white horse logo

Path across the fields from Ouse Gill Beck towards Thorpe Underwood

Menu:

National Parks

| 2001 walks | 2002 walks | 2003 walks | 2004 walks |
| 2005 walks | 2006 walks | 2007 walks | 2008 walks |
| 2009 walks | 2010 walks | 2011 walks | 2012 walks |
| 2013 walks | 2014 walks | 2015 walks | 2016 walks |
| 2017 walks | 1993-2000 library | Find a Route |
| A few Routes to print out | Request a Route... |

Route No. 503 - Wednesday 3 April 2013
Great Ouseburn, Mill lane, Thorpe Head,
Thorpe Underwood, circuit - 8km
Boroughbridge . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer 299 Ripon & Boroughbridge at 1:25000


Meeting at the village hall for the Bronte Trail, part of the Borough Bridge Walking Festival
Meeting at the village hall for the Bronte Trail, part of the Borough Bridge Walking Festival

Setting off through Great Ouseburn
Setting off through Great Ouseburn

Memorial to Dr. John Crosby
Memorial to Dr. John Crosby

I am indebted to our guide for the information contained in this description of our walk. We all set off along the village street following our guide towards the parish church of St. Mary's. We entered the church yard and followed the path down the side of the church to view an obelisk monument inside some iron railings to Dr John Crosby a close friend of Bramwell Bronte. Dr. Crosby was well liked and admired by a group of friends and associates who erected the monument by subscription.

All this week there has been the Boroughbridge walking Festival with guided walks along a series of routes called 'Ure Walks Through Time' published by the local Parish Council. Today My mate, Jim, and I joined the walk along the 'Bronte Trail'. We met about 20 other walkers and our guide at the Great Ouseburn village hall at 1.30pm.

Heading for St. Mary's Parish church
Heading for St. Mary's Parish church

Entering the churchyard
Entering the churchyard

St. Mary's Church, Great Ouseburn
St. Mary's Church, Great Ouseburn

Belted Galloway cattle in a field by Church Field Lane
Belted Galloway cattle in a field by Church Field Lane

Turning on to Cross Lane
Turning on to Cross Lane

Cross Lane heading for Boat Lane
Cross Lane heading for Boat Lane

Here our guide explained that an RAF Flamingo aircraft on a top secret mission crashed in 1942. After about 800m we came to the end of Cross Lane at its junction with Boat Lane. Boat Lane used to lead to a ferry across the River Ure but it now leads to the toll bridge across the river.

We continued through the churchyard to the Church Field Lane at the rear of the church. We walked along this lane for about 500m to its junction with Cross Lane and here we all tuned right to walk along Cross Lane. After a few hundred metres we came to a field gate on the right hand side of the lane.

Following Cross Lane
Following Cross Lane

The site of a war time air crash
The site of a war time air crash

Wating to turn from Cross lane into Boat Lane
Wafting to turn from Cross lane into Boat Lane

Turning off Boat Lane on to a bridleway
Turning off Boat Lane on to a bridleway

Bridleway across the fields with Kirby Hall away to our right
Bridleway across the fields with Kirby Hall away to our right

In 1200 the estate was owned by William de Kirkeby and much later passed to the Thompson family. It was still a viable estate throughout the 1800's but in the early 1900's the Thompson family line died out and the new owners had Kirby Hall demolished, leaving only a small service wing. The hall that is visible today consists of more modern buildings incorporating the remnants of the old hall.

We walked along Boat Lane for about 200m where we turned off the lane onto a bridleway along the edges of the fields and woods. About 600m away to our right as we followed the bridleway we could see the remains of Kirby Hall. We stopped at a spot with a reasonable view of the hall and our guide explained some of the history of the hall.

Bridleway across the fields with Kirby Hall away to our right
Bridleway across the fields with Kirby Hall away to our right

Bridleway across the fields with Kirby Hall away to our right
Bridleway across the fields with Kirby Hall away to our right

A few of the many ewes and lambs we saw along the way
A few of the many ewes and lambs we saw along the way

Bridleway through the woods with Kirby Hall to our right
Bridleway through the woods with Kirby Hall to our right

Deer fenced path heading for Low Farm
Deer fenced path heading for Low Farm

Timber bridge over Ouse Gill Beck
Timber bridge over Ouse Gill Beck

At the farm there was a covered circular enclosure divided into segments each with its allocation of red deer being farmed for venison. I have never seen deer being kept in a covered enclosure like this. It all seemed to be very efficient and the deer were relatively calm for deer as we all walked by.

