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Looking south east from the seat just beyond the Landmark Trust holiday cottage at The Ruin
Looking south east from the seat just beyond the Landmark Trust holiday cottage at 'The Ruin'

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Route No. 728 - Tuesday 10 July 2018
Hackfall Wood circuit - 4.5km
Walk 4 - "Hackfall Explorer"
Lower Wensleydale . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer 298 Nidderdale


Note: Hackfall Wood is owned by the Woodland Trust and there is an information leaflet to download from their web site with details and a map of four walks in these woods. This route is walk 4 on this leaflet, the red route.

Looking northeast across lower Wensleydale from the end of the car park
Looking northeast across lower Wensleydale from the end of the car park

Kissing gate out of the car park
Kissing gate out of the car park

Gate from the track to the field path down the valley side
Gate from the track to the field path down the valley side

The car park was empty when we arrived and I walked to the end of the car park to look at the view over lower Wensleydale. We left the car park by the kissing gate at the south west corner and turned right to walk down the track towards the wood & the River Ure. We followed the path down the valley side across the fields for about 500m to a gate into Hackfall wood.

Yet another bright warm sunny morning! Into our tenth week of lovely summer weather. Today I drove with my wife & a friend of her's to the Woodland Trust car park at Hackfall Wood. The car park is off the Masham to Grewelthorpe road about 4km south of Masham and about 1km north of Grewelthorpe at map ref. SE 230 774.

Track from the car park down towards the River Ure
Track from the car park down towards the River Ure

Path across the fields to the wood
Path across the fields to the wood

Gate from the field path into Hackfall Wood
Gate from the field path into Hackfall Wood

Woodland path down towards the river
Woodland path down towards the river

Our turning up to the viewpoint
Our turning up to the viewpoint

From the seat there is a fine view along a reach of the River Ure pointing directly to the spite of the parish church in the market square at Masham about 4km away.

Through the gate we continued down along the path for about 30m to a fork in the path with a waymark post indicating a viewpoint along the right hand fork. We followed the path for about 100m up Limehouse Hill to a seat at the viewpoint.

Woodland path down towards the river
Woodland path down towards the river

The seat at the viewpoint
The seat at the viewpoint

Looking northwards from the viewpoint to the spire of Masham Church
Looking northwards from the viewpoint to the spire of Masham Church

Path down from the viewpoint to the riverside
Path down from the viewpoint to the riverside

Path down from the viewpoint to the riverside
Path down from the viewpoint to the riverside

Path on the right to Turner's seat
Path on the right to Turner's seat

The seat was set a few metres back from the path and looking south along a short straight reach of the river. This is the point from which JMW Turner painted one of his famous landscapes of the River Ure and its steep wooded gorge.

From the viewpoint seat we continued along the path zig-zagging down the hillside to a pair of stone gate-posts at the river side. We walked along the river side path between the gate posts and after only about 60 or 70m we came to a stone seat.

Path down from the viewpoint to the riverside
Path down from the viewpoint to the riverside

Stone gate posts at the riverside path
Stone gate posts at the riverside path

Seat at the place where Turner painted the scene
Seat at the place where Turner painted the scene

The scene that Turner painted, but much more leafy today
The scene that Turner painted, but much more leafy today

Continuing along the riverside path
Continuing along the riverside path

Waymark post at our right turn to the fountain pond
Waymark post at our right turn to the fountain pond

We passed a folly called 'The Grotto'
We passed a folly called 'The Grotto'

As I left the junction there was a seat on the right of the path where my wife & her friend were waiting for me to catch up. We set off from the seat and after another 100m we came to a stone built folly on the right of the path called the Grotto. There is a seat under the grotto arch which looks along a path to a waterfall tumbling down the steep valley side.

We continued along the river side path for another 130m and there took the path forking up to the right. We followed this path for about 300m up to a junction in the paths at map ref. SE 234 772 where we turned right towards the fountain pond, indicated on a waymark post.

Taking the left fork up towards the fountain pond
Taking the left fork up towards the fountain pond

My wife & her friend waiting for me to catch up
My wife & her friend waiting for me to catch up

Path from the Grotto to the fountain pond
Path from the Grotto to the fountain pond

Part of the waterfall down the valley side seen from the Grotto seat
Part of the waterfall down the valley side seen from the Grotto seat

Another folly called The Rustic Temple
Another folly called 'The Rustic Temple'

Returning from the fountain pond
Returning from the fountain pond

Next to the pond there is another stone folly. This one is called the Rustic Temple. From the pond we returned along the path past the Grotto to the junction in the paths at map ref. SE 234 772.

From the Grotto we continued for another 100m to the Fountain Pond. There is quite a large pretty pond set in an arc of the cliffs. In the centre of a small island in the pond is the fountain. The fountain is fed from a tank high up the hillside. There is a hand pump on the edge of the pond that can be uses to trigger the tank to empty giving a high though short lived gush from the fountain. The tank then takes around ten minutes to refill ready to be triggered again from the hand pump.

The fountain in action - triggered by the hand pump
The fountain in action - triggered by the hand pump

We crossed the stream and turned left towards the Fishers Hall
We crossed the stream and turned left towards the Fisher's Hall

Path down towards the river & Fisher‘s Hall
Path down towards the river & Fisher‘s Hall

Fisher‘s Hall set high above the river
Fisher‘s Hall set high above the river

After about 150m we came to the Fisher's Hall, another stone folly, this one overlooking the River Ure at a point where there is a small island in the river.

From the junction we turned right and crossed a small stream over a single stepping stone and then turned left along a path back down towards the river and the Fisher's Hall.

