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Swinton Estate Trails: Swinton Bivouac to Swinton Park

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Swinton Estate Trails: Swinton Bivouac to Swinton Park
Author: Swinton Estate, Published: 01 Sep 2018 Walk Rating:star0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK - iFootpathstar0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK - iFootpathstar0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK - iFootpathstar0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK - iFootpathstar0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK - iFootpath
North Yorkshire, Nidderdale
Walk Type: Footpaths and byways
Swinton Estate Trails: Swinton Bivouac to Swinton Park
Length: 3 miles,  Difficulty: boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK - iFootpath boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK - iFootpath boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK - iFootpath
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NOTE: The final part of this walk is through parkland which is open every day from 10am to dusk and where ENTRANCE FEES APPLY (see below).

A 5km (3 mile) linear or 10km (6 mile) ‘there-and-back’ walk from Swinton Bivouac to Swinton Park within Swinton Estate in North Yorkshire. NOTE: The reverse version of this walk (Park to Bivouac) is available as a separate guide on iFootpath. In this direction, the walk leads you from Swinton Bivouac (home to the tree lodges, yurts and Bistro cafe) to Swinton Park (home to the hotel and Terrace bar) to Swinton Bivouac. Along the way you will discover several rolling grass pastures, the ruins of Lobley Hall, a wild stretch of path alongside Sole Beck and Swinton Park (with its beautiful walled garden, deer park and lakes). 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 route follows permissive paths within Swinton Park (provided with permission of Swinton Estate) plus public footpaths on the wider estate. Entrance Fees apply for the parkland area (£5 per adult and £2.50 per child in 2019), payable on your return leg. The walk has several climbs and descents throughout, including a couple of fairly steep sections. Whilst most of the walk is on well-made paths and open pastures, there is one stretch of streamside path which is rocky underfoot, can be overgrown with bracken and includes a couple of very short but sharp scrambles (where hands may be needed). You will need to negotiate gates, steps plus 5 fence stiles (there are some makeshift dog gaps alongside, but you may need to give your dog a lift). The walk crosses several pastures that may be holding sheep and cattle. 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 1.5 hours (each way).

There are plenty of options when it comes to facilities. At the start of your walk you will find the Bistro Cafe at Swinton Bivouac (which is full-licensed and dog-friendly, providing breakfast, light bites or hearty Yorkshire meals). At the end of your walk you will find The Terrace Bar and Restaurant (the bar area is dog-friendly, there is a beautiful courtyard garden and walkers will receive a warm welcome).

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 left 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 Lane
Start to Lane

Start point: 54.2037 lat, -1.7247 long
End point: 54.2035 lat, -1.7161 long

The walk begins from the patio area outside the Bistro Cafe at Swinton Bivouac. Standing on the patio with your back to the cafe entrance, turn right down the flight of steps and walk ahead to find a stile in the fence. Cross this stile (there is something of a dog gap at the fence corner to your right) to enter the pasture and walk directly ahead, heading downhill with a stone wall on your left. Pass through a stone squeeze stile and continue along the left-hand edge of a second field to reach the bottom of the slope with a conifer plantation ahead.

Turn left through the gate and follow the grass track with the plantation on your right. At the end of the field you will reach a farm gate ahead with a stile alongside. Cross the stile (dogs may be able to use the fence gap to the right of the gate) and walk ahead to reach a junction with a lane.

Lane to Lobley Hall
Lane to Lobley Hall

Start point: 54.2035 lat, -1.7161 long
End point: 54.2087 lat, -1.7095 long

Turn left along the lane for just a few metres (to pass an old barn on your right), then turn immediately right through a farm gate. Bear slightly left to join the most obvious track, passing the barn on your right and then crossing over a stream, Sole Beck. Stay with the grass track winding ahead, with the beck now across to your left. This track once formed the access drive for a farmhouse.

You will reach a grass junction of paths (with a wide metal gateway on your left). Do NOT take this gateway, instead bear right to continue on the main grass track. The track leads you uphill, soon with a wall running on your right, to reach the ruins of Lobley Hall ahead. The hall is a farmhouse that is thought to date to the late 1600s and is Grade II listed.

Lobley Hall to Quarry Gates
Lobley Hall to Quarry Gates

Start point: 54.2087 lat, -1.7095 long
End point: 54.2132 lat, -1.6968 long

NOTE: This next stretch of route has challenging terrain and can be difficult to follow so take extra care. Keep ahead on a narrow path leading you into bracken (passing the ruins on your right). The path winds through the bracken to reach a fence stile. Cross this (there is a wire flap for dogs) and continue winding ahead, now through gorse bushes. Soon you are forced to bear left down a steep bank slope to reach the edge of Sole Beck.

Bear right (with the beck on your left) and the path leads you over a smaller rocky stream to reach a tall ledge ahead (formed by an old tree). Climb up onto this ledge and keep ahead for a few paces to reach the next fence ahead. Climb over this (using the rocks each side as steps). Dogs may be able to use the stone wall on the right to scramble around.

Continue ahead on the path winding through the bracken. You will emerge to join a wider path, now leading you steadily uphill through a belt of woodland. At the top of the slope, pass through a gateway in the stone wall ahead to enter a rough meadow. Bear slightly left then right to join a path leading you through the length of the meadow. At the far side, a small metal gate leads you into a sheep pasture.

Go diagonally right across the pasture, heading down the slope to reach the small metal gate in the bottom boundary. Pass through this gate to reach a junction with the road. Taking care of traffic, turn right along the road. You will 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. This is the Quarry Gates parkland entrance (and walking visitors are welcome).

Quarry Gates to End
Quarry Gates to End

Start point: 54.2132 lat, -1.6968 long
End point: 54.2133 lat, -1.6767 long

Pass through the Quarry Gates and follow the main stone track as it swings right and climbs to reach a T-junction. Turn left (signed for the Hotel) with Top Lake on your right. Follow the path leading you through the stone alcove folly. Ignore the first left turn (to Dales View), instead take the second left turn (signed for the Hotel). Follow this stone path ahead (ignoring a right side turn) to reach a fork at a fingerpost. Take the right-hand branch (signed for the Hotel) and this stone path leads you downhill, passing the fenced deer park on your right and Coffin Pond on your left.

At the next path junction bear right, staying alongside the deer park to reach the next junction (with a bench on your left and a small gate ahead). Turn left (signed to the Spring Garden). Keep right at the path fork (passing a play and picnic area on your left) and pass through the door to enter the walled garden.

Take the path almost directly ahead, leading you through the flower-section of the garden. Just before you reach a gate ahead, turn left through the wide wall gap. Turn left, immediately right and then take the first right turn, now heading between the vegetable beds to reach a fingerpost within the walled garden.

Turn right to reach the wall and then turn left to reach a door in the bottom corner of the garden. NOTE: Do not continue through this door before 10am and remember you will need to pay the parkland entrance fee to re-gain access. This door leads you to The Terrace Restaurant and Bar (open from 10am, the bar area is dog-friendly, there is a beautiful courtyard garden and walkers will receive a warm welcome). Go through the door to reach the Terrace courtyard garden. Head diagonally left through the courtyard via several flights of steps, to reach the bar. Head into the bar for some well-earned hospitality.

(To return to the start of the walk, simply retrace your steps. You will need a pass code to re-enter the walled garden, which will be on the park entrance ticket (bought via the shop or bar). If you need help with navigation, then follow the directions in the iFootpath walking guide called Swinton Bivouac to Swinton Park).

Remember...the best way of following our walking guides is to use the iFootpath App (iOS and Android) where you will have all the information in the palm of your hand and see your exact location on the live map as you travel. You can also add comments, photos, ratings and track your own routes.

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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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