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Visit Ryedale: Kirkbymoorside and Ravenswick

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Visit Ryedale: Kirkbymoorside and Ravenswick
Author: visitryedale, Published: 17 May 2016 Walk rating : Rating:star1 Visit Ryedale: Kirkbymoorside and Ravenswickstar1 Visit Ryedale: Kirkbymoorside and Ravenswickstar1 Visit Ryedale: Kirkbymoorside and Ravenswickstar1 Visit Ryedale: Kirkbymoorside and Ravenswickstar0 Visit Ryedale: Kirkbymoorside and Ravenswick
North Yorkshire, Ryedale
Walk Type: Footpaths and byways
Visit Ryedale: Kirkbymoorside and Ravenswick
Length: 4 miles,  Difficulty: boot Visit Ryedale: Kirkbymoorside and Ravenswick boot Visit Ryedale: Kirkbymoorside and Ravenswick boot Visit Ryedale: Kirkbymoorside and Ravenswick
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A 4 mile (6.5 km) circular walk from the market town of Kirkbymoorside in Ryedale. The route heads east and north, visiting the site of the former Ravenswick Hall, the beautiful Ravenswyke Woods and a long stretch of Manor Vale Woods. This walk is part of the Visit Ryedale Collection, published through a collaboration between iFootpath and Ryedale District Council. For more visitor information on the area including events and accommodation, go to www.VisitRyedale.co.uk

The walk has several climbs and descents throughout, including a couple of quite steep sections. A few sections (especially in the woodlands) can be very muddy so good boots are a must. You will need to negotiate one field gate and several kissing gates, but there are no stiles or livestock on route. Allow 2 hours.

There are public toilets in Town Farm car park (just behind the library) at the start and end of the walk. If you are looking for refreshments there are plenty of pubs and cafes centred around the Market Place in Kirkbymoorside at the start and end of the walk. OS Map: Explorer OL26 North York Moors Western Area. This walk follows public footpaths and bridleways which cross private and public land. Please respect people’s privacy, keep dogs under control and remember the Countryside Code.

Kirkbymoorside is located just off the A170 between Helmsley and Pickering. The walk starts and finishes outside the library at the top end of High Market Place. If you are coming by car, the long stay Town Farm pay and display car park is situated just behind the library (accessed from High Market Place between the library and The Kings Head). The fee for up to 6 hours is £4.30 (correct Apr 2016) or half price if you use a Ryedale Parking Smartcard. Approximate post code YO62 6AT. If you are coming by bus, the nearest bus stop is Kirkbymoorside Market Place. For help with planning your journey by public transport please visit www.traveline.info. From the bus stop, walk uphill along the main street (Market Place) and just before the mini roundabout at the top, you will find the library on your left, where this walk begins.

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Walk Sections

Start to Recreation Ground
Start to Recreation Ground

Start point: 54.2707 lat, -0.9328 long
End point: 54.2694 lat, -0.9288 long

Standing with your back to the library, turn right along the pavement (heading downhill). Kirkbymoorside is a bustling market town with a beautiful cobble-edged main street. Started in 1254, the weekly market is held on Wednesdays with a variety of stalls lining the cobbled main street. Across to the left you will pass Memorial Hall. Built around 1730 with stone from the ruined Neville Castle (more about that later), it originally housed shops, a courtroom and workshops.

At the crossroads with West End keep straight ahead and then, where the road bears right, cross over to turn left into Howe End. Where Howe End bends right, turn left through the black metal gate to enter the recreation ground.

Recreation Ground to Swineherd Lane
Recreation Ground to Swineherd Lane

Start point: 54.2694 lat, -0.9288 long
End point: 54.2754 lat, -0.9195 long

Do NOT follow the tarmac path, instead go straight ahead on the grass, following the line of hedgerow on your left. Pass the fenced play area on your right and then keep ahead through the remains of a kissing gate to enter a rough hillside meadow.

Walk straight ahead, heading steeply uphill and following the line of hedgerow on your right. Towards the top, take a moment to glance behind you and appreciate the glorious views that have opened up across the town’s rooftops and far beyond. In the top right-hand corner of the meadow, pass through the kissing gate to reach the corner of a crop field. Walk straight ahead along the right-hand boundary, following the line of a woodland (Kildare Plantation) on your right.

Stay with this field-edge path ahead for some distance, then bending right and left around the end of the plantation. Continue for another long stretch around the edge of the field, now with a hedgerow running on your right. As you draw level with a very large oak tree at the field edge, turn right through a kissing gate to enter an old grass pasture. Walk straight ahead (downhill) through the field and exit via the old gateway (or the kissing gate in the left-hand corner) to reach a T-junction with Swineherd Lane.

Swineherd Lane to Cattle Grid
Swineherd Lane to Cattle Grid

Start point: 54.2754 lat, -0.9195 long
End point: 54.2814 lat, -0.9235 long

Turn left along the lane (taking care of any traffic) and follow it as it swings right, signed to Ravenswick. Ravenswick Hall and its associated old buildings have had an interesting history and also have an uncertain future.

