VICTORIA ELLIS takes a gentle stroll through the lowlands surrounding Brearton

Brearton is surrounded by Knaresborough, Boroughbridge, Ripon and Harrogate, the closest about three cross-country miles away. But the little village is tucked away from the busy roads, so when we arrived we were a little surprised to find ourselves in a late Saturday morning mini rush hour of gleaming motor cars.

Brearton does not have shops, only a pub, but we had just put on our boots, so we walked on by - passing Eagle House which is dated 1833 and has swirls of yew topiary at the garden gate, Brearton Hall, hens in a farmyard and the village green that has a bench and a pond and a stately trio of beech trees commemorating the Silver Jubilee of 1887, the Coronation of 1953 and the Silver Jubilee of 1977.

We then left the village, joined the local dog walkers' route, and the Tarmac turned to stone track.

Along one side is the lovely green ripple of ridge and furrow pasture, unfortunately a portion has been ploughed.

A sign says 'Slow Pheasants' - they seemed innocent to the bangs of a bird scarer and will soon be immobile. Planted saplings promise that in years to come the tracks will be avenues. The effect at the moment is rather parkland with cattle under the big oaks.

From the signs I would judge we are in the Mountgarret Estate.

The corner to Green Lane, a track, is wooded and walled, though part of the wall has gone and the curved coping stones are similar to some in the village.

Then comes a surprise view 20 miles northeast to the North York Moors escarpment and the White Horse at Kilburn.

The next corner brought us into a pretty valley, shallow and wide with a meandering beck. A Range Rover rocketed past as we ate our sandwiches and we watched the flights of long-tailed, blue and great tits from wood to wood and up and down the old and hedged track. In winter, tits forget their differences and form roving mixed bands.

The route takes one round the middling slopes rather than over the tops of the low hills, and the surrounding countryside is rolling and gentle, so the feel is of shelter and calm more than distance and drama.

In fact, of the fine towns nearby we saw only Harrogate. That was from Limekiln Hill. And that's about it, with time for some shopping if you like.

Fact file

Distance: Five miles.

Time: Two hours.

General location: Near Harrogate.

Start: The village of Brearton.

Right of way: The complete route is along public rights of way.

Date walked: Saturday, November 24, 2001.

Road route: From York, A59 to Knaresborough then signed off the B1665.

Car parking: Park on verge 50 yards after turning down dead-end to Brearton (signed Brearton 1/4 mile).

Lavatories: None.

Refreshments: Inn at Brearton.

Tourist and public transport information: Harrogate TIC 01423 537300.

Map: Based on OS Explorer 299 Ripon and Boroughbridge.

Terrain: Rolling lowlands.

Points of interest: Some very posh track surface, almost like rural cobbles. Footpath to nature reserve behind Lime Kilns Farm.

Difficulty: Easy/moderate. Simple navigation, sound surfaces. Altitude between 130 and 250 feet.

Dogs: Suitable.

Weather forecast: Evening Press and recorded forecast 0891 500 418.


When in doubt look at the map. Check your position at each point. Keep straight on unless otherwise directed.

1. Road into village, left-hand-bend at village green, right at T-junction by edge of village.

2. Fieldgate across lane, 50 yards, Tarmac ends, track and straight on, then grassy track through field (fieldgates).

3. Gate/fieldgate and left uphill (signed).Track becomes hedged downhill, joins Tarmac drive downhill.

4. Track on left immediately before ford (gates/cattlegrids) and through fields above stream.

5. Join Tarmac drive and uphill, ignore first track on left.

6.Track on left at old fieldgate (waymark), ignore side turns. At village, right to Tarmac lane and first lane left back into village.

Please observe the Country Code and park sensibly. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, walkers set out at their own risk.

Click here to view a map of the walk