A meander in the River Burn south of Masham
A meander in the River Burn south of Masham

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Route No. 326 - Monday 8 March 2010
Masham, Ripon Rowel Walk, R. Burn,
River Ure circuit - 8km
Wensleydale . . .

Ordnance Survey route map from Bing maps.

Map: OS Explorer 302 Northallerton & Thirsk at 1:25000
(and a small part of the route overlaps onto OS Explorer 298 Nidderdale)


The River Ure by the car park on the northern edge of Masham
The River Ure by the car park on the northern edge of Masham

Steps from the playing fields up towards the market square at Masham
Steps from the playing fields up towards the market square

Jameson Feeds deopt on the Ripon Rowel Walk leaving Masham
Jameson Feeds deopt on the Ripon Rowel Walk leaving Masham

I turned left to follow the A6108 for about 200m where I turned left again onto the Fearby road. About 150m along the Fearby road I turned left into the housing estate. After 100m the road turned sharp left into Westholme Road. Straight ahead is a bridge over Swinney Beck and the entrance to "Jamesons Animal Feeds". I crossed this bridge and followed the track in front of Jamesons feeds until at the end of the feed depot it became a grassy track between the fields. This is part of the "Ripon Rowel Walk".

The weather this morning was just perfect for a walk in the spring sunshine so I drove to Masham and parked in a little car park by the River Ure next to the playing fields on the edge of the town at map ref. SE226810. From the car park I followed the access road between the sports fields to some steps up towards the market square and some public toilets. When I came out onto the road I turned left to go past a butcher's shop where I got a pork pie for my lunch and then headed north to the A6108 on the edge of the town.

Bridge over Swinney Beck
Bridge over Swinney Beck

Track on the Ripon Rowel Walk leaving Masham
Track on the Ripon Rowel Walk leaving Masham

Track on the Ripon Rowel Walk leaving Masham
Track on the Ripon Rowel Walk leaving Masham

Snowdrops by the path
Snowdrops by the path

Fungus known as King Alfred's Cakes
Fungus known as King Alfred's Cakes

Stile on the Ripon Rowel Walk
Stile on the Ripon Rowel Walk

I sat there for a drink just looking at the scenery with the sheep grazing the pasture in front of me. The large oak trees are a feature of this walk and I think that they are worth looking out for along the Ripon Rowel Walk.

I continued across the fields following the Ripon Rowel Walk for almost 2km to a minor road at map ref. SE202808. A few metres up the road is the stump of a large oak tree that was felled only four years ago. I believe it was about 400 years old.

The path goes round the fallen tree on the left and not through the yard
The path goes round the fallen tree on the left and not through the yard

A fine old oak tree by the path
A fine old oak tree by the path

Looking back towards Masham along the Ripon Rowel Walk
Looking back towards Masham along the Ripon Rowel Walk

Approaching the road at map ref. SE202808
Approaching the road at map ref. SE202808

Here I turned left off the road onto a track along the edge of a field.

After my break in the sunshine I headed south along the road for about 200m to map ref. SE202806.

Start of the track to Shaws farm from the road
Start of the track to Shaws Farm from the road

Looking back to Shaws Farm along the track above the River Burn
Looking back to Shaws Farm along the track above the River Burn

From this stoned area I followed a path around the edge of the field to a track next to a wood above the River Burn.

The track led me to Shaws Farm and between some farm buildings to a stoned yard area that is open on one side to a field on the east side of the farm.

Dropping down to the River Burn at the end of the woods
Dropping down to the River Burn at the end of the woods

Wooden field gate onto the golf course
Wooden field gate onto the golf course

Looking downthe River Burn from the footbridge
Looking down the River Burn from the footbridge

You can continue on a public footpath on the north side of the river on the golf course, but I crossed the footbridge and followed the path on the south side of the river through some rough woodland, then out onto the golf course.

At the end of the wood I continued on the track down a slope to the riverside and a wooden field gate into the golf course. Just through the gate on the right there is a footbridge over the River Burn.

Footbridge over the River Burn
Footbridge over the River Burn

Path through the woods by the River Burn
Path through the woods by the River Burn

Golfers' footbridge over the River Burn
Golfers' footbridge over the River Burn

Stile from the golf course to the road at map ref. SE216801
Stile from the golf course to the road at map ref. SE216801

River Burn through the golf course
River Burn through the golf course

There is also a well walked path along the riverbank with a delapidated green sign with white lettering proclaiming "Riverside Walk". I followed the Riverside Walk along the riverbank until I reached the road at map ref. SE226798.

