org. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  7. ^ "Moors SE Of Goathland". domesday. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  8. ^ Kingdom, North Yorkshire Police, United. "Witnesses sought after woman dies in crash on Fylingdales Moor". North Yorkshire Police. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  9. ^ "VIEW FROM BLUE BANK TOP, A169". domesday. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  10. ^ "Safety work plans for steep road". BBC. 17 March 2007. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  11. ^ "Blue Bank & Sleights Moor - North York Moors North Yorkshire - Walk 1464 - a walk description from Walking Britain". www.walkingbritain.co.uk. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  12. ^ "A169 - Roader's Digest: The SABRE Wiki". www.sabre-roads.org.uk. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  13. ^ "The Esk Valley - Dalesman". Dalesman. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
  14. ^ Sewell, Joseph Taylor (1973). An account of some mediæval [sic] roads crossing the Moors South and South West of Whitby. Whitby: Whitby Literary and Philosophical Society. p. 11. OCLC 60171738.
  15. ^ "OL27" (Map). North York Moors - Eastern area. 1:25,000. Explorer. Ordnance Survey. 2016. ISBN 9780319242667.
  16. ^ Hayes, Raymond (1988). Old roads and pannierways in north east Yorkshire (1 ed.). Helmsley: North York Moors National Park. p. 29. ISBN 0-907480-20-9.
  17. ^ Rushton, John (2003). The history of Ryedale from the earliest times to the year 2000. Pickering: Blackthorn. p. 463. ISBN 0-9540535-1-6.
  18. ^ "Magic Map Application". magic.defra.gov.uk. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  19. ^ "The Trailblazing Story of Ironstone & Railways in the North York Moors" (PDF). northyorkmoors.org.uk. 3.4.5 Moorland: This Exploited Land. October 2015. p. 49. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 December 2016. Retrieved 13 December 2016.CS1 maint: location (link)
  20. ^ "Northern Powergrid project to improve North York Moors scenery". www.northyorkmoors.org.uk. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  21. ^ a b Kingdom, North Yorkshire Police, United. "Safety cameras - Ryedale". North Yorkshire Police. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  22. ^ "Coastliner Bus Service Information ~ Transdev". www.yorkbus.co.uk. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  23. ^ "Coastliner 840 service between Malton and Whitby is Britain's most scenic bus route". Sky News. 28 May 2018. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  24. ^ Witherow, John, ed. (29 May 2018). "Moors' magic bus is ahead of the rest". The Times (72547). p. 17. ISSN 0140-0460.

External links[edit]