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Giant hogweed by the river Ure
Giant hogweed by the river Ure

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Route No 143 - Tuesday 21 June 2005
Ripon Canal, Bishop Monkton, Wormald Green,
Markenfield Hall, circuit - 17km
Vale of York

Map OS Explorer 299 Ripon & Boroughbridge at 1:25000
Route Map on 'Landranger' map base from OS Open Space service

Canal lock next to the car park
Canal lock next to the car park
This morning three of us drove to the little car park by the Ripon canal at map ref. SE 323704 next to the racecourse and set off along the tow path by the canal to the point where the canal joins the river Ure at map ref. SE 332679. Here we took the pathaway from the river to Ashbrook farm and on to the road at Bishop Monkton, map ref. SE 331665. We walked through the village to the lane at map ref. SE 326661 and followed the lane and bridleway to the road at Wormald Green, map ref. SE 308651. It was a warm sunny day and so far the walk had been very pleasant. However the road is the A61 between Ripon and Horrogate and is very busy indeed. It took us several minutes before there was a big enough gap in the traffic to risk crossing. We walked down the hill to map ref. SE 304649 where we had intended to turn right off the minor road on to the footpath across the fields. The path runs down the side of some farm buildings and these have been converted to "executive" style dwellings.
There is a notice saying the path is closed until 18 July 2005 (from 9 Februay 2004) apparently on grounds of "public safety". At this point we were about half way round our circular route and we were not about to go back if we could avoid it. The path runs along side a disused railway bed and so we made our own unofficial diversion along the railway to re-join the path at map ref. SE 305654. The path then goes along Horse Mill Lane to a road at map ref. SE 293662. From this point we followed the Ripon Rowel route to Markenfield Hall with its moat and black swans. The field next to the hall had a herd of cows with young calves. They were all together in a corner of the field next to the moat and did not seem at all disturbed as we approach on the path. As we got nearer a limosin cow came into view running over the crest of a rise ahead where she must have been grazing just out of sight. Her calf was with the main group of cows and she was determined to get back to it.
A leafy walk along the tow path
A leafy walk along the tow path

My friends were about 20m ahead but I was in her way with nowhere to go. Fortunately a loud shout and a wave of my walking stick diverted her at the last moment, but things could have been a bit scary. From the hall we stayed on the Ripon Rowel route for about a kilometre and then on the lane to map ref. SE 302698 on the edge of Ripon. The whole route had been pleasant and enjoyable so far but now we were in a large housing estate with almost 2km to walk through the streets to get to the canal head at map ref. SE 315708. This part of the route was just a dismal chore! We completed our circuit along the canal tow path back to the car park. I think a better finish would be to turn right at map ref. SE 310694 and walk along the main road (A61 - pretty busy) for 200m and then take the footpath across to map ref. SE 316692. Then continue to the canal towpath at map ref. SE 326694, and then return to the car park along the tow path. I'll have try it if I can persuade my friends to have another go at this route when the path at Wormald Green is reopened. The whole route was about 17km and took us just over four and a half hours to walk including our stops.

The wet land wild fowl reserve through the hide window
The wet land wild fowl reserve through the hide window

More tow path but very pleasant
More tow path but very pleasant
More tow path but very pleasant
More tow path but very pleasant
Lock where the canal joins the river Ure
Lock where the canal joins the river Ure
Family of ducks by the stream in Bishop Monkton
Family of ducks by the stream in Bishop Monkton
A fledgeling rook looking a bit lost
A fledgeling rook looking a bit lost

Black swans at Markenfield Hall
Black swans at Markenfield Hall

Freindly pony coming for a pat
Freindly pony coming for a pat
The locals out enjoying the sunshine near Bishop Monkton
The locals out enjoying the sunshine near Bishop Monkton
Markenfield Hall with its moat - the hall is open to visitors
Markenfield Hall with its moat - the hall is open to visitors
Markenfield Hall with its moat - the hall is open to visitors
Markenfield Hall with its moat - the hall is open to visitors
Markenfield Hall with its moat - the hall is open to visitors
Markenfield Hall with its moat - the hall is open to visitors
The canal by the car park after our trek through the streets of Ripon
The canal by the car park after our trek through the streets of Ripon