Nidderdale & Washburn Walks
Date: 11th November 2012
Distance: 2.1 miles
Ascent: 390 feet
Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
With: Lisa and Rhiannon
Start Grid Ref: SE231761
A short family walk exploring the follies of the beautiful Hackfall Woods.
Route Summary: Grewelthorpe - Top Pond - Alum Springs - Fisher Hall - Fountain Pond - The Ruin - Top Pond - Grewelthorpe
1. Alum Spring
2. On the stepping stones over Grewelthorpe Beck
3. Fisher's Hall, one of the follies of Hackfall Woods
4. The River Ure
5. Fountain Pond
6. The Rustic Temple
7. On one of the woodland paths
8. Looking down over Hackfall Woods
9. Mowbray Castle
10. Fisher's Hall from Mowbray Point
Walk Detail: Back in July I visited Hackfall Woods as part of a longer 7 mile walk from Grewelthorpe that also included the nearby woods of Mickley Barras, a stretch of walking along the Ure before returning via Roomer Common and Horsepasture Hill. The undoubted highlight of that walk was the stretch through Hackfall Woods and I promised myself I would come back in the autumn for a family walk with my wife and daughter.
While the 500 year old woods are themselves very pleasant what sets Hackfall apart from the neighbouring woodlands is the series of follies, grottoes, views, waterfalls and ponds that were developed on the site by William Aislabie between 1750 and 1767. As a result Hackfall became a popular tourist destination in the 18th century for those who had the money and time to travel. Today managed by the Woodland Trust, who have done a lot of restoration work, Hackfall really is a fantastic place, made even more so on this occasion by the late autumn colours.
On this walk we didn't even cover all the features though we did visit Fisher's Hall, the Grotto, the Rustic Temple, Fountain Pond and the Ruin. The latter has a magnificent view over the woods. Perhaps the best compliment I can give it is that my five year old daughter, not always the most enthusiastic about going out for a walk, repeatedly used the word 'awesome' on the walk and has several times said she wants to go back again.