The bridleway led us to a wooden bridge over Ouse Gill Beck. About 1km from the bridge this small beck joins the River Ure and from there downstream the river is called the River Ouse. We followed a track from the bridge to Low Farm. For about the last 500m along the bridleway the fences by the path had all been high deer fences.

Deer fenced path heading for Low Farm
Deer fenced path heading for Low Farm

Timber bridge over Ouse Gill Beck
Timber bridge over Ouse Gill Beck

Approaching Low Farm from Ouse Gill Beck
Approaching Low Farm from Ouse Gill Beck

Red deer housed at Low Farm
Red deer housed at Low Farm

Path leaving the deer farm
Path leaving the deer farm

Path turning away from Ouse Gill Beck
Path turning away from Ouse Gill Beck

An awkward stile onto the lane to Thorpe Underwood
An awkward stile onto the lane to Thorpe Underwood

About 150m before we reached the river we turned right to follow a lane for a little over 1km to the village of Thorpe Underwood.

From the deer farm we followed a path heading south east following Ouse Gill Beck. The beck was dammed to form a series of large ponds on its way to join the River Ure.

Following Ouse Gill Beck from the deer farm
Following Ouse Gill Beck from the deer farm

Path across the fields from Ouse Gill Beck
Path across the fields from Ouse Gill Beck

The lane heading for Thorpe Underwood
The lane heading for Thorpe Underwood

Some of the ponds along Ouse Gill Beck
Some of the ponds along Ouse Gill Beck

The lane leading to Thorpe Underwood
The lane leading to Thorpe Underwood

This hall was built in the early 1900's to replace Thorpe Green Hall that was burnt down in 1898 and our guide explained the Bronte Connection with this area. It seems that from 1840 to 1845 Anne Bronte was employed by the owners of Thorpe Green Hall, the Rev. Edmund & Mrs Robinson. She worked as a governess to their children. As their governess she was taken with the family on various excursions into the surrounding area. The Bronte sisters' brother Bramwell was also employed by the Robinsons as a tutor and conducted a clandestine affair with Mrs Robinson until Mr Robinson discovered the affair and Bramwell was dismissed.

As we approached the village we could see numerous large high quality brick buildings all surrounded by a high brick wall with varnished timber gateways at intervals around the perimeter. We stopped in the village for our guide to explain that this huge complex is in fact Queen Ethelberga's College, a private school catering for children through out their education from 5 year old reception classes to sixth form university entrants. We glimpsed Thorpe Underwood Hall through one of the gates.

Entering Thorpe Underwood
Entering Thorpe Underwood

Thorpe Underwood Hall, part of Queen Ethelburga's College
Thorpe Underwood Hall, part of Queen Ethelburga's College

Thorpe Green Lane heading for Little Ouseburn
Thorpe Green Lane heading for Little Ouseburn

Here the road to our left goes through Little Ouseburn. At this junction on our right is a gate house to Kirby Hall.

We followed Thorpe Green Lane out of the village towards Little Ouseburn. After about 2km we came to a road junction.

Thorpe Green Lane heading for Little Ouseburn
Thorpe Green Lane heading for Little Ouseburn

Former entrance and gate house to Kirby Hall
Former entrance and gate house to Kirby Hall

Road between Little and Great Ouseburn
Road between Little and Great Ouseburn

Arriving at Holy Trinity Chrch
Arriving at Holy Trinity Church

In the churchyard there is a domed mausoleum to housing the remains of members of the Thompson family of Kirby Hall.

We continued along the road to the Holy Trinity parish church on our left at a bend in the road.

Thompson family mausoleum at Holy Trinity Church
Thompson family mausoleum at Holy Trinity Church

Holy Trinity Church at Little Ouseburn
Holy Trinity Church at Little Ouseburn

Holy Trinity Church at Little Ouseburn
Holy Trinity Church at Little Ouseburn

Little Ouseburn Bridge seen from the churchyard
Little Ouseburn Bridge seen from the churchyard

Path beside Little Ouseburn road bridge
Path beside Little Ouseburn road bridge

From the same spot looking East there is a view of what remains of Kirby Hall and about 150m further on at the road junction with Boat Lane we could see another gate house to the hall about 100m along Boat Lane.