After about 200m on the golf course the path brought me to a minor road at map ref. SE216801. I crossed the road and continued along the path by the riverside on the golf course. After about 300m the public footpath veers away from the river for a while.

River Burn through the golf course
River Burn through the golf course

Lichen covered branch of a hawthorn
Lichen covered branch of a hawthorn

Road bridge over the River Burn at map  ref SE226798
Road bridge over the River Burn at map ref SE226798

Alder catkins by the River Burn
Alder catkins by the River Burn

Ripon Rowel Walk by the River Burn
Ripon Rowel Walk by the River Burn

Ripon Rowel Walk by the River Burn
Ripon Rowel Walk by the River Burn

I followed the footpath on the north side of the River Burn. Here I had rejoined the Ripon Rowel Walk.

Here I turned left to cross the road bridge over the River Burn and then turned right off the road onto a footpath.

Ivy covered oak overhanging the River Ure
Ivy covered oak overhanging the River Ure

The confluence of the River Burn and the River Ure
The confluence of the River Burn and the River Ure

Hazel catkins by the River Ure
Hazel catkins by the River Ure

A comfortable seat by the River Ure
A comfortable seat by the River Ure

After just over a kilometer I was back at the riverside car park where I had started. On the way there was a comfortable seat where I sat to watch the river go by for almost half an hour.

I followed the path down to the confluence of the River Burn with the River Ure. I continued to follow the Ripon Rowel Walk upstream on the bank of the River Ure.

Oak apples
Oak apples

Ivy berries
Ivy berries

A comfortable seat by the River Ure
A comfortable seat by the River Ure
A lovely old oak recorded on the ancient tree hunt
A lovely old oak recorded on the ancient tree hunt
A copper beech recorded  on the Ancient tree hunt
A copper beech recorded on the Ancient tree hunt

After the walk, I drove up to the market square and had a coffee before driving back home. The whole walk had been about 8km and with all my stops to take photos and admire the view it had taken me about three and a half hours, a very pleasant outing indeed.

The church at Masham market square
The church at Masham market square

Yellow aconites anongst the ivy
Yellow aconites amongst the ivy

The church at Masham market square
The church at Masham market square

The market square in Masham
The market square in Masham with a 50p honesty box for car parking

Background Notes:
This walk is a circular route of 8km, about 5 miles, from the market square in Masham. Masham is a little market town on the banks of the River Ure where Wensleydale is flattening out to merge with the Vale of Mowbray. Masham has two main claims to fame, sheep and brewing. The annual sheep fair apparently sold tens of thousands of sheep in the past. It continues each September in the market square but these days there are far fewer sheep. There are two breweries in Masham, Theakston's founded in the early 1800's and The Black Sheep Brewery founded in 1992. The parish of Masham came under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of York in medieval times, but it was considered to be a far flung outpost that the Archbishop was reluctant to visit and so he granted the parish of Masham an independant status overseen by a local official called "The Peculier", thus saving the Archbishop the task of dealing with the affairs of Masham himself. This is the origin of the name of one of Masham's well known beers. Our walk leaves the market square to follow the route of the Ripon Rowel Walk that passes through Masham. The Ripon Rowel walk is a circular walk of about 80km from Ripon and Masham is at the northerly extemity of this long distance walk. We follow this route westwards out of the town across the fields heading towards the village of Fearby. After about 2km we reach a minor road where our route leaves the Ripon Rowel walk and turns back across the fields to skirt a rather muddy farm and drop down to the bank of the River Burn, a tributary of the River Ure. Here we come to a little footbridge over the river at the start of the Masham Golf Club course. There is a public footpath down both sides of the river and the route on my web site crosses the footbridge and uses the rather muddy path through the woods on the south bank of the river but if you prefer you can walk along the north bank on the manicured edge of the golf course. Both paths bring you to the road bridge over the River Burn by the Golf Club House near Swinton Hall. From the road bridge we follow the path along the south bank of the river Burn to the road into Masham. Here we rejoin the Ripon Rowel Walk and follow this route down to the confluence of the River Burn with the River Ure and then up stream along the bank of the River Ure back into Masham. Finally as you walk this route you should look out for a series of carved stone oak leaves about 1.5m long in various locations along the way. These stone oak leaves are a feature of the "Masham Leaves Walk". Masham is just on the edge of the Nidderdale AONB and you can download a leaflet giving full details of the Masham Leaves walk.

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