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Lock on the Milby Cut seen from the footbridge over the canal
Lock on the Milby Cut seen from the footbridge over the canal

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Route No. 381 - Wednesday 24 November 2010
Boroughbridge, River Ure, Myton-on-Swale,
Milby, Milby Cut circuit - 12km
Boroughbridge . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS explorer 299 Ripon & Boroughbridge


Wier on the River Ure at Boroughbridge
Weir on the River Ure at Boroughbridge

Bridge over the Ure at Boroughbridge
Bridge over the Ure at Boroughbridge

Path by the Ure on Milby Island
Path by the Ure on Milby Island

River Ure downstream of Milby Cut
River Ure downstream of Milby Cut

This is a wooded strip of land between the Milby Cut canal and the River Ure. The Milby Cut is part of the Ripon Canal system and by-passes the large weir on the River Ure at Boroughbridge. After almost 700m we came to the Milby Lock on the canal at map ref. SE401673. We crossed the canal by the footbridge and continued along the public footpath on the Northern bank of the River Ure. We followed the river for about 1km from the lock to Ellenthorpe Hall, a large Victorian farmstead.

The weather forecast for today is quite gloomy with plenty of cloud about and the possibility of a light shower. We decided not to travel far and we drove to Boroughbridge on the River Ure. We parked at a little picnic area car park next to the river at map ref. SE394671. The entrance to the car park is off a roundabout that straddles the canal. From the car park we crossed the road and walked almost 100m to the road bridge over the River Ure. At the road bridge we turned left off the road to follow a footpath along the northern bank of the river on Milby Island.

Start of the path along Milby Island from Boroughbridge
Start of the path along Milby Island from Boroughbridge

Lock at the start of Milby Cut
Lock at the start of Milby Cut

Approaching Ellenthorpe Hall
Approaching Ellenthorpe Hall

Ellenthorpe Hall by the River Ure
Ellenthorpe Hall by the River Ure

Flood debris on the bank of the Ure
Flood debris on the bank of the Ure

The jetty served the Roman town ("Isurium") sited next to the present day village of Aldborough. Apparently the old timber foundations can still be seen when the river is very low.

Beyond Ellenthorpe Hall the river makes a large loop and the land within the loop is called Hall Arm. Here there was once a Roman jetty.

Storm water outlet into the Ure
Storm water outlet into the Ure

Flood bank by the River Ure
Flood bank by the River Ure

Confluence of the River Swale (left) and the River Ure (right)
Confluence of the River Swale (left) and the River Ure (right)

Only the Ure is classed as navigable
Only the Ure is classed as navigable

The River Swale is not classed as navigable but the River Ure and the Ripon canal together provide access for boats upstream to Ripon.

About 3km along the river bank from Ellenthorpe Hall we came to the confluence of the river Ure and the River Swale at map ref. SE430660.

Heading upstream by the Swale
Heading upstream by the Swale

Flood debris on the bank of the Swale
Flood debris on the bank of the Swale

River Swale near Myton
River Swale near Myton

Trunk of a large White Poplar tree
Trunk of a large White Poplar tree

 

Ewes all marked with red raddle showing how busy the tupp has been
Ewes all marked with red raddle showing how busy the tupp has been

After recording details of the tree we continued along the river bank for another 600m to the bridge at Myton-on-Swale. There is a seat at the bridge with a nice view along the river where we stopped for our lunch break. Next to the seat is a very well done plaque with details of the battle of Myton on this site in 1319 between the English and the Scots, who were victorious.

From there we followed the Western bank of the River Swale upstream for almost 400m to a small tributary. Amongst the trees here we spotted a large white poplar which we decided to record for the "Ancient Tree Hunt". It's easy to do and helps to provide valuable information about our heritage of ancient trees.

Path along the flood bank by the Swale
Path along the flood bank by the Swale

Trunk of a large White Poplar tree
Trunk of a large White Poplar tree

Sheep grazing by the Swale
Sheep grazing by the Swale

Blue Faced Leicester tupp with his chest soaked in red raddle marker
Blue Faced Leicester tupp with his chest soaked in red raddle marker

Bridge over the River Swale at Myton-on-Swale
Bridge over the River Swale at Myton-on-Swale

Leaving the bridge at Myton for Colt House Farm
Leaving the bridge at Myton for Colt House Farm

Heading for Colt House Farm
Heading for Colt House Farm

At the farm there is an young oak tree planted in 1995 an marked by a plaque recording the visit on one of the Crown Estate Commissioners.

