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Footpath across the fields heading South to Bishop Monkton
Footpath across the fields heading South to Bishop Monkton

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Route No. 507 - Thursday 6 June 2013
Ripon Canal, Littlethorpe, Bishop Monkton,
Ripon Rowel Route, River Ure circuit - 11km
Ripon . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer 299 Ripon & Boroughbridge


The canal tow path approaching Rhodesfield Lock at the start of our walk
The canal tow path approaching Rhodesfield Lock at the start of our walk

The marina viewed from the footbridge at the entrance
The marina viewed from the footbridge at the entrance

Nicholsons Bridge over the canal
Nicholsons Bridge over the canal

We continued along the tow path to the footbridge over the entrance to a marina where a great many canal narrow boats were moored. A little way beyond the marina there were two wooden hut hides, open to the public that look out over the large wetland nature reserve next to Ripon Race Course. There are large numbers of ducks, geese, waders and other birds that over winter here but it's fairly quiet at this time of year although we did see a pair of swans with a family of cygnets. We followed the tow path to Nicholsons Bridge over the canal at the Ripon Motor Boat Club's marina.

This morning promised to be another bright warm sunny day continuing the spell of fine summer weather we have been enjoying since the beginning of June. My mate, Jim, and I drove to the edge of Ripon. We approached the town on the road from Boroughbridge across the River Ure and past the racecourse. Just past the racecourse and next to the Ripon canal there is a small car park off the B6265 at map ref. SE323704 where we planned to start our walk. From the car park we went through a gate on to the canal tow path and turned left to walk south along the tow path. After just a few metres we passed Rhodesfield Lock and then after another 250m we passed Bell Furrows Lock.

Looking back to Bell Furrows Lock across the marina entrance
Looking back to Bell Furrows Lock across the marina entrance

The Ripon Motor Boat Club marina at Nicholsons Bridge
The Ripon Motor Boat Club marina at Nicholsons Bridge

Crossing Nicholsons Bridge
Crossing Nicholsons Bridge

Turning on to the road at Littlethorpe
Turning on to the road at Littlethorpe

The road out of Littlethorpe
The road out of Littlethorpe

Horse chestnut flowers over hanging the road
Horse chestnut flowers over hanging the road

At the road we turned left and walked along the road through the village past the unusual brick church of St Michael and all Angels. We followed the road for about 1.5km out of the village to map ref. SE325677. Here the road makes a sharp right hand turn and straight ahead is the access road to the Fairfield poultry farm.

The Ripon Motor Boat Club were instrumental in getting restoration of the Ripon Canal underway in the 1960's after the canal had been closed and neglected since the very early 1900's. From the bridge we followed a lane to the road on the edge of Littlethorpe.

Heavy horses grazing by the lane
Heavy horses grazing by the lane

Brick church of St. Michael & All Angels at Littlethorpe
Brick church of St. Michael & All Angels at Littlethorpe

The site of Littlethorpe village pin fold
The site of Littlethorpe village pin fold

Turning to Fairfield poultry farm
Turning to Fairfield poultry farm

Path through fairfield poultry farm
Path through Fairfield poultry farm

The path heading for Bishop Monkton
The path heading for Bishop Monkton

The path continues across the field and then crosses a farm track to a stile a little to the left.

We walked along this access road, the public footpath keeps to the left and then turns right to pass round the side of a large poultry shed to go through a pedestrian gate in a high steel fence.

The path goes through this gate in the steel fence
The path goes through this gate in the steel fence

The path heading for Bishop Monkton
The path heading for Bishop Monkton

Sheep by the path across the fields heading for Bishop Monkton
Sheep by the path across the fields heading for Bishop Monkton

Footpath across the fields to Bishop Monkton
Footpath across the fields to Bishop Monkton

Footpath across the fields to Bishop Monkton
Footpath across the fields to Bishop Monkton

Footpath across the fields approaching Bishop Monkton
Footpath across the fields approaching Bishop Monkton

At the road we turned right and kept to the left of the road. It's a pretty village with a stream running alongside the road over hung with willow trees.

We followed the path across several more fields before we came out on to the road in the village of Bishop Monkton at map ref. SE330665.

Footpath across the fields to Bishop Monkton
Footpath across the fields to Bishop Monkton

Footpath across the fields to Bishop Monkton
Footpath across the fields to Bishop Monkton

Joining the road in Bishop Monkton
Joining the road in Bishop Monkton

The stream by the road in Bishop Monkton
The stream by the road in Bishop Monkton

Walking along Main Street in Bishop Monkton
Walking along Main Street in Bishop Monkton

Site where the time capsules are buried
Site where the time capsules are buried

From the time capsule site we followed the road along side the stream for about 170m to map ref. SE329662. Here we turned left off the road to follow the route of the Ripon Rowel Walk along a lane heading East between high hedges.

The road bends round to the right but we kept to the left across the stream to follow a tiny road called "Main Street". Next to the stream on Main Street in a large boulder with an inscription indicating that three 'time capsule' containers were buried there at the millennium.

