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Ford & footbridge across the River Washburn at map ref. SE 157 568
Ford & footbridge across the River Washburn at map ref. SE 157 568

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Route No. 675 - Thursday 15 June 2017
Blubberhouses, Hall Lane, Kex Gill Road,
Redshaw Hall, Washburn Valley circuit - 8km
Lower Wharfedale . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer 297 Lower Wharfedale & Washburn Valley


The church of St Andrew at Blubberhouses seen from the car park by the A59 at the head of Fewston Reservoir
The church of St Andrew at Blubberhouses seen from the car park by the A59 at the head of Fewston Reservoir

Turning off the A59 on to Hall Lane at the start of our walk
Turning off the A59 on to Hall Lane at the start of our walk

One of several free range hens on Hall Lane
One of several free range hens on Hall Lane

We walked westwards for about 50m to the crossroads where we turned right into Hall Lane. It's a narrow lane that goes down to the road bridge over Hall Beck and then climbs up past Blubberhouses Hall, an imposing building nicely renovated.

This morning my neighbour, Jim, & I drove out along the A59 from Harrogate to Blubberhouses and parked in the free car park off the A59 at the head of Fewston Reservoir (map ref. SE 168 553). From the car park entrance we crossed the A59 with lots of fast traffic.

Hall Lane road bridge over Hall Beck
Hall Lane road bridge over Hall Beck

Ancient oak tree in a field by Hall Lane
Ancient oak tree in a field by Hall Lane

Some of the farm out buildings at Blubberhouses Hall
Some of the farm out buildings at Blubberhouses Hall

Turning off Hall Lane on to the track called Kex Gill Road
Turning off Hall Lane on to the track called Kex Gill Road

Climbing up the moor along Kex Gill Road
Climbing up the moor along Kex Gill Road

Continuing our way along Kex Gill Road
Continuing our way along Kex Gill Road

There were fine views to our left across the valley of Hall Beck to Blubberhouses Moor, and behind us to Fewston Reservoir in the Washburn valley. After about 1.7km along the Kex Gill Road track we came to the public road at map ref. SE 143 556.

We continued along Hall Lane for about 700m beyond the hall to a sharp right hand bend at map ref. SE 160 555. At this bend we kept straight on through a gate to follow a track called Kex Gill Road climbing steadily up the moor with the A59 below us to our left.

Sheep resting in the shade by Kex Gill Road
Sheep resting in the shade by Kex Gill Road

Continuing our way along Kex Gill Road
Continuing our way along Kex Gill Road

Heading to the road where we turn off Kex Gill Road
Heading to the road where we turn off Kex Gill Road

Through the gate we turned right off Kex Gill Road
Through the gate we turned right off Kex Gill Road

Following the road down to Redshaw Gill Beck
Following the road down to Redshaw Gill Beck

It was a lovely combination with the bubbling whistle of the curlews and the peewit cry of the lapwings. We continued along the road down to Redshaw Gill Beck where there was a large patch of yellow flags or irises on the road side.

At the road we turned right and walked along the road with a view to our right down into the Washburn valley. As we passed by curlews and lapwings rose up out of the long grass in the fields beside the road and made a great fuss about being disturbed.

Following the road down to cross Redshaw Gill Beck
Following the road down to cross Redshaw Gill Beck

Yellow Flag Irises where the road crosses Redshaw Gill Beck
Yellow Flag Irises where the road crosses Redshaw Gill Beck

About to turn right off the road 150m after Redshaw Gill Beck
About to turn right off the road 150m after Redshaw Gill Beck

The field path to Redshaw Hall
The field path to Redshaw Hall

Brandrith Crags south of Redshaw Gill Beck
Brandrith Crags south of Redshaw Gill Beck

Away to our right across the valley of Redshaw Beck there was a moorland ridge with rocky crags along it. These are Brandrith Crags. After about 350m the path passed through a gate to continue along the other side of the wall. After another 200m we followed the path to our right through another gateway and then diagonally across a small field to a walled track at the far right hand corner of the field.

From the beck we followed the road up hill for about 150m to a finger post marking a public footpath through the field gate on the right hand side of the road. We turned right off the road here and followed the path by the side of the dry stone wall for about 25m then turned left and continued following the path along the side of the wall.

Gate off the road to the field path to Redshaw Hall
Gate off the road to the field path to Redshaw Hall

Leaving the path with the wall on our left and with the wall on our right in the next field
Leaving the path with the wall on our left and
with the wall on our right in the next field

Turning left to head diagonally across a small field
Turning left to head diagonally across a small field

Leaving the field path at the start of the walled track leading to Redshaw Hall
Leaving the field path at the start of the walled track leading to Redshaw Hall

Nearing Redshaw Hall along the walled track
Nearing Redshaw Hall along the walled track

Stile where we waited for a walking group to pass us
Stile where we waited for a walking group to pass us

We turned left here on to the road
We turned left here on to the road

We waited whilst they all crossed an awkward stile over a stone wall before we could continue along the walled track to the road at map ref. SE 155 568. At the road we turned left for about 25m and then turned right off the road at a wooden stile over the fence at the top of a steep grassy bank.

