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 ramble around the countryside north of Markington in order to take a look at the fantastic medieval manor of Markenfield Hall.
Route Summary: Markington - Waterloo - Strait Lane - Morcar Grange - Whitcliffe Lane - Spring Wood - Markenfield Hall - Ingerthorpe - Markington
1. A glimpse of Markington Hall
2. The farm track that is definitely not Strait Lane
3. A young plantation of Christmas trees
4. Wheatfield near Brickley Hills
5. The pond near Morcar Grange
6. The cows of Bland Close head towards me ...
7. ... and were soon crowding the other side of the gate I needed to access
8. Approaching Markenfield Hall
9. Markenfield Hall
10. The gatehouse to Markenfield Hall
11. Markenfield Hall
12. Markington Beck
Walk Detail: After spending most of the day out in the garden painting the fence I needed a bit of a break and as it was so nice I decided to pop out for a walk mid-afternoon. After having a quick flick through my collection of walking guides I picked this route, mainly it was close by and because I was curious to see Markenfield Hall.
There is not too much to say about the first few miles of the walk except for the fact that I completely failed to find the enclosed bridleway called Strait Lane and instead followed a wide track, not clearly marked on the map, that went to the north of Yarrows Farm and it was only in the vicinity of some young Christmas tree plantations that I realised my mistake. Fortunately I managed to get on to another RoW which took me to the northern end of Strait Lane.
At the farm of Bland Close I had a rather interesting encounter with some cows. When I entered the field there were a few in the far corner near the gate I needed to get to. I cautiously (and for me bravely) began to approach them but as I got closer more and more began to appear from around a hidden corner. To make it worse they began to make a beeline for me.
My bravery evaporated fairly quickly at this point and I beat a retreat to the gate I'd entered. Within minutes I had the entire herd pushing up to the other side of the gate 'mooing' at me. I waited for a while and when it didn't look like they were going to move on I thought I was going to have to give Markenfield Hall a miss and re-trace my steps. Suddenly most of the herd ran off up to the top of the field and the few remaining stragglers soon followed when I told them, in rather strong language, they should join their friends. As soon as the coast was clear I crossed the field in double quick time.
Markenfield Hall itself, although only viewed from the outside, made the whole walk worthwhile. A fortified manor house with moat dating from the early 14th century it is really quite impressive. It is only open to the public on limited days in May and June but having now seen the outside I'd quite like to go and have a proper look round, though I'll have to wait until next year until I can do that now.
Despite the fact that the cows of Bland Close came close to ruining it this was a pleasant walk in rolling farmland and woodland with occasionally good views across the Vale of Mowbray towards the line of the Hambleton Hills. Alhtough I am starting to pine for a proper hill walk I am still enjoying these short walks exploring the countryside close to my hometown.