Brown Bank is a modest moorland height and the little known summit of Embsay Moor, a large tract of moor to the north of Embsay and west of Bolton Abbey.
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Whilst the summit is listed as Brown Bank on the Database of British Hills the name North Earls appears closer to the highest point on the Ordnance Survey OL2 map. Whether it is North Earls or Brown Bank the summit is easily accessible from the Rylstone to Barden bridleway.
Indeed the summit lies less than 250ft from the bridleway, an easy detour across heather. The summit features a number of scattered gritstone boulders. The highest point itself is the top of one of the larger boulders. This distinctively shaped specimen also has a cross shape carved into the rock.
While the boulders on the top of Brown Bank cannot rival some of the other gritstone features in the area (see below) it is still worth a potter around the rocks. One intriuguing find on my last visit was a heavily rusted chain and hook fixed to one of the boulders. The amount of flaked rust next to the chain suggests it has been there sometime.
The view to the north is dominated by Cracoe Fell and Thorpe Fell. Probably the best view is to the east where Simon’s Seat is well seen. A short walk to the north-east also reveals Upper Barden Reservoir. Indeed a track rising from the reservoir joins the main bridleway just to the east of Brown Bank and is an alternative route to the top.
A quarter of a mile to the south-east, on Stone Ridge Plain, a fairly large shelter cairn is well seen from the bridleway. Standing at 433m this falls just short of the 435m height of Brown Bank.
Brown Bank itself may not be well known but Embsay Moor as a whole features some tremendous gritstone features. Some are better known than others and information on the three finest can be found on the separate pages below: