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Swinton Estate Trails: Around the Yorkshire Estate

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Swinton Estate Trails: Around the Yorkshire Estate
Author: Swinton Estate, Published: 03 Sep 2018 Walk Rating:star0 Swinton Estate Trails: Around the Yorkshire Estatestar0 Swinton Estate Trails: Around the Yorkshire Estatestar0 Swinton Estate Trails: Around the Yorkshire Estatestar0 Swinton Estate Trails: Around the Yorkshire Estatestar0 Swinton Estate Trails: Around the Yorkshire Estate
North Yorkshire, Nidderdale
Walk Type: Hills, valleys and dales
Swinton Estate Trails: Around the Yorkshire Estate
Length: 15 miles,  Difficulty: boot Swinton Estate Trails: Around the Yorkshire Estate boot Swinton Estate Trails: Around the Yorkshire Estate boot Swinton Estate Trails: Around the Yorkshire Estate boot Swinton Estate Trails: Around the Yorkshire Estate
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A 24km (15 mile) circular walk from the Swinton Bivouac site within Swinton Estate, North Yorkshire. There is something for everyone on this route as you pass through the quaint village of Ilton and onto Ilton Moor with breath-taking views down onto Roundhill and Leighton Reservoir. The Bothy Hut is en-route which is a perfect picnic location, picnics can be pre-ordered at Swinton Park and be waiting for your arrival at the Bothy Hut. On this route you will walk a portion of The Six Dales Trail, taking you through classic Dales pastures with beautiful stone walls and old stone farmhouses. This walk is part of the Swinton Estate Trails collection, published through a collaboration between iFootpath and Swinton Estate to encourage people to discover the 20,000 acre Estate with varying terrain such as woodland, reservoirs, moorland, gardens and parkland.

The walk follows several long climbs and descents throughout. It follows a mixture of paths and tracks through fields, pastures and moorland, plus a few sections along quiet lanes. You will be sharing many of the fields with sheep and cattle and you will need to negotiate gates, footbridges and stone wall stiles. The paths high on the moor are very exposed so remember to dress appropriately. Please keep dogs on a lead on the moorland, to protect the ground-nesting birds. Swinton Estate welcomes visiting walkers (and canine companions) but please remember the usual countryside code rules; take your litter home with you, keep dogs under close control and be careful to shut any gates behind you. Allow 7 hours.

Before or after your walk, the Bistro Cafe at Swinton Bivouac (which is fully-licensed, dog-friendly and opens seasonally) provides breakfast, light bites or hearty Yorkshire meals. The Bothy Hut is en-route which is a perfect picnic location, picnics can be pre-ordered at Swinton Park and be waiting for your arrival at the Bothy Hut.

The walk starts from Swinton Bivouac, an isolated site about 2 miles west of the main Swinton Park site and just north of the hamlet of Ilton. Visiting walkers are welcome to use the car park at the Bivouac site (if the honesty box is in operation, please pay the £2 per car parking fee). From Masham, head south-west along Swinton Terrace (which becomes Swinton Road) to reach the main Swinton Park gatehouse on your right. Do NOT go through these gates, instead turn right to follow the side road. Keep left at the first junction, continue over Quarry Bridge and then turn right at the next junction. Ignore a road to the right (signed to Healey) and stay with the lane as it later bends left. After 0.3 miles turn right onto the Bivouac access lane. After half a mile, turn right onto the stone access drive and this will lead you to the Bivouac centre on your left. Approximate post code HG4 4JZ.

Walk Sections

Start to Hall Wood Fingerpost
Start to Hall Wood Fingerpost

Start point: 54.2039 lat, -1.7252 long
End point: 54.2094 lat, -1.7444 long

Leave the Bivouac car park via the vehicle entrance and turn right along the stone access track. At the track T-junction go straight ahead through the metal gate to enter the sheep pasture. Go straight ahead across this pasture, exit via a gate into a second pasture and turn left to follow the line of a fenced woodland on your left. Follow this fence line, leading you through a farm gate and then bending left to reach the next small metal gate. Go through this to enter the next pasture and turn immediately right, heading downhill on the grass track with the fenced woodland, Knowle Plantation, on your right.

Taking time to enjoy the views ahead, stay with the grass track as it bends left and then right to reach a gate in the stone wall. Pass through the small wooden gate and cross this next pasture diagonally left and downhill (between 10 and 11 o’clock), to reach the next small metal gate. Go through the gate and maintain your direction, continuing downhill to reach a footpath fingerpost (just before the bottom fence boundary near Hall Wood).

Hall Wood Fingerpost to Quarry Gates
Hall Wood Fingerpost to Quarry Gates

Start point: 54.2094 lat, -1.7444 long
End point: 54.2131 lat, -1.6969 long

Turn sharp right, joining the Ripon Rowel public bridleway, leading you back up the hill within this same field. The path soon begins to gently descend to reach a gate with a section of woodland on your left, Hall Wood. Go through the gate and continue ahead, with the stone wall and woodland on your left. Pass through the next gate, at which point the woodland on your left ends. Now simply keep straight ahead on the grass track, passing through three more gates and then bearing right to reach a gate just to the right of Broadmires Farm.

Pass through this gate and keep ahead to join the farm’s stone access track, with a tree line on your left and a fenced pasture on your right. This track becomes a tarmac access lane and leads you uphill. Towards the top, look across to your left (to the opposite side of the valley) for a beautiful view of Healey village with its stunning stone church.

