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|Hackfall Explorer Trail|
|Author: Claire, Published: 22 Jun 2015||Walk Rating:|
|North Yorkshire, Nidderdale|
|A 4 mile circular and fairly strenuous trail around the woodland of Hackfall, near Masham in North Yorkshire. The magic of Hackfall is undeniable. From a castle and follies to wonderful old trees, Hackfall is steeped in history. Its unique buildings sit alongside waterfalls and ponds in an ancient woodland teeming with life. |
The walk includes several steep hills throughout, including some flights of uneven woodland steps. The narrow woodland paths are mostly unmade, are uneven with tree roots and rocks and can get very muddy in part so sturdy boots are required. Some of the narrow paths high on the gorge sides sit alongside steep drops down to the gorge bottom, so the route is not recommended for the faint-hearted. You will need to negotiate some steps and kissing gates, plus two stiles (with purpose-built adjacent dog gates). The stiles can be avoided if you aim to finish your walk between 11am and 3pm. One field at the start and finish of the route may be holding sheep, but otherwise the route is free of livestock. Entry to the woodland is free and dogs are welcome. There are no refreshments, toilets or other facilities on site. Approximate time 2 to 3 hours.
Hackfall woodland is located in the Nidderdale AONB in North Yorkshire, about half a mile north of the village of Grewelthorpe and 3 miles south of Masham. The free car park is marked with a brown tourism sign and sits to the east of the Masham-Grewelthorpe road. The car park is small so if you wish to visit at the weekends or during holidays, arrive early to avoid disappointment. Approximate post code HG4 3DE.
|Start to Limehouse Hill|
Start point: 54.1929 lat, -1.6476 long
Leave the car park via the corner alongside the noticeboard (you can pick up a leaflet here if you would like a paper map too). Go through the gate, turn left (away from the road) and follow the stone track downhill with a line of trees on the left. You will come to a wide wooden gate ahead. Pass through the kissing gate to the left of this to enter the sheep pasture known as Limehouse Field.
|Limehouse Hill to Fountain Pond|
Start point: 54.1943 lat, -1.6392 long
Continue ahead on the woodland path and, just before it begins to descend, look through the gap in the trees to the right where you will have your first view of one of the restored follies, Mowbray Castle, sitting high on the opposite side of the gorge. You will be visiting this folly later on in this walk.
|Fountain Pond to Riverside Path|
Start point: 54.1912 lat, -1.6437 long
When you have finished enjoying the Fountain Pond, retrace your steps back the way you came, passing the Grotto on the left to reach the path on the left from where you emerged. Do NOT take this, instead keep ahead crossing a cascading stream to reach a junction of paths.
|Riverside Path to Raven Scar|
Start point: 54.1899 lat, -1.64 long
Follow this path for about half a mile. Hackfall could be described as a one sided gorge. It is north facing and very steep in places. The springs, the river and the sheltered location produce a very humid microclimate at the bottom of the wood. In spring the woodland if full of wild flowers including wild garlic, the beautiful smell of which lingers in the damp air. Keep your eyes peeled too for a flash of blue to the left where kingfishers patrol the river.
|Raven Scar to Mowbray Castle|
Start point: 54.189 lat, -1.6345 long
Please do take extreme care on this section of path as it is very narrow in part and has a very steep drop down to the gorge bottom on the right. These upper slopes are more exposed and have underlying rock which typically gives rise to more acidic soil so the plants here are typical of acidic woodland, including bilberries.
|Mowbray Castle to Top Pond|
Start point: 54.1883 lat, -1.6407 long
Go back down the steps and turn left to continue along the gorge side path (again taking extreme care). The path descends steadily to reach a fork. Take the left-hand branch signed to Grewelthorpe Village. Through the trees to the right you will be able to see Grewelthorpe Beck flowing along the gorge bottom. Further along, look out for the manmade cascades that Aislabie created within the beck.
|Top Pond to The Ruin|
Start point: 54.1856 lat, -1.6478 long
Go back down the steps and turn left across the stone bridge to join the path back along the other side of the gorge containing the beck (ignoring the other path over a stile to the left). When you come to a fork, take the left-hand branch signed for The Ruin and the Car Park.
|The Ruin to End|
Start point: 54.1903 lat, -1.6454 long
The Ruin was originally built as the Banqueting House within the gardens and was designed to amaze and delight the visitors. By design, visitors were taken to the front of the building (the opposite side) via a route from which the view was hidden. On arrival they would see a simple gothic building and inside a simple but elegant interior. Then the doors would be opened onto the terrace to provide the magnificent surprise of this view. If the visitor then turned to look back at the building they would see a facade in the form of a mock Roman Ruin. The views from the terrace really are spectacular. In the foreground Fountain Pond can be seen at about 11 o’clock and Fisher’s Hall at about 1 o’clock. In the middle distance, the River Ure snakes through the gorge and in the background are the rolling hills, including the distinctive outline of Rosebury Topping.
Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2015 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.
Great guide, loved the walk, especially the pièce de résistance at the end :-)
|By Woodnymph on 13 Jul 2017|
fantastic! really enjoyed this walk we parked in the pub and walled from there. it starts you pay easy through the circular walk.
|By markgreenhou on 02 May 2017|
I liked every part of this walk from the riverside path and the climb to Raven Scar to the magnificent views near the end of the walk. We were lucky enough to see the fountain too. It's easy to imagine how wonderful this must have been to visitors when it was originally built.
|By Richard on 26 Jun 2015|
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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|Image by: Richard |
Uploaded: 22 Jun 2015
Hackfall painted by Joseph Mallord William Turner. Probably painted c.1816 and based on a sketch made by Turner during his tour of central Yorkshire in August that year. Hackforth is a valley of the River Ure, five miles north-west of Ripon. The small building in the mid-distance may be the Fisher’s Hut, one of a number of structures built by the landowner William Aislabie before his death in 1808. On the distant hill is a folly, Mowbray Castle - Copyright of this image and of the words used in the quotation remains with the Trustees of the Wallace Collection. It is being used here for educational use as allowed by the terms of the Wallace collection’s copyright statement.
|Image by: Richard |
Uploaded: 22 Jun 2015
This picture was taken from approximately the same position as the Turner painting.
|Image by: Richard |
Uploaded: 22 Jun 2015
One of the many follies that you will see on the journey.
|Image by: Richard |
Uploaded: 22 Jun 2015
Claire and Richard with a Folly behind - June 2015
|Image by: granada |
Uploaded: 09 Aug 2017
iOS Appstore November 2017
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Email November 2017
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Very enjoyable and well described route. Views over the river from the warren were stunning.
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Even on a cold windy day with it trying to snow this was still an excellent walk. We managed it with our 2 children of 5 yrs and one in a all terain pram (a defo no no with a normal pram). Will be doing this one again in the summer.
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