From the church we followed a path at the side of the road to cross Ouse Gill Beck on a wooden footbridge beside Little Ouseburn Bridge, a brick and stone arched road bridge. Once across the beck the view back to the church is a view sketched by Anne Bronte during her time at Thorpe Green Hall.

Footbridge over Ouse Gill Beckby the road bridge
Footbridge over Ouse Gill Beck by the road bridge

View of Holy Trinity church sketched by Anne Bronte
View of Holy Trinity church sketched by Anne Bronte

Kirby Hall seen from Little Ouseburn Bridge
Kirby Hall seen from Little Ouseburn Bridge

The two plaques are one in English and one in Russian. We walled along the village street back to the village hall at the northern end of the village and the end of our walk. There was a hot drink and biscuits in the village hall before we drove home across the toll bridge over the River Ure. The whole walk had been 8km and it had take almost 3 hours to walk including the very interesting stops to listen to the information provided by our guide. Many thanks to everyone involved in organising this walking festival and in -particular for a very enjoyable afternoon walk in an area I had not explored before.

We continued along the road into Great Ouseburn. A couple of hundred metres into the village on the right hand side of the road are two blue plaques that explain the story of the war time crashed aircraft off Cross Lane. It seems that our government were conducting secret negotiations with Stalin's Russia to form an alliance against Hitler's Germany. The plane was carrying high ranking Russian negotiators who were killed along with everyone else on board. The whole incident was hushed up and relatives were not even told where the crash had happened.

Background Notes:
Throughout Easter week 2013 there was the first local walking festival in Boroughbridge. It was based around a series of walk leaflets called 'Ure Walks through Time', published by the parish council and available on-line. On Wednesday 3 April I joined a group of about 20 people for one of these guided walks called 'The Bronte Trail', starting at Great Ouseburn village hall. It's an 10km, 6 mile, circuit across the fields to Thorpe Underwood and back along the lanes past Little Ouseburn.The Bronte connection with this area is that Anne Bronte worked for five years as a governess for the Rev. Edmund Robinson and his wife at Thorpe Green Hall in the village of Thorpe Underwood. Anne's brother Bramwell joined her as a tutor for about 18 months, but whilst there he had an affair with Mrs. Robinson, apparently at her instigation. Inevitably Rev. Robinson found out and Bramwell was dissmissed. Both Anne and Bramwell drew inspiration for their literary works from the places they saw in this locality. Promtly at 1.30pm our guide led us out from the village hall to St. Mary's Church in Great Ouseburn where there is a small obelisk monument to Dr. John Crosby who was a good friend to Bramwell Bronte. We followed the lanes from the rear of the church past the site of a wartime plane crash, about which more later. Our route continued across the fields around the edge of the grounds of the old Kirby Hall. This was a large mansion set in it's own parkland and owned by the Thompson family for many gernerations until the family line died out and most of the old hall was demolished. The remains of the old hall and some more recent development can be seen across the fields. It's thought that the old Palladian Mansion of Kirby Hall was Anne's inspiration for Ashby Hall in her novel Agnes Grey, published in 1847. The route took us along part of Ouse Gill Beck just before it joins the River Ure and it's from this confluence that the river is called the River Ouse. The approach to Thorpe Underwood village is past a large high quality development with a tall brick wall around it. This turned out to be Queen Ethelburga's College, a large boarding school. Through one of the gates we saw the present day Thorpe Underwood Hall. This building replaced Thorpe Green Hall where Anne Bronte lived and worked, when it was destroyed by fire in 1898. The route follows the lanes from Thorpe Underwood to Little Ouseburn's Holy Trinity Church. Here there is a large mausoleum with a domed roof in the churchyard. This houses the remains of numerous members of the Thompson family from the old Kirby Hall. From the church we cross Ouse Gill Beck next to Little Ouseburn Bridge and follow the road back through Great Ouseburn. In the village there are two blue plaques comemorating the crash in 1942 of an RAF Flemingo aircraft that killed everyone aboard. We passed the crash site near the start of the walk. The plane was on a secret mission carrying high ranking Russian officals to talks with the British government about a alliance between them against Hitler's Germany. At the time it was all hushed up but recently the true nature of the flight has been acknowledged and these two plaques erected, one in English and one in Russian. From there our guide led us through Great Ouseburn back to the village Hall and the end of the walk.

top of page