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The lake in Studley deer park
The lake in Studley deer park

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Route No. 204 - Saturday 30 December 2006
Studley Royal Deer Park, Seven Bridges Valley,
River Laver circuit - 11km
Ripon, North Yorkshire

Map: OS Explorer 298 Nidderdale at 1:25000
Route Map on 'Landranger' base from OS Open Space service
Open this route in Google Earth


A magnificent sweet chestnut tree in the deer park
A magnificent sweet chestnut tree in the deer park

We crossed the bridge over the weir and followed the River Skell downstream through the seven bridges valley crossing a series of little stone bridge over the Skell as it meanders back and forth across the path. The River Skell joins the River Laver about 3km downstream of the lake, and the Laver flows another 2km or so to join the River Ure on the eastern edge of Ripon.

This morning my wife and I met a group of friends at Studley Royal deer park near Ripon at 10.30am. It was a very pleasant sunny winter's day between the heavy rain last night and the next band of rain forecast for this evening. We set off on the path around the lake to the outlet weir at the eastern end of the lake, map ref. SE 291692.

The outlet weir from the lake after a night's rain
The outlet weir from the lake after a night's rain

The outlet weir from the lake after a night's rain
The outlet weir from the lake after a night's rain
Start of the walk down the seven bridges valley
Start of the walk down the seven bridges valley

Two of the bridges over the River Skell
Two of the bridges over the River Skell

A few hundred metres beyond Plumpton Hall we came to the village of Studley Roger and the entrance to the deer park. Here we turned into the deer park to follow the main drive. After about 200m we veered right off the drive to climb a small rise in the ground until we came to the edge of a deep gully.

After just over 1km the path leaves the river and the wood and becomes a farm track passing Plumpton Hall with a good view of Ripon Cathedral to the right. The main drive through the deer park is arranged to be directly in line with the Cathedral.

A folly overlooking the River Skell
A folly overlooking the River Skell

Ripon cathedral from the track near Plumpton Hall
Ripon cathedral from the track near Plumpton Hall
Approaching the gatehouse into Studley deer park
Approaching the gatehouse into Studley deer park
Studley deer park
Studley Deer Park
A group of fallow deer in Studley deer park
A group of fallow deer in Studley deer park

A group of fallow deer in Studley deer park
A group of fallow deer in Studley deer park

After lunch we headed for a little pedestrian door in the wall of the deer park at map ref. SE 277702. The door opens onto a small lay-by on the B6265. We crossed the road and followed the farm track opposite past High Lindrick farm. We continued along the track to the bridge over the River Laver at map ref. SE 262711.

We turned right to follow a path heading generally northwards along the edge of the gully for about 400m to a stone bridge over a low part of the gully at its northern end, map ref. SE 279702. Here we dropped down into the gully beside the bridge for some shelter from the wind whilst we had our lunch.

Dropping down into the gully at the northern edge of Studley deer park
Dropping down into the gully at the northern edge of Studley deer park

Lunch break in the shelter of a gully near the northern edge of Studley deer park
Lunch break in the shelter of a gully near the northern edge of Studley deer park
Puddles on the track near High Lindrick farm
Puddles on the track near High Lindrick farm
The day's bag of pheasants near the River Laver
The day's bag of pheasants near the River Laver

A woodcock - part of the sporting bag
A woodcock - part of the sporting bag

Just over the bridge we turned right to follow the public footpath alongside the River Laver which was flowing brim-full after last night's torrential rain. There were labeled canes in the bank at intervals marking shooting stands, but the shoot had moved further upstream and we did not see any of the sportsmen on this part of the path.

As we approached the bridge over the River Laver there was the sound of a pheasant shoot in progress and we passed a trailer with the day's bag so far, all neatly hung on rails. Among the birds was a woodcock. It seemed such a shame to me to kill it for a few seconds "fun" and a tiny mouthful of game.

Bridge over the River Laver
Bridge over the River Laver

The River Laver flowing brimfull after last night's rain
The River Laver flowing brimfull after last night's rain
Muddy footpath beside the River Laver
Muddy footpath beside the River Laver
Looking towards Galphay Mill from the path by the River Laver
Looking towards Galphay Mill from the path by the River Laver

Old kiln by the road near Galphay Mill
Old kiln by the road near Galphay Mill

At map ref. SE 270720, after about 300m on the road, we turned right off the road onto a farm track which we followed for almost 2km past Low Lindrick farm back to the B6265 at map ref. SE 278703. Here we crossed the road and re-entered the deer park through the same door in the wall that we had used earlier.

We continued to follow the river until after about 1km we came out onto the road at map ref. SE 267721. Here we turned right to walk along the road. Once across the river the road climbed up a short hill and part way up on our right there was an old kiln in some rough woodland, but I don't know what it would have been used for.

Walking through Studley deer park near the old stable block
Walking through Studley deer park near the old stable block

A group of fallow deer in Studley deer park
A group of fallow deer in Studley deer park showing typical colour variation from white to black

The obilisk near the western gate to Studley deer park
The obelisk near the western gate to Studley deer park

After almost 1km we reached the obelisk at the western gateway to the park. From here we followed a path down the slope back to the car park by the lake at map ref. SE 278691. There are some public toilets at the car park and just below the car park at the end of the lake there is a coffee shop where we stopped for our usual finish to the walk. The whole route had been about 11km and had taken us almost four hours to walk including our lunch stop.

We followed the outer wall of the deer park round to our right going down the side of an elaborate building that used to be the stable block for Studley Royal House before it burnt down and was demolished. The old stable block is now a private residence - apartments I think. We continued around the edge of the park passing a large herd of fallow deer which showed a typical range of colour from pure white to black and all mixtures of fawn and brown in between.

Another of Studley deer park's magnificent trees
Another of Studley deer park's magnificent trees

The church near the obilisk in Studley deer park
The church near the obelisk in Studley deer park
The path down the slope from the church back to the car park by the lake in Studley deer park
The path down the slope from the church back
to the car park by the lake in Studley deer park