Harrogate & District Walks
Date: 29th May 2012
Distance: 5.0 miles
Ascent: 426 feet
Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: SE326432
A walk to Westwick Cut from Bishop Monkton negotiating a mixture of overgrown paths and minor roads - nice view of Newby Hall though.
Route Summary: Bishop Monkton - Ings Lane - Boroughbridge Road - Westwick Cut - Holbeck Wood - Boroughbridge Road - Bishop Monkton
1. The stream in Bishop Monkton
2. Ings Lane
3. Wheatfield next to Ings Lane
4. Bridge over Holbeck
5. Looking across a barley field to Westwick House Farm
6. Westwick Lock
7. Westwick Cut
8. The River Ure
9. Newby Hall
10. Nissen huts from an old WWII training camp
Walk Detail: A couple of weeks ago on a family day out at Newby Hall I made a mental note of what looked like a fabulous riverside path on the opposite bank of the Ure to Newby Hall itself. This short evening walk set out to see if it was as good as it looked whilst at the same time visiting the man made Westwick Cut a bit further downstream.
I set off from Bishop Monkton along the straight track of Ings Lane hoping vainly that the sun would break through the clouds. At the bottom of the lane I then headed down a leafy enclosed way which was very muddy underfoot. The foliage was quite rampant and was a taste of worse to come. At one point I stupidly pinched a particularly large nettle stem to move it out of the way - my right forefinger was still tingling two days later.
Rather easier walking followed on the quiet Boroughbridge Road before taking the access track to Westwick Lock. Here I had to pluck up the courage to pass by several cows in order to access the lock and the path along the canalised Westwick Cut, built to help barges navigate this stretch of the Ure.
This was the stretch of walking I'd been particularly looking forward to but it proved somewhat disappointing. The riverside path which had looked so good from a distance was either overgrown in some places or badly churned up by cows in others, the latter not helped by all the recent rain. When I finally approached the point where I could take a picture of Newby Hall I was confronted by more cows. Remarkably though they all ran away as soon as they heard me floundering in the muck towards them.
The nadir of the walk was the subsequent path through Holbeck Wood. The undergrowth was so dense it was impossible to know whether I was still on the path. I could have done with a machete and not for the first time on the walk I cursed the fact that I was wearing shorts. Finally I made it out of the woods and to one of the more interesting features of the walk - the remains of an old WWII training camp complete with Nissen huts.
Overall this was a disappointing ramble mainly due to conditions underfoot, too many cows and a lack of sunshine. I certainly wouldn't do it again in the summer but I'd possibly consider it at a different time of year after a dry spell. I'd especially like to get a better photo of Newby Hall from across the river.