At the top of the hill, you will reach a junction with a road (at a bend). Take the left-hand branch (straight ahead). Taking care of any occasional traffic, follow the lane leading you downhill, passing Stonefold Farm on your right, ignoring a side road towards Healey on your left and continuing ahead to reach a ford where Sole Beck flows across the road to reach the River Burn (which is running on your left). Cross the ford via the footbridge and continue on the road, climbing steeply and then continuing to reach a road junction (with the stone parkland wall ahead). Turn right, following the lane which climbs with the wall running on your left. Continue for around 400 metres, to reach a pair of green gates within the stone wall on your left (Quarry Gates).

Quarry Gates to Ilton
Quarry Gates to Ilton

Start point: 54.2131 lat, -1.6969 long
End point: 54.2002 lat, -1.7102 long

Ignore these gates. Instead, continue ahead on the lane for just a few more paces and then turn right to join a stone track which leads you immediately to the right of Quarry House. The track comes out into a field, go straight along the track into the next field. At this point ignore the left-hand fork in the track and continue towards the old barn with a rusty roof. Go through the gate beside the barn, and head to your left up the hill towards the tree in the middle of the field. From here you will see the track leading to the next gate. Go through this and on towards the farm buildings, crossing over the aqueduct. Go around the farm (Hill Top Farm) and follow the road on up the hill until you reach a T-junction.

Ilton to Moorland Junction
Ilton to Moorland Junction

Start point: 54.2002 lat, -1.7102 long
End point: 54.1803 lat, -1.7346 long

Turn left at the T-junction, you will find yourself in the hamlet of Ilton. A little further on, the road bends to the left and you will see a grass triangle and access lane leading to the right. Take this side lane. Follow it ahead, ignoring a footpath on the left and passing a property on your left (The Firs) to reach a track fork. Take the left-hand branch and this will lead you onto the moors, going through several gates on the way. Once you are on the moorland, please keep dogs on leads to protect the ground-nesting birds. Towards the top of the moors you will meet a T junction, where you need to turn right.

Moorland Junction to The Bothy Hut
Moorland Junction to The Bothy Hut

Start point: 54.1803 lat, -1.7346 long
End point: 54.1736 lat, -1.7828 long

Carry on for another 2 miles until you see reach a track fork, with a turning on the right leading to a wide locked gate. Take this right turning and walk around the gate, following the track down the hill to the Shooting Hut and Bothy Hut on your right. You are now following part of the Six Dales Trail.

The Bothy Hut to Moorhead Cottage
The Bothy Hut to Moorhead Cottage

Start point: 54.1736 lat, -1.7828 long
End point: 54.1935 lat, -1.7811 long

From here the path is not as clear but head down the hill, aiming for where the stream feeds into the little reservoir to the left of the main reservoir. You are still following the Six Dales Trail, now a footpath through the heather. The start of the path may be a bit awkward to spot, but it's directly in front of the first shooting house heading down the hillside.

At the edge of the moorland you will pass through a metal gate in the stone wall. Pass through the gateway in the next wall and then head across a field in front of the derelict Low Ash Head Farm. Continue on the waymarked Six Dales Trail across the fields down to a farm access track at the head of a tiny reservoir formed by Agill Dam.

Cross over the stream and head up the hill taking the right-hand fork. This takes you across three fields, each with a small fast flowing stream at its edge crossed by a wooden footbridge and via stone stiles. The path is well way-marked and continues up to a farm access track next to Summer Side Farm. At the farm access track, turn right to follow the track past Moorhead Cottage.

Moorhead Cottage to Towler Hill
Moorhead Cottage to Towler Hill

Start point: 54.1935 lat, -1.7811 long
End point: 54.2133 lat, -1.7751 long

Follow the track on past Stott Fold and continue until you reach a T junction and the road. Turn left at this junction and walk beside the road up the hill until you cross over the cattle grid (or use the gate alongside). Immediately after this, take the right-hand turn onto a stone track, signed to Grimesgill House and part of the Six Dales Trail. Go over (or alongside) a second cattle grid to enter a pasture. At this point leave the track, bearing right diagonally across the field to the gateway in the far corner.

From here keep to the left-hand side of the field with the wall on your left to the next gateway and to the gate directly ahead of you. Cross here into the plantation, and head towards the derelict farmhouse and buildings (High Sourmire) you can see on the opposite side of the valley, crossing the stream and heading up the hill on the other side. From High Sourmire, continue around the left-hand side of the building and on up the hill through the fields (do not turn left onto the track leading to Lower Sourmire). The next farmhouse you will reach is Towler Hill.

Towler Hill to Pott Beck
Towler Hill to Pott Beck

Start point: 54.2133 lat, -1.7751 long
End point: 54.2091 lat, -1.7461 long

Continue past the house onto a track that leads you to the road. At this junction turn right. Follow this road for some distance (ignoring the left-hand turn), heading down the hill past the Leeds Pals Memorial and on down the hill until you meet a T-junction. At the T-junction turn right and walk up the hill, until you get to a farmhouse on your left. Take the footpath through the farm and bear left through two fields, leading down to a bridge over Pott Beck.

Pott Beck to End
Pott Beck to End

Start point: 54.2091 lat, -1.7461 long
End point: 54.2041 lat, -1.7252 long

Cross the bridge and follow the path up the hill. Enter the field to reach a fingerpost (that you should recognise from the outward leg). From this point you will be re-tracing your steps back to the Bivouac site. Take the right-hand branch and follow the path leading you up through the sheep pastures and past Knowle Plantation, emerging to reach the access track for the Bivouac. Go ahead along the track to reach the Bivouac and Bistro Cafe for some well-earned hospitality.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2018 by iFootpath and the author swintonestate 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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