The stream by Main Street in Bishop Monkton
The stream by Main Street in Bishop Monkton

Joining the Ripon Rowel route heading East out of Bishop Monkton
Joining the Ripon Rowel route heading East out of Bishop Monkton

Ripon Rowel route heading East out of Bishop Monkton
Ripon Rowel route heading East out of Bishop Monkton

The lane became a narrow path between high hedges
The lane became a narrow path between high hedges

Gate on to the road at the eastern end of Bishop Monkton
Gate on to the road at the eastern end of Bishop Monkton

As we passed beneath some large willow trees a buzzard took off and began to spiral upwards on the warm air. Very quickly it had climbed too high for us to track it any longer but what a wonderful sight it was circling right above us with the patterns under its broad wings clearly visible as it started its ascent. We followed the path across the fields to the road at the eastern end of Bishop Monkton at map ref. SE340688.

We continued along this lane for about 1.1km. Here the stony lane turned right towards a farm, but we continued straight on still following the Ripon Rowel route. The track went down a slope and at the bottom it became a narrow path between the fields through high hedges. After about 200m we emerged from this path into open fields.

Ripon Rowel route heading East from Bishop Monkton
Ripon Rowel route heading East from Bishop Monkton

Stile under some willow trees where we saw the buzzard
Stile under some willow trees where we saw the buzzard

Red campion on the road side
Red campion on the road side

Bishop Monkton name sign
Bishop Monkton name sign

Just opposite this sign we turned off the road on to a path through the trees down to the bank of the River Ure at map ref. SE338674.

At the road we turned left and walked along the road for about 150m to the village name sign, Bishop Monkton, surrounded by flowers.

Path from the road to the River Ure
Path from the road to the River Ure

Path to the river Ure across some fields of newly cut hay
Path to the river Ure across some fields of newly cut hay

Path to the river Ure across some fields of newly cut hay
Path to the river Ure across some fields of newly cut hay

Path from the road to the River Ure
Path from the road to the River Ure

Shoals of tiny fish along the sandy edge of the river
Shoals of tiny fish along the sandy edge of the river

Next to the sandy edge of the river there were shoals of tiny fish and a small flock of Canada geese circled overhead for a while, honking as they went. We continued along the river bank for almost 1km to the start of the Ripon canal. A narrow boat came up river and passed us at the mouth of the canal.

We turned left at the river bank to walk along the river side heading upstream. It was pleasantly warm with a clear blue sky. There were a large number of black headed gulls flying up and down the river. The gulls were hovering briefly to pick morsels of food from just below the surface as they went.

Path from the road to the River Ure
Path from the road to the River Ure

Walking up stream along the River Ure
Walking up stream along the River Ure

Sheep grazing the river flood bank
Sheep grazing the river flood bank

Looking down stream along the River Ure
Looking down stream along the River Ure

Narrow boat entering the mouth of the Ripon canal from the River Ure
Narrow boat entering the mouth of the Ripon canal from the River Ure

Approaching Ox Close Lock from the River Ure
Approaching Ox Close Lock from the River Ure

Ox Close Lock on the Ripon Canal
Ox Close Lock on the Ripon Canal

Path by the canal from Ox Close Lock to Rentons Bridge
Path by the canal from Ox Close Lock to Rentons Bridge

There is a foot board and hand rail on the lock gates and we crossed the canal there. As we walked along the side of the canal a heron that had been standing in the long grass by the canal, took off and disappeared behind the trees across the field. It was probably hunting frogs in the damp grass.

We walked about 150m along the canal to the first lock, Ox Close Lock, where the narrow boat that had passed us was mooring. At the lock the public footpath continues beside the canal to cross at the next bridge, called Renton's Bridge.

Ox Close Lock on the Ripon Canal
Ox Close Lock on the Ripon Canal

Crossing the canal at Ox Close Lock
Crossing the canal at Ox Close Lock

Path by the canal from Ox Close Lock to Rentons Bridge
Path by the canal from Ox Close Lock to Rentons Bridge

Rentons Bridge over the Ripon Canal
Rentons Bridge over the Ripon Canal

White painted railings of Ripon Race Course
White painted railings of Ripon Race Course

We passed the white painted railings that mark out the race course and then soon came to the Ripon Motor Boat Club's marina and Nicholsons Bridge, that we had crossed early in our walk.

From Renton's Bridge we continued along the tow path, still following the Ripon Rowel route which goes all the way back to the car park where we started our walk.

Tow path heading for Nicholsons Bridge
Tow path heading for Nicholsons Bridge

Narrow boats moored on the canal next to the Ripon Motor Boat Club marina
Narrow boats moored on the canal next to the Ripon Motor Boat Club marina

Tow path nearing the end of our walk
Tow path nearing the end of our walk

Bell Furrows Lock on our way back to the car park
Bell Furrows Lock on our way back to the car park

The whole route had been 11km and it had taken us 3hrs. 45mins. to walk on this very pleasant summer's day. We headed off home and called in, on the way, for a bacon sandwich and a coffee for our lunch.

We continued past the bridge along the tow path, past the narrow boat marina and the locks, back to the car park by the road (B6265) to reach the end of our walk.

Mother duck with its surviving ducklings
Mother duck with its surviving ducklings

Grey wagtail on the side of Bell Furrows Lock
Grey wagtail on the side of Bell Furrows Lock

Rhodesfield Lock as we neared the car park
Rhodesfield Lock as we neared the car park

Rhodesfield Lock as we neared the car park at the end of our walk
Rhodesfield Lock as we neared the car park at the end of our walk

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