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Harrogate & District Walks

The Myton Loops

Date: 14th Feb 2015
Distance: 5.8 miles
Ascent: None
Time: 2 hours 30 mins
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: SE439666

Walk Summary:
The waymarked Myton Loops walk featuring a circuit of a medieval battlefield and a detour to visit the confluence of the Ure and Swale.

Route Summary: Myton-on-Swale - Myton Bridge - Confluence of Swale and Ure - Myton Pasture - Myton Bridge - Myton-on-Swale - Moor Lane - Ruff Lane - Halle Lane - Myton-on-Swale

Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.

Information board about the Myton Loops at the start of the walk
The village water pump from 1870 courtesy of Henry Miles Stapylton
The River Swale from Myton Bridge
Information board about the Battle of Myton which was fought on the fields behind in 1319
The first part of the 'Battle Loop' follows a man made embankment above the Swale
Snowdrops by the River Swale
The River Ure
The peaceful spot where the Swale (on the left) joins the River Ure
Reflections in the River Swale
Myton Pasture, the scene of the Battle of Myton in 1319 between the Scots and English
A hedge and the bridleway alongside Myton Pasture
Myton Bridge
The old school building in Myton-on-Swale replete with bell tower
St Mary's Church in Myton-on-Swale
Looking back along Moor Lane on the first stage of the 'Country Loop'
Ruff Lane
A flower pot outside Myton Home Farm featuring the initials of Henry Miles Stapylton
The rather grand Myton Home Farm
Myton Moor - not the type of moor I'm used to frequenting
Myton Hall, once home to the Stapylton family

Walk Detail: While in the Harrogate Tourist Information office one lunchtime (looking for info on a 'Floral Trail' I'd seen signposted) I came across a set of ten leaflets called 'Ure Walks Through Time'. Set in the lower Ure valley, in the vicinity of Boroughbridge, none of the walks were more than five and a half miles in length and I thought they might have potential for family walks or for short evening strolls in the summer after work.

As it happened a walk I'd had organised with someone else was rearranged at short notice and so I decided to do this walk - the longest from the set. The name of the walk 'The Myton Loops' refers to the fact that the route is actually made up of two circular routes from Myton-on-Swale - the two and half mile 'Battle Loop' to the west of the village and the three mile 'Country Loop' to the east of the village. The reason why I picked this particular walk was that I had noticed a short detour on the 'Battle Loop' would take me to the confluence of the Swale and the Ure, a spot I've been meaning to visit for some time.

Myton-on-Swale is an attractive single street village at the end of a road next to the Swale. For centuries the lords of the manor of Myton were the Stapylton family. One of the interesting aspects of this walk are the frequent sightings of the initials HMS. These refer to Major Henry Miles Stapylton who, in the second half of the 19th century, commenced a programme of improvement works. Two of the fruits of these improvements can be seen at the start of the walk, a village water pump dated 1870 and Myton Bridge from 1868. The bridge replaced a ferry and an information board alongside it informs us that construction was overseen by Thomas Page, the architect of Westminster Bridge by the Houses of Parliament.

Across the bridge alongside another information board I began the 'Battle Loop' section of the walk. The 'Battle Loop' is basically a circuit of the flat Myton Pasture. It was here on 20th September 1319 that a hastily raised army of English clergy, farmers and townspeople led by the Archbishop of York was surrounded and slaughtered by a raiding Scottish army led by the Earl of Moray and Lord James Douglas. Due to the number of priests and clergy who died the Battle of Myton is also known as 'The White Battle'.

The first part of the 'Battle Loop' follows a medieval embankment, an alternative local dog walkers path through the woods closer to the riverbank provides an alternative. Where the waymarked route turned north along Myton Pasture Stell I continued south along the embankment to reach the point where the Swale, after a journey of over 73 miles, flows into the River Ure. It is a peaceful spot and one where I chose to eat my lunch and contemplate the joining of these two great Yorkshire rivers.

Returning to the route proper I continued the simple circuit of Myton Pasture and then crossed back over the bridge and in to Myton-on-Swale. The next part of the walk, the so-called 'Country Loop' was mainly on two quiet country roads, Moor Lane and Hall Lane, joined by the track called Ruff Lane. On either side of Ruff Lane were the flat empty fields of Myton Moor - very different to the moors that I am used to walking!

The final section of the walk passed two particularly fine buildings. The first, Myton Home Farm, was rebuilt by Henry Miles Stapylton in 1870. It is a very substantial building and in Bulmer's 'History and Directory of North Yorkshire', written in 1890, it is described as, "scarcely equalled by any farmstead in the country". Just before arriving back in the village I also passed Myton Hall, once home to the Stapylton family and now, according to Wikipedia, the home of Ken Morrison, of Morrisons supermarkets fame.

This was very much a change of pace for me with the higest point of the walk approximately 21 metres above sea level. I did enjoy it though, the information provided by the walk leaflet certainly pointed out a lot of interest and I definitely think I'll be doing some more of the 'Ure Walks Through Time'. If anybody is interested in this walk the official walk leaflet can be downloaded from the Boroughbridge Walks website.

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