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Nidderdale & Washburn Walks

Hackfall Woods

Grewelthorpe Beck

Date: 7th July 2012
Distance: 7.5 miles
Ascent: 984 feet
Time: 4 hours 5 minutes
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: SE231761

Walk Summary:
The follies of Hackfall Woods were the highlight of this woodland and riverside walk starting from Grewelthorpe in the Nidderdale AONB.

Route Summary: Grewelthorpe - Bush Farm - Mickley Barras - Hackfall Woods - Nutwith Cote Wood - Low Burn Bridge - Roomer Common - Nutwith Common - Horsepasture Hill - Grewelthorpe


1. The large pond in Grewelthorpe

The large pond in Grewelthorpe

2. A roe deer - try and spot the faun

A roe deer - try and spot the faun

3. The woodland of Mickley Barras

The woodland of Mickley Barras

4. Stream in Hackfall Woods

Stream in Hackfall Woods

5. Mowbray Castle - one of the follies in Hackfall Woods

Mowbray Castle - one of the follies in Hackfall Woods

6. Grewelthorpe Beck

Grewelthorpe Beck

7. Hackfall Woods from 'The Ruin'

Hackfall Woods from 'The Ruin'

8. Fountain Pond

Fountain Pond

9. The River Ure

The River Ure

10. The River Burn flowing underneath Low Burn Bridge

The River Burn flowing underneath Low Burn Bridge

11. Dark skies gathering over Roomer Common

Dark skies gathering over Roomer Common

12. The trig point on Horsepasture Hill

The trig point on Horsepasture Hill

Walk Detail: After a number of recent riverside and woodland walks I'd hoped to get out for a bracing walk up on the moors. However, an overnight mist stuck below cloudy skies meant that it was a murky start to the day and so, after weighing up my options, I headed for Grewelthorpe to explore another area of the Nidderdale AONB that I wasn't familiar with.

Grewelthorpe itself proved to be very attractive with a large pond at the southern end of the village. The paths I took to the woods of Mickley Barras, via Bush Farm, were quite overgrown and not always easy to follow. This was hardly surprising as all the rain seems to have made the undergrowth quite rampant this summer.

After the recent downpours the ground was also very muddy. This was particularly the case once I entered the woods of Mickley Barras and then into Hackfall Woods proper. In places I wasn't so much walking as barely-controlled slipping and sliding. Eventually, in Nutwith Cote Wood, I succumbed and managed a quite spectacular slip - landing backside first in a particularly muddy section of path.

Despite the treacherous paths Hackfall Woods proved to be an absolute delight. Bought by the Aislabie family (also responsible for the water gardens at Studley Royal) in 1731 the woods were developed by William Aislabie with the addition of a number of follies and viewpoints.

The first folly I visited was the fake castle ruin called Mowbray Castle followed by the Dining Hall on Mowbray Point which featured a fantastic view down over the woods and the line of the Ure that flows through it. Next I visited Fisher Hall, The Grotto and Fountain Pond, which true to its name does have a fountain. In addition to the follies there was also the attractive Grewelthorpe Beck and a 40 foot waterfall. All wonderful stuff.

After exploring Hackfall Woods I passed north out of Nutwith Cote Wood for a nice open spell of riverside walking along the Ure until I was deflected by the incoming River Burn to Low Burn Bridge. Both rivers were dark brown and flowing quite quickly after all the rain. Needless to say the river levels were also very high.

From Low Burn Bridge I followed the road south before heading across Roomer Common to the wooded slopes of Nutwith Common. The skies had been darkening quite ominously and I timed my entry into the woods perfectly as the rain began to come down. After waiting out the shower in the shelter in the woods I visited the trig point on Horsepasture Hill before descending through some pleasant fields back in to Grewelthorpe.

Despite the muddy conditions this proved to be an excellent walk. Hackfall Woods were fascinating and I'm already planning on returning to take some more photos in the autumn.

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