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Red deer in Studley deer park
Red deer in Studley deer park

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Route No 139 - Wednesday 18 May 2005
Studley Deer Park, Ripon Rowel route, Markington, Fountains Abbey circuit - 14km
Nidderdale

Map: OS Explorer 298 Nidderdale at 1:25000
Route Map on 'Landranger' map base from OS Open Space service

The lake at Studley Deer Park
The lake at Studley Deer Park
This morning my neighbour and I drove to Studley Deer Park near Ripon and parked in the National Trust car park next to the lake at map ref. SE 278691. From the car park we walked round the edge of the lake to join the "Ripon Rowel" route at the lake outlet (map ref. SE 281692). The river Skell flows out of the lake down a narrow little valley. The path criss-crosses the river over a series of little stone footbridges and this part of the route is known locally as the seven bridges walk. About 1km down the valley we turned right to cross the river on a footbridge at map ref. SE 291689. The river had disappeared underground a few hundred metres upstream and there was only the dried up river bed. We continued along the Ripon Rowel route (the route is marked on the OS maps as a recreational path) up a wooded valley completely carpeted with wild garlic in full flower. At map ref. SE 296688 the route emerges onto a tarmac lane and turns south to head for Markenfield Hall.
We approached the hall very carefully across a field full of limosin cows and their new calves. The cows clearly did not like our presence and stood to face us and a few took threatening steps towards us. I was very pleased we do not have a dog or things could have turned quite nasty. We followed the Ripon Rowel route to Ingerthorpe (map ref. SE 290660). Here we continued straight on along the track leaving the Ripon Rowel route which turns left at this point. We came out onto a lane at map ref. SE 282656 and turned right to walk along the lane for about 500m to map ref. SE 279660. Here we took the path down the side of the woods and sat on a bank in the woods for a break. It was a pleasant spot with a view of a pond to our right where there were some geese and we heard and saw first a curlew and then an oystercatcher land at the waters edge. Over to our left was a fine view of "The Tower", a church on a conical hill next to an ancient enclosure associated with Fountains Abbey, known as the Monk Wall.
Start of the 7 bridges walk
Start of the 7 bridges walk along the river Skell
Family of Canada Geese in Studley Park
Family of Canada Geese in Studley Park
After our break we followed the footpath to the road at map ref. SE 276661 and crossed the road to continue on the footpath to map ref. SE 270662 where the footpath is joined by a bridleway. We walked along the bridleway passing Foal Cote to the monks fish pond where there were Canada geese nesting by the path. The path is on a narrow stone causeway across the pond (it's quite a large lake really) and we had to pass within half a metre of the nest much to the annoyance of the sitting bird. The sitting bird's mate escaped onto the pond as we approached. From the pond we followed the bridleway to the road at map ref. SE 259671. At the road we turned right to walk along the road for about 600m to the junction at map ref, SE 263677.
We turned left at the junction and walked along this pleasant lane for about 500m to map ref. SE 260681. Here we rejoined the Ripon Rowel route and turned right onto a track down through the woods to cross the river Skell. We followed the Ripon Rowel route back to the Obelisk in Studley Deer Park at map ref. SE 274692. We sat on the stump of a larged felled tree for a final break to look at the view and spot some deer before strolling the last few hundred metres back to our car in the lakeside car park. The whole route had been about 14km and had taken us 4 hours including our stops.

Carpet of wild garlic in the woods
Carpet of wild garlic in the woods

Bluebell woods just like I remebered from years ago
Bluebell woods just like I remebered from years ago
Red Campion beside the path
Red Campion beside the path
Markenfield Hall
Markenfield Hall
Traditional spring route across the lane
Traditional spring route across the lane
The monks' fish pond
The monks' fish pond
Canada Gooses nest with 4 eggs by the path
Canada Gooses nest with 4 eggs by the path
The monks' fish pond
The monks' fish pond
The monks' fish pond
The monks' fish pond
Rejoining the Ripon Rowel route
Rejoining the Ripon Rowel route
More woodland bluebells
More woodland bluebells
The river Skell
The river Skell
The church in Studley Park
The church in Studley Park
The Obleisk in Studley Park
The Obleisk in Studley Park

Fallow deer in Studley Park
Above: Fallow deer in Studley Park

Right: Returning to the car park by the lake

Returning to the car park by the lake
Herds of Fallow deer and red deer at Studley Park
Herds of Fallow deer and Red deer at Studley Park