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Looking across the fields to Ripley Castle and Park
Looking across the fields to Ripley Castle and Park

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Route No. 242 - Saturday 5 April 2008
Ripley via Nidderdale Way, Bedlam circuit - 10km
Lower Nidderdale
Near Harrogate . . .

Ordnance Survey route map on the Landranger series map base
View the route in Google Earth

Map: OS Explorer 298 Nidderdale


Shire horses looking into the car park
Shire horses looking into the car park, hoping for a treat?

We started walking at about 10.45 am. It was bright and sunny with a cold wind and a few black shower clouds about.

This morning I met a group of six friends at the large grassy car park at the southern end of Ripley village, map ref. SE284603.

Cowslips on the bank by the road
Cowslips on the bank by the road

Seats at the view point at map ref. SE 285623
Seats at the view point at map ref. SE 285623

Primroses on the bank by the road
Primroses on the bank by the road

We crossed the B6165 (the modern road to Pateley Bridge) and continued on the Nidderdale Way route along the lane until it became a track across the fields. The track led us to two seats at a view point (map ref. SE 285623). There was a large group of walkers already there having a drink and they did not show any signs of moving on even when we suggested that they would be getting cold in the biting wind if they stood around for too long.

We walked through the village and about 100m before the roundabout at the northern end of the village we took the left hand fork along the old road to Pateley Bridge (now a dead end with only pedestrian access through). This is the route taken by the Nidderdale Way which is marked on the OS Explorer and Landranger maps.

The path down into Cayton Gill
The path down into Cayton Gill

Gnarled oak tree as we approached Cayton Gill
Gnarled oak tree as we approached Cayton Gill

So we carried on down the wooded slope and across a little valley. Across the valley we followed the path to the left to walk along the valley bottom and soon found a sheltered bank to sit in the sunshine for a break.

The path along Cayton Gill
The path along Cayton Gill

Lovely old ash tree in Cayton Gill
Lovely old ash tree in Cayton Gill

The path along Cayton Gill
The path along Cayton Gill

After our break we followed the path to the edge of a wood at map ref. SE 284631. Here we turned left on to a track along the edge of the wood and down through the trees to a ford at map ref. SE 281630. From there we walked along a track out to a road at map ref. SE 275625.

As we sat there was a buzzard wheeling over the trees opposite then as I got my eye in there were more and more of them until I counted seven buzzards circling, coming together and chasing off only to return a few moments later. Maybe they were sorting out partners for the coming breeding season.

Intriguing design on an old stone gate post
Intriguing design on an old stone gate post

We continued along the Nidderdale Way for another 1.5 km to map ref. SE 261626. We stopped here on a bank on the field boundary sheltered from the wind and facing into the sun which was quite warm at this stage.

Still following the Nidderdale Way we turned left down the road which was quite busy with fast moving traffic. We walked along the grass verge for about 500m and turned right off the main road on to a farm access road.

Ford across Cayton Beck
Ford across Cayton Beck

A very nice piece of new dry stone walling
A very nice piece of new dry stone walling
View in the sunshine from our lunch stop above Thornton Beck
View in the sunshine from our lunch stop above Thornton Beck
Looking across Thornton Beck from the lane to Bedlam
Looking across Thornton Beck from the lane to Bedlam

Footbridge over Thornton Beck
Footbridge over Thornton Beck

At the lane we turned left to walk along the lane to Bedlam on the B6165. We had just set off along the lane when a large dense black cloud blotted out the warm sunshine we had had at lunch time and a squally wind blew up with a furious hail shower that lasted about ten minutes and covered the road white over with hailstones.

It was a very pleasant spot for our lunch sitting in the sun looking across the valley. After our lunch we left the Nidderdale Way and walked down the slope to a foot bridge over Thornton Beck at map ref. SE 261624. We crossed the beck and climbed up to the lane from Bedlam to Shaw Mills.

