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Country walk from Richmond
GEORGE WILKINSON introduces the first of two walks from Richmond
Richmond’s Low Moor is no such thing, it’s right on the top northern edge of the town, Swaledale and its river runs steep and deep below.
And, in the 18th and 19th centuries, it was a racecourse.
You might see a horse exercised, you’ll certainly meet dogs and, to my navigator’s delight, up sprang Bedlington terriers, ‘ratters’ the man said.
The grandstand, once the playground of Richmond’s rich, awaits renovation, the views are to Teesside.
After a mile or so, in a disused quarry, a sign read ‘Natural Retreats’, we retreated from the offered ‘Shamanic Dream Body Workshop’ but there were a fair few cars by the eco lodges.
Then we powered our battered bodies up a walled track that clips Beacon Hill. The beacon is like a crown on a stubby pillar, the trig point at 1,050 feet stands with it but hidden behind a dry stone wall. Fieldfares and starlings, a hundred a flock, poured from ash trees to pastures and a pretty valley has half-moon mine entrances. This walk is pentagon shaped and the third side brought gunfire from military ranges to the west, the sound stuttering over a plateau of golden grassland, the wildest part of the walk, with curlew and lapwing and a boggy stretch. Jockey Cap Clump is a tuft of trees on a hillock.
Civilization returns with an ace looking farm at Gillingwood Hall, a good mix of very charming old buildings and a gleaming metal grain drier. An ash, it’s all ash trees, was split and fallen on a drystone wall.
Then it’s civilization writ large with Aske Hall, to quote Simon Jenkins from his England’s Thousand Best Houses, an ‘aristocratic mansion’ and ‘the seat of the Marquesses of Zetland’, tons of it including a parkland pond, parkland trees and a palace of a riding school.
After that, a valley wood was felled, a surprise for the garlic. Golfers whirled, we moved on through. A wind turbine whirred nearby and this we investigated; it powers Richmond’s Altberg walking boot factory and shop and in the same Gallowfields Estate is Arthur Caygill Cycles.
When in doubt look at the map. Check your position at each point. Keep straight on unless otherwise directed.
1. From parking area, through gate to path along/near southern side of Low Moor. Pass small 1814 tower, grass track 200 yards.
2. At house, gate/fieldgate and right to road.
3. At house, metalled track on right (fingerpost bridleway). Ignore side turns. Stile/fieldgate at ford, uphill and by wood.
4. At paths junction at stile/fieldgate, right by wall (waymark), boggy stretch (6 fieldgates).
5. Left to road, 50 yards, gate/fieldgate on right (sign), track downhill through wood, fieldgate out (waymark), track.
6. At wooden fieldgate on right by gorse (no sign, wall below), track on right with wall to your left, immediately pass old quarry to your right, fieldgate, track uphill outside wood, fieldgate, by wood, fieldgate (waymark) and track below farm buildings, 100 yards, gates into farmyard, between buildings. Pass house/farm, concrete drive.
7. At sharp left-hand bend, fieldgate into field ahead (waymark), 1 o’clock for 100 yards across field corner then uphill by wall and hedge remains, cross field, gate/fieldgate (waymark), contour straight across field.
8. Stile/fieldgate on right and path across parkland, stile (waymark) to drive, pass palatial building.
9. At junction, left to drive (sign on wall), stile/cattlegrid, pass Aske Hall.
10. On bend near entrance, angle one o’clock from drive across parkland (sign and waymark after 25 yards on fencing around tree), keep to left of stumps and jump after 100 yards, roughly follow fenced trees and aim for lower woods.
11. Snickelgate into wood, downhill, cross track, footbridge, path uphill, gap out and right to field-edge path. Left uphill at old field boundary path, right at trees, 50 yards, stile/snickelgate.
12. Aim 11 o’clock across golf course fairway, path between small pond and trees, up to nearest edge of car park, right (white waymarked post), 100 yards, behind golf club, track (white waymarked post), 100 yards, fork right downhill (waymarked post), left fork at bend to grass path by trees (waymark), gate/fieldgate by house (waymark), drive, cross road to squeezer (fingerpost), left to path on Low Moor back to start.
Distance: Seven miles.
General location: North Yorkshire. Start: Richmond.
Right of way: Public.
Date walked: March 2011.
Road route: A1. In Richmond take Gallowgate Road, signed Ravensworth 5, and pass Police Station.
Car parking: Small parking area at eastern corner of Low Moor.
Tourist and public transport information: Richmond TIC 01748 850252.
Map: Drawn from OS 304 Darlington and Richmond.
Please observe the Country Code and park sensibly. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, walkers set out at their own risk.