Ravenswick Hall developed out of a 1740 hunting lodge belonging to the Duncombe Park Estate. This was bought in 1895 by Harrison Holt, an industrialist who had established the British Oil and Cake Mills at Selby. Holt's grandson sold the house in 2006, the new owner embarking on an ambitious scheme of renovation and modernisation, comprehensively changing the hall as the building is not listed. This owner faced financial difficulties and by 2012 the buildings were empty and derelict. By 2016 a new owner had submitted development plans for approval, so it may be that little remains of the original buildings as you pass by.

The lane leads you past the site of the former walled garden of Ravenswick Hall on your left. If it is still in place, look out for the beautiful oval window with wrought iron grid set within this garden wall. Continue between the old estate buildings and follow the lane as it swings left leading you downhill through Ravenswyke Wood. Before you reach a left-hand bend at the bottom of the slope, you will see a Public Footpath waymarker post on your left. Turn left here and follow the track leading directly away from the road (not the track running parallel to the road marked as private).

Follow this track leading you steeply uphill through Ravenswyke Wood. The track leads you past some beautiful rocky outcrops and the woodland floor is awash with wild garlic in the late spring. Where the track swings sharp left, do NOT follow this (it is marked as private), instead go straight ahead on the narrow unmade path leading you through the remainder of the woodland. There are a few fallen branches on this stretch so take care not to trip. Towards the top, the path swings left to emerge to the edge of a crop field. Turn right for a few metres to reach the junction with Back of Parks Road. Turn right along the road and, after 200 metres, follow the road as it swings sharp left passing alongside an old cattle grid.

Cattle Grid to Castle Remains
Cattle Grid to Castle Remains

Start point: 54.2814 lat, -0.9235 long
End point: 54.2738 lat, -0.9351 long

Further along you will come to the entrance for Low Park Farm ahead. Stay with the vehicle lane which turns left here. The lane leads you past a pair of stone houses on the left and then continues downhill. Take time to enjoy the views of Kirkbymoorside which have opened up in the valley bottom ahead. Just before the houses begin, you will find a bench on your right, which makes the perfect place to pause and enjoy the view should you wish.

As the houses begin, join the right-hand pavement which continues to lead you downhill. When you reach the sharp left-hand bend in the road, turn sharp right to join the narrow tarmac lane leading you steadily uphill (away from the town). At the top of the slope, do NOT enter the section of gravel parking ahead, instead turn left passing between more properties and join the grass track. Pass through the wide wooden gate ahead to enter Manor Vale Wood, with a tall section of castle remains directly on your left.

Castle Remains to Golf Club
Castle Remains to Golf Club

Start point: 54.2738 lat, -0.9351 long
End point: 54.2767 lat, -0.9384 long

The town has had two castles, but sadly today there is very little evidence of either. The first was built on Viviers Hill (to the east of the town) before the Norman Conquest, a wooden ditch-enclosed structure. The second, Neville Castle, was built here in Manor Vale Wood (on the northern edge of the town) during the 1400s. The last member of the Neville family to live in Neville Castle was banished by Elizabeth I for his part in the Pilgrimage of Grace (a revolt against the crown). A story is told that he managed to escape by getting a local blacksmith to shoe his horse the wrong way round, so that there were no obvious tracks of his getaway route.

Simply keep ahead on the wide path (a bridleway) through the woodland, ignoring any footpaths signed to the left. You will emerge to the edge of the grass clearing and a fork in the path. Go straight ahead (the right-hand branch), following the line of a fence on your right. Continue ahead on the bridleway track and just before the end of the woodland you will see an ancient ash tree on your right which dates back to the early 1600s. A few paces later, at the junction signed with a fingerpost, turn sharp left onto the public footpath.

Follow this stone path, leading you past an information board about the ancient ash tree. Around 1,000 years ago, Manor Vale Wood was part of a Norman deer park and estate. The woodland covers 16 acres and was purchased from the Ravenswick Estate in 1993 by the local councils. It is managed for wildlife and informal recreation. The slopes of the woodland are semi-natural ash woodland on limestone and in the spring this area is alive with bird song. There are a few patches of bluebells in the late spring.

The stone path leads you steadily downhill and you will emerge to a junction with the entrance drive for Kirkbymoorside Golf Club.

Golf Club to End
Golf Club to End

Start point: 54.2767 lat, -0.9384 long
End point: 54.2708 lat, -0.933 long

Turn left and follow the tarmac entrance drive, taking care of any traffic, continuing through the pretty belt of Manor Vale Wood. Follow the drive all the way to its end, eventually passing between houses to reach a T-junction with Gillamoor Road. Cross over with care to reach the far pavement and turn left along this.

At the mini-roundabout follow the pavement as it swings right into High Market Place and you will come to the library on your right where your walk began. If you are looking for refreshments, there are plenty of pubs and cafes centred around the Market Place. With an award-winning butcher, two bakeries, plenty of independent shops, several antiques shops and a weekly market, there is plenty on offer to while away the rest of your day in Kirkbymoorside. For more visitor information on the area including events and accommodation, go to www.VisitRyedale.co.uk

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2016 by the author visitryedale and may not be reproduced without permission.


The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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