The road was white over with hailstones in a couple of minutes
The road was white over with hailstones in a couple of minutes

This is where the path from Bedlam meets the park boundary wall
This is where the path from Bedlam meets the park boundary wall
These imposing gate posts seem to be there just to frame the view
These imposing gate posts seem to be there just to frame the view
Wind turbines on the skyline - I like them!
Wind turbines on the skyline - I like them!

Fallow deer in Ripley Castle Park
Fallow deer in Ripley Castle Park

Then we followed the path out across the fields to meet the boundary wall of the Ripley Castle Park at map ref. SE 269609. We followed the boundary wall along the path to a track near High Rails Farm.

Then the sun came out again before we reached Bedlam. We crossed over the main road (B6165) and followed the public footpath through a wrought iron gate, down the edge of a private garden.

A heron easily overtook us as we walked round the edge of the Park
A heron easily overtook us as we walked round the edge of the Park

Following the wall around the edge of Ripley Castle Park
Following the wall around the edge of Ripley Castle Park
Ripley Beck as it leaves the lakes in the Park
Ripley Beck as it leaves the lakes in the Park

Wild Boar drinking fountain opposite the Wild Boar pub in Ripley
Wild Boar drinking fountain opposite the Wild Boar pub in Ripley

From there we continued following the boundary wall round the edge of the park to meet the Nidderdale Way again at map ref. SE 279602. Here the turned left to follow the Nidderdale Way again and the boundary wall back into Ripley village. The whole route had been 10 km and had taken us three and a half hours to walk including a couple of very pleasant stops.

Background Notes:
This walk of 10km, about 6 miles, is from Ripley off the A61 between Harrogate and Ripon. There's a large grassy car park on the edge of the village and from there we walk along the village street past a little square between the church and the Boars Head Inn where the village stocks remain as a reminder of sterner days in the past. In the mid 1300's King Edward III fell from his horse on a wild boar hunt near here and was only save from being gored by the boar by the swift action of Thomas Ingilby of Ripley who killed the boar. He was knighted for his efforts and the Ingleby family live at Ripley Castle to this day. In the early 1600's Ripley was struck by the plague and a great many of the villagers died. The village was then rebuilt by Sir William Amcotts Ingilby in the style of the villages of Alsace-Lorraine and these are the terraces of stone cottages that we see in the present village. A little way beyond the Boars Head Inn we turn onto the old road to Pateley Bridge. It's a no-through road to traffic now but there is still the old stone mile post at the junction. Here we join the route of the Nidderdale Way. This is a 85km, that's 53 mile circular walk from Ripley at it's south eastern end up Nidderdale as far as Scar House Reservoir. We follow this route out of Ripley and soon come to a seat at a very pleasant view point looking north over a wooded valley in the general direction of Fountains Abbey. We drop down into the valley and continue along the Nidderdale Way to a minor road,but it is quite busy. We walk along this road for a short distance and then follow the path through farmland along the valley of Thornton Beck. This is the beck that feeds the lake in the grounds of Ripley Castle. We then leave the Nidderdale Way and cross the beck to a lane leading us to the hamlet of Bedlam, a name apparently derrived from the Saxon words, Bodle Lum meaning 'at the buildings'. Anyway we cross a busy road 'at the buildings' to follow a path across the fields around the stone boundary wall of the grounds of Ripley Castle. We follow the walls to the entrance to the castle and it's worth a look at both the castle and the grounds. In the grounds, it's a deer park, there are a few very ancient oak trees, maybe upto 1000 years old. The girth of their trunks is around 10m, a really impressive sight. To me it's mind boggling to think that these living things have been growing here since the Norman Kings ruled England. On our way back into the village from the castle we pass the All Saints Church which dates from 1400's and on the east wall there are the marks of musket balls used by The Parliamentarians to execute Royalists in the aftermath of the battle of Marston Moor. We continue past the church and return through the village to the car park and the end of this week's walk.

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