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Path beside Eavestone Lake in a rocky wooded ravine
Path beside Eavestone Lake in a rocky wooded ravine

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Route No. 380 - Wednesday 10 November 2010
Sawley, Lacon Cross, Warsill Hall Farm,
Eavestone Lake circuit - 9km
Nidderdale (AONB) . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer 298 Nidderdale at 1:25000


Lych gate at Sawley church
Lych gate at Sawley church

Start of the path to Lacon Hall
Start of the path to Lacon Hall

Spring bubbling up in the middle of a field
Spring bubbling up in the middle of a field

We walked Southwards along the road through the village for about 250m from the church to a junction at map ref. SE249674. Here we turned right into a lane and then immediately left off the lane to climb a stile and follow a footpath across the fields to Lacon Hall. As we approached the hall the old path had been diverted to the right to pass behind the hall, a far better arrangement than everyone walking up the drive past the house.

The weather forecast for today was good. One fine sunny day sandwiched between wet and windy days, so this morning my friend, Jim, & I drove to the village of Sawley in Nidderdale. We parked by the church in the village street about a kilometer off the B6265 at map ref. SE249677. There was a good deal of high cloud as we set off but by midday the sky had cleared completely.

Looking back to Sawley from the stile into the fields
Looking back to Sawley from the stile into the fields

Path across the fields to Lacon Hall
Path across the fields to Lacon Hall

Start of the diverted path around Lacon Hall
Start of the diverted path around Lacon Hall

Heading away from Lacon Hall to Lacon Cross
Heading away from Lacon Hall to Lacon Cross

Heading for Lacon Cross
Heading for Lacon Cross

We did not enter the wood, instead we followed the path diagonally across the field to pass the remains of Lacon Cross on an old trade route to Fountains Abbey.

From the field behind the hall the path followed the wall up to the corner of a wood at map ref. SE244667.

Looking back to Lacon Hall
Looking back to Lacon Hall

The remains of Lacon Cross
The remains of Lacon Cross

The track called Green Lane  by the Manor Allotment  wood
The track called Green Lane by the Manor Allotment wood

Stile from Green Lane into the field
Stile from Green Lane into the field

Path through the wood to Butterton bridge
Path through the wood to Butterton Bridge

Butterton Bridge built by the Cictertions of Fountains Abbey
Butterton Bridge built by the Cistercians of Fountains Abbey

We entered the wood through a pedestrian gate and followed the marked path down the hillside and across a track to an ancient stone bridge called Butterton Bridge at map ref. SE237664. The bridge is overgrown but the stone arch can still be seen beneath the hanging vegetation.

At the edge of the field we emerged onto a track called Green Lane at the corner of a wood called Manor Allotment. We turned right to follow the track and climbed a stile into a field. Once in the field we headed Southwest across the field and down a slope to the edge of some woodland about 250m away.

Heading into the wood towards Butterton Bridge
Heading into the wood towards Butterton Bridge

Path through the wood to Butterton bridge
Path through the wood to Butterton Bridge

More autumn fungus
More autumn fungus

Climbing up from Butterton Bridge towards  Warsgill Hall farm
Climbing up from Butterton Bridge towards Warsill Hall farm

Large ladder stile at Warsgill Hall farm
Large ladder stile at Warsill Hall farm

Apples overhanging the path
Apples overhanging the path

A deer observation seat
A deer observation seat

Long straight track through High Moor plantation
Long straight track through High Moor plantation

After about 400m we came to the edge of a forestry plantation named High Moor on the map. We walked along a long straight forest track for about 1.5km to the B6265 at map ref. SE225673. We crossed the main road and walked along a minor road towards the village of Eavestone.

We continued along the path up to the edge of the wood and then followed the path up, across the grass fields to Warsill Hall farm. Behind the farm at map ref. SE234659, we crossed a large ladder stile and turned right to follow a track along the edge of the field.

Waiting for Christmas?
Ready for Christmas?

Approaching High Moor forestry plantation
Approaching High Moor forestry plantation

Long straight track through High Moor plantation
Long straight track through High Moor plantation

The lane heading for Eaverstone village
The lane heading for Eavestone village

The lane heading for Eaverstone village
The lane heading for Eavestone village

The upper end of Eaverstone Lake
The upper end of Eavestone Lake

I tried to take a photo, but the contrast between the sunny rock face and the dark water and woodland was too much for my 'point and click' camera to handle. We crossed a footbridge over the narrow neck in the lake and followed the path along the Northern shore of the lake.

After about 400m we came to a 'T'-junction where we turned right and after another 200m we followed the road round a 90 degree left-hand bend. Just round this bend we took a path into the woods from the right hand side of the road. This was a narrow footpath through the trees, but at the road was an inexplicable hand written sign on a yellow disc warning of "HGV's 24/7". The path began to descend some wide steps to the start of Eavestone Lake, and we could see the lake below us with a high, sheer rocky cliff in the sunlight opposite.

Path from the lane down to Eaverstone Lake
Path from the lane down to Eavestone Lake

Footbridge over the neck in Eaverstone Lake
Footbridge over the neck in Eavestone Lake

The wooded path alongside Eaverstone Lake
The wooded path alongside Eavestone Lake

The wooded path alongside Eaverstone Lake
The wooded path alongside Eavestone Lake

The wooded path alongside Eaverstone Lake
The wooded path alongside Eavestone Lake

We came to a large old beech tree by the path which I though was worth recording for the "Ancient Tree Hunt". We measured it, recorded it's position with my gps gadget and took some photos.