After our break we took the bridleway around the site of the battle to Clot House farm about 1.5km away. Clot House Farm is a Crown Estate property.

Field drainage system near Colt House Farm
Field drainage system near Colt House Farm

Heading for Colt House Farm
Heading for Colt House Farm

Walking through the site of the battle of Myton (1319)
Walking through the site of the battle of Myton (1319)

The lane from Colt House Farm
The lane from Colt House Farm

At the road junction we turned left to walk along quite a busy road for about 1km to the village of Milby.

From the farm we walked along the lane for a little over 2km to the road junction at map ref. SE408683.

The road to Milby
The road to Milby

Entering the village of Milby
Entering the village of Milby

The lane through Milby
The lane through Milby

Milby Lock at the start of the Milby Cut canal
Milby Lock at the start of the Milby Cut canal

This time, from the lock we followed the canal for about 600m to the roundabout where we had parked. We crossed the road and returned to the car. The whole walk had been 12km and it had taken us four and a quarter hours including our lunch break.

In the village at map ref. SE402678, we turned left to follow the lane through the village. At the edge of the village the lane becomes the access route for British waterways to the Milby Cut canal, and it's open to pedestrians. We followed the access back to Milby Lock on the canal, where we crossed back over the canal on the footbridge.

Path by Milby Lock
Path by Milby Lock

Path along Milby Island by the canal
Path along Milby Island by the canal

Approaching the end of our walk along the Milby Cut  canal
Approaching the end of our walk along the Milby Cut canal

Background Notes:
This walk is a circuit of 12km, that's 8 miles, from Boroughbridge. We start from a little car park at Langthorpe on the northern edge of Boroughbridge beside the River Ure with a nice view of the weir across the river. In 1767 an Act of Parliament was passed authorising work to make the River Ure navigable to Ripon. The work envolved the building of wiers to make the river a reliable depth for boats and the construction of short lengths of canal to bypass these wiers with a lock to allow boats through. The weir at Boroughbridge and the Milby Cut canal were part of this work and we start out on our walk along the Milby Cut. There's a pleasant wooded strip of land called Milby Island between the river and the canal that leads to the lock at Milby where the canal rejoins the river. We cross the canal and continue along the river bank past Ellenthorpe Hall. This is quite an impressive farm house and out buildings set on a rise above the normal river flood levels. These buildings were sketched by Turner, the artist renowned for his seascapes. He made a tour of this part of Yorkshire making sketches for future paintings in the summer of 1816 and the sketch of Ellenthorpe Hall is in the Tate Gallery. It's believed that Turner stayed at an inn in Boroughbridge which was a busy stop-over for stage coaches on the old Great North Road. We continue past Ellenthorpe Hall to the confluence of the River Ure with the River Swale. From there we walk upstream along the bank of the River Swale to the bridge at Myton-on-Swale. Here there was a huge battle in 1319 between an army of Scots and an Yorkshire malitia. The English King Edward II was besieging Berwick-on-Tweed, then occupied by the Scots, and the Scottish King, Robert the Bruce sent an army into Northern England to draw the English army away from Berwick. The Archbishop of York raised a malitia of Yorkshiremen and clergy to confront the Scots as they were approaching York and the two armies met at Myton. This rag-tag malitia was over-run by the Scots with great loss of life. It had the desired effect and King Edward took his army from Berwick to chase down the Scots but they evaded him and returned across the border to Scotland. There's a good information board on the battlefield near the bridge at Myton. Our route takes us around the battle field past Clot House Farm. This farm is managed by the Crown Estates Commission. There's a small oak tree, planted in 1995, next to the track with a plaque commemorating a visit by The Earl of Mansfield who was then about to retire as the Chairman, or First Crown Estate Commissioner as the chairman is known. From the farm we follow the lane to Milby and rejoin the path across the lock at Milby Cut and back into Boroughbridge. Back in the town it's worth visiting the museum of the Roman Town of Boroughbridge called Isurium. It's at Aldborough on the western edge of the town, and going even further back into the history of the area there are three large stone monoliths called 'The Devil's Arrows' on the Roecliff side of the town between the town and the A1 motorway. They are about 6m, 20ft, tall and are about 1.5m square at the base and spaced out in a line about 100m apart. There were originally at least 4 such stones but no-one knows what their purpose was. They are millstone grit, not a local material, probably from Plumpton Rocks near Knarsborough, that's nine or ten miles away and they each weigh over 25 tons. So how they got here is a bit of a puzzle which brings us to the end of our little walk from Boroughbridge.

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