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

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Route N0 44 - Wednesday 22 June 2005
Ripon Canal, River Ure, Roecliffe - 10km
Vale of York

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

Narrow boat making for Ripon
Narrow boat making for Ripon
This morning we decided to try something a bit different. We both took our cars to the village of Roecliffe, map ref. SE 375659 about 1km west of Boroughbridge. We parked one car opposite the church by the village green and then we drove to the British Waterways car park at map ref. SE 323704 by the Ripon Canal near the Ripon racecourse. Our plan was to walk back to Roecliffe along the canal and beside the river Ure. It's quite a short route and uses a path I walked yesterday but we both needed to be back home by lunchtime and it is only 30 mins drive from home. It was a bright sunny day as we set off along the towpath. There were several narrow boats making their way slowly up to the canal basin in Ripon. and there were dozens of narrow boats tied up in the marina next to the racecourse. There are a couple of wooden garden-shed style huts next to the towpath. They turned out to be hides giving a great view on to the wetland wildfowl reserve on the racecourse and we sat there for a few minutes looking through our binocculars at the nesting coots and geese and the occasional oystercatcher. The canal joined the river Ure at map ref. SE 332679 and from there we followed the path along the river bank.
There is one short stretch that is not marked as a right of way on the map but there is a well walked path and we did not encounter any obstuction. There was a good view of Newby Hall across the river and shortly afterwards there is an island in the river. One side is a rocky weir and rapids and the other side of the island is the navigable route with a lock at the end where we watched a boat making its way upstream. We stopped for a drink in the summer heat and had a chat to a couple who were spending their holiday walking the Yoredale Way (I must admit that I had never heard of this long distance route but it sounds quite good). From map ref. SE 356662 the path goes through an overgrown wooded area next to the river and we had to push our way through the undergrowth including lots of giant hogweed, some of them around 3m tall overhanging the path. The sap from them is very irritating to the skin causing a sore burning rash. The last 1.5 km were across fields to the edge of Roecliffe village. When we got back to the car the children from the village school were all playing on the green in the sunshine. The whole route had been about 10km and had taken us just over two and a half hours to walk.
Family of swans on the canal
Family of swans on the canal
One of the many damsel flies beside the river Ure
One of the many damsel flies beside the river Ure
Newby hall from across the river Ure
Newby hall from across the river Ure
Narrow boat navigating the lock on the river Ure
Narrow boat navigating the lock on the river Ure
Narrow boat navigating the lock on the river Ure
Narrow boat navigating the lock on the river Ure
Narrow boats passing on the river Ure
Narrow boats passing on the river Ure
Giant Hogweed towering over us by the river Ure
Giant Hogweed towering over us by the river Ure

Island of poppies in a wheat field
Island of poppies in a wheat field