Path down towards the river & Fisher‘s Hall
Path down towards the river & Fisher‘s Hall

Fisher‘s Hall set high above the river
Fisher‘s Hall set high above the river

The part of the River Ure flowing round the western side of the island below Fisher‘s Hall
The part of the River Ure flowing round the western side of the island below Fisher's Hall

Path down to the river from Fisher‘s Hall
Path down to the river from Fisher‘s Hall

Path following the route of the Ripon Rowel Walk
Path following the route of the Ripon Rowel Walk

Path following the route of the Ripon Rowel Walk
Path following the route of the Ripon Rowel Walk

We crossed the stream and continued along the path, part of the Ripon Rowel Walk for about 400m to map ref. SE 240 771. Here there is a waymark post indicating a path on our right to Mowbray Castle.

From the Fisher's Hall we followed the steep path down towards the river and finally down some stone steps to the riverside path at the crossing of a small stream.

The last few steps down to the riverside path
The last few steps down to the riverside path

Path following the route of the Ripon Rowel Walk
Path following the route of the Ripon Rowel Walk

Path following the route of the Ripon Rowel Walk
Path following the route of the Ripon Rowel Walk

Our turning off the Ripon Rowel walk on to the path climbing up over Raven Scar
Our turning off the Ripon Rowel walk on to the path climbing up over Raven Scar

Start of the path over Raven Scar
Start of the path over Raven Scar

Path still climbing above Raven Scar
Path still climbing above Raven Scar

Following the path up to Mowbray Castle
Following the path up to Mowbray Castle

Here the path dropped down briefly to cross the valley of a stream flowing down to join the River Ure. From the stream crossing the path climbed up again but less steeply now for another 300m to Mowbray Castle.

The path to Mowbray Castle doubles back to our left and climbs steeply up a rocky outcrop called Raven Scar. This was the start of a steep climb of about 300m.

Path climbing over Raven Scar
Path climbing over Raven Scar

Dropping down to cross the stream then up again
Dropping down to cross the stream then up again

Following the path up to Mowbray Castle
Following the path up to Mowbray Castle

Looking out to Masham church from Mowbray Castle
Looking out to Masham church from Mowbray Castle

The entrance to Mowbray Castle, another folly
The entrance to Mowbray Castle, another folly

Path to Grewelthorpe Beck from Mowbray Castle
Path to Grewelthorpe Beck from Mowbray Castle

Path following Grewelthorpe Beck upstream
Path following Grewelthorpe Beck upstream

Here we took a path forking to our left, by-passing Kent's Seat, and heading upstream with Grewelthorpe Beck below us on our right. Close to the south western tip of Hackfall Wood we followed the path to the right to cross the beck.

Mowbray Castle is yet another stone folly with a great view across the steep wooded valley. From Mowbray Castle we followed the path heading to wards Grewelthorpe Beck. The path began to drop down towards a folly called Kent's Seat.

Inside Mowbray Castle, another folly
Inside Mowbray Castle, another folly

Turning left to follow Grewelthorpe Beck upstream & by-pass Kent‘s Seat
Turning left to follow Grewelthorpe Beck upstream
& by-pass Kent‘s Seat

Path following Grewelthorpe Beck upstream
Path following Grewelthorpe Beck upstream

Crossing Grewelthorpe Beck
Crossing Grewelthorpe Beck

Path north of the beck following the beck downstream
Path north of the beck following the beck downstream

Here we took a path forking to our left along the top edge of the woodland. There is a waymark post at the junction indicating the path goes to 'The Ruin' & the car park.

From the beck crossing the path led us up the far side of the little valley of Grewelthorpe Beck and then followed the beck downstream until it was dropping down again towards the river.

Path north of the beck following the beck downstream
Path north of the beck following the beck downstream

Turning left away from Grewelthorpe Beck keeping to the top of the valley side
Turning left away from Grewelthorpe Beck keeping to the top of the valley side

Path along the top of the valley side
Path along the top of the valley side

Mowbray Castle seen from the seat by the path
Mowbray Castle seen from the seat by the path

This folly however has been modified and refurbished to become a holiday cottage available via the Landmark Trust. The path has been diverted around the holiday cottage but between 11.00am & 3.00pm walkers are permitted to cross the terrace and enjoy the view.

There were good views through the trees across the valley. From a seat beside the path we could see Mowbray Castle about 300m away across the valley of Grewelthorpe Beck (that's as-the-crow-flies, our route was about 1km). We passed another stone folly by the path and then came to 'The Ruin' yet another folly.

Seat looking out across the valley
Seat looking out across the valley


Another little folly by the path

The terrace at The Ruin, another folly now a holiday cottage
The terrace at The Ruin, another folly now a holiday cottage

Path from The Ruin back towards the car park
Path from The Ruin back towards the car park

The path was well supplied with seats
The path was well supplied with seats

Steps from the field path down to the track to the car park
Steps from the field path down to the track to the car park

We turned left at the track and followed it up the slope back to the car park and the end of our walk. On our return the empty car park was now full. The whole route had been about 4.5km and with the many sights to see and the lovely scenery all around us it had taken around three hours to walk. We drove back into Masham for a very pleasant lunch in the sunny market square.

From The Ruin we continued along the path for about 250m to the edge of the woodland. We passed through a kissing gate and across a field to another kissing gate . We went through this gate and down some steps to the track where we turned left to retraced our steps back to the car park.

Another seat with a lovely view across the valley
Another seat with a lovely view across the valley

Heading back towards the car park
Heading back towards the car park

The track to the car park entrance
The track to the car park entrance

The end of our walk back at the car park, full now
The end of our walk back at the car park, full now

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