We passed a group of half a dozen men of similar age to us coming towards us and exchanged comments on the lovely weather. We followed the walled track to Redshaw Hall where we met another larger group of walkers.

Following the path around Redshaw Hall
Following the path around Redshaw Hall

Path to the road from Redshaw Hall
Path to the road from Redshaw Hall

We turned right off the road at this sign
We turned right off the road at this sign

Turning right off the road at the top of a steep grassy bank
Turning right off the road at the top of a steep grassy bank

Steep path down the bank to the field boundary
Steep path down the bank to the field boundary

Stile into the woodland from the field path
Stile into the woodland from the field path

Steps from the woodland path down on to the road
Steps from the woodland path down on to the road

We crossed the stile and followed the path down the hillside through the woodland to an access road at map ref. SE 156 568. We made our way down some awkward stone steps onto the access road and turned right for a few paces and then doubled back down a track towards the valley bottom.

We crossed the stile and made our way carefully down the steep bank to cross a small stream at the edge of the field. Once across the field edge we continued down the steep slope to the fence at the bottom of the field along the edge of the woodland. We followed the fence for about 20m to a stile on our left.

Jim's hat just visible as he sped off down the steep bank
Jim's hat just visible as he sped off down the steep bank
after crossing the small stream at the field boundary

Woodland path down to the road
Woodland path down to the road

We turned right at the road for a few paces then turned sharp left
We turned right at the road for a few paces then turned sharp left

After a few paces on the road we turned sharp left down this track and then after another 30m we turned sharp right to the river
After a few paces on the road we turned sharp left down this track and then after another 30m we turned sharp right to the river

Path to the river & footbridge
Path to the river & footbridge

Footbridge over the River Washburn
Footbridge over the River Washburn

A patch of Ragged Robing by the path
A patch of Ragged Robing by the path

It's a very pretty place, particularly now with all the lush foliage at the height of summer. The ground by the path along the river bank was quite marshy and there were numerous pyramid orchids by the path and clumps of "ragged robin" a pretty wild flower that looks a bit like red campion but with shredded petals.

After about 30m we turned sharp right and followed the track to a ford and footbridge across the River Washburn. We crossed the footbridge and then turned right to follow a path along the river bank heading down the valley.

Path to the river & footbridge
Path to the river & footbridge

Path following the River Washburn
Path following the River Washburn

Pyramid Orchid by the path
Pyramid Orchid by the path

Stepped wier on the River Washburn
Stepped weir on the River Washburn

River side path nearing the old mill pond
River side path nearing the old mill pond

About 150m along the permissive path we came to a large and very pretty pond. This was the mill pond feeding water into the mill race to power the flax mill at Blubberhouses, next to where the present day cricket pitch. We continued past the mill pond and the earth dam at its eastern end.

We passed a stepped weir on our left, about 350m from the footbridge, and about 150m further on the public footpath bears left away from the river. However a permissive path continues along the river bank and we continued to follow the river along this path.

River side path nearing the old mill pond
River side path nearing the old mill pond

The mill pond that used to feed the mill race to the flax mill at Blubberhouses
The mill pond that used to feed the mill race to the flax mill at Blubberhouses

River side path below the mill pond
River side path below the mill pond

River side path heading for Blubberhouses
River side path heading for Blubberhouses

Path by the River Washburn nearing Blubberhouses
Path by the River Washburn nearing Blubberhouses

We crossed the road when we could. There's not much provision for pedestrians and we had to step over the steep crash barriers on either side of the road as we made our way back to the car park and the end of our walk. The whole route had been about 8km and it had taken us two and three quarter hours to walk it.

It's an idyllic place with the tall trees in full leaf and the river tumbling over its rocky bed all in dappled sunlight on this warm summer's day. We continued along the permissive path on the river bank, past the Blubberhouses Cricket Club field and to the A59 road bridge over the river. Here we followed the path up some steps at the side of the bridge to the main road and its traffic.

River side path heading for Blubberhouses
River side path heading for Blubberhouses

Belted Galloway cattle in a field on the river side
Belted Galloway cattle in a field on the river side

Steps up to the A59 from the path by the River Washburn
Steps up to the A59 from the path by the River Washburn

Returning to the car park by the A59 at the head of fewston Reservoir in Blubberhouses at the end of our walk
Returning to the car park by the A59 at the head of Fewston Reservoir in Blubberhouses at the end of our walk

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