It was an idyllic place in the autumn sunshine with the lake, the cliffs and rocky outcrops and the autumn colours on the wooded side of the rocky ravine.

Old beech tree by Eaverstone Lake
Old beech tree by Eavestone Lake which
we recorded for the Ancient tree Hunt

The wooded path alongside Eaverstone Lake
The wooded path alongside Eavestone Lake

We did not see another person and yet this path is part of the Ripon Rowel Route.

A little further on we found a spot to sit on the edge of the lake for our lunch. It was so beautiful and it was so quiet.

The wooded path alongside Eaverstone Lake
The wooded path alongside Eavestone Lake

The wooded path alongside Eaverstone Lake
The wooded path alongside Eavestone Lake

Stone arch bridge over the outlet from Eaverstone Lake
Stone arch bridge over the outlet from Eavestone Lake

From there we followed the path up through the woods and across the fields to Hollin Hill Farm.

After our break we continued around the lake to a stone arch footbridge over the outlet from the lake at map ref. SE229681.

Stone arch bridge over the outlet from Eaverstone Lake
Stone arch bridge over the outlet from Eavestone Lake

Stone arch bridge over the outlet from Eaverstone Lake
Stone arch bridge over the outlet from Eavestone Lake

 

Trailer and debris obstructing the path
Trailer and debris obstructing the path

Just past the farm the ground was very wet and boggy and there was a stream of animal slurry running along part of the path.

The path was obstructed with debris on the approach to the farm.

Looking back to Hollin Hill Farm
Looking back to Hollin Hill Farm

Looking North from Hollin Hill Farm
Looking North from Hollin Hill Farm

Gowbusk Farm - turn left just past the house
Gowbusk Farm - turn left just past the house

Start of the path back to Sawley from the A6265
Start of the path back to Sawley from the A6265

Looking East from the path back to Sawley
Looking East from the path back to Sawley

We entered the village along the side of the green by the village hall and walked back along the road to our car by the church. The whole walk had been about 9km and I'm afraid to say that it took us almost four hours to walk including a lingering lunch stop by the lake. I'm getting slower and slower! On the way home we stopped at the Fountains Abbey Visitor Centre for a coffee to round off our day.

We continued along the wet path to Gowbusk Farm and from there we continued along the Ripon Rowel Route along a farm track to the B6265 at map ref. SE240680. We crossed the road and took the footpath opposite and a few metres to the left. This path is the continuation of the Ripon Rowel Route which we followed back to Sawley about 1km away.

Looking back to Gowbusk farm from the main road A6265
Looking back to Gowbusk farm from the main road A6265

Path across the fields to Sawley
Path across the fields to Sawley

Path across the fields to Sawley
Path across the fields to Sawley

Returning to Sawley across the fields
Returning to Sawley across the fields at the end of our walk

Background Notes:
This is a circular walk of almost 6 miles (9km) from the village of Sawley, dating from Saxon times. It's west of Ripon a few miles beyond Fountains Abbey in the Nidderdale area of outstanding natural beauty. There's plenty of room to park on the village green by the village hall. On the village green there's the village pump constructed in the early 1900's. Before that water was carried mainly by women, from springs outside the village. A few years after the pump was installed the men of the village, the only people with a vote, voted against the Harrogate Council's offer to supply piped water to the village. The village didn't get a public piped water supply until the early 1960's. The parish church of St Michaels and All Angels dating from the 1870's replaced an older church built a 100 years earlier and the present altar, pulpit and porch were constructed from the wood of the pews from the original church. The clock on the side of the church marks Queen Victoria’s Silver Jubilee. From Sawley our route goes across the fields to Lacon Hall. This is a grade 2 listed building that dates from the early 1600's. A little way beyond the hall the route passes Lacon Cross. There is the stone base, the stone socket and part of the shaft of the cross. The cross was used by the monks of Fountains Abbey to mark the route from the abbey grange at Warsill and their land to the south passing over Butterton Bridge to the abbey. From Lacon Cross our route goes over Butterton Bridge and it's worth stopping to have a look at it. Butterton Bridge is a stone structure that was built in the 1200's for Fountains Abbey. The bridge is quite overgrown now but it's still possible to get a view of the ancient stonework with it's pointed Norman arch and supporting ribs. Our path crosses the bridge and heads up to Warsill Hall farm which is built on the site of the old Warsill Grange. From there we go through a large conifer plantation and head towards the village of Eavestone. Before we reach the village we turn off into some woods. As the path goes down a slope in the woods there, through the trees, is Eavestone lake below the path with tall irregular gritstone cliffs above it. The path drops down to cross a footbridge over a narrow neck in the lake. We follow the path along the wooded edge of the lake with the gritsone cliffs above. It's a magical place, where you need time to sit on the lake side and just enjoy this wonderful scene, particularly now that the autumn colours are starting to show in the trees. Our route crosses an ancient pack horse bridge over the outlet from the lake called Hungate Dike, a tributary of the River Skell that flows down to Fountains Abbey. The path around the lake is part of the Ripon Rowel Route, a 50 miles circuit around the city of Ripon full of interesting sites and scenery. A rowel is an old name for a spur and in the 1700's Ripon was famous for making the very best quality spurs. So much so, that at the time there was a common saying, "as true steel as Ripon rowels", and it was used to describe someone of outstanding bravery and courage. We follow the Ripon Rowel route across the fields back to Sawley and the end of our walk.

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