Swinton Bivouac – Druid’s Temple and Sole Beck

This is a 5-mile circular walk that takes in the mysterious Druid’s Temple folly and the ruins of Lobley Hall, some lovely moorland views and a sheltered and wooded valley, all on the Swinton Estate. The second half of the route has some uneven and steep sections and the final climb to the Swinton Bivouac café can be quite boggy. 

Druid’s Temple

[1] Park at the Swinton Bivouac car park (HG4 4JZ)- please pay at the parking hut (£3 per vehicle). Walking away from the Swinton Bivouac café buildings, follow the track back to the road. When you reach the road turn left and walk to the end of the road. Go through the gate and you can either go straight on or branch right- both routes lead to the Druid’s Temple. Explore this intriguing folly, built in the late 1700s, at your leisure. There is a beautiful view of the moors and reservoir if you carry on past the Temple.

From the Temple, retrace your steps down the road. Where you would turn right for the car park, turn left through a hand gate and onto the footpath (the Ripon Rowel) that takes you through the field. Go through the next gate and follow the path with the fenced woodland on your left. When you reach the end of the fence line, the path turns left. Here, you will enter the next field with lovely views ahead of you up onto the moors.

Viewpoint overlooking Leighton Reservoir, Swinton Estate

[2] Once through the gate, turn right and follow the track down the hill through the field with woodland on your right. Go through the next gate in the stone wall and continue diagonally to the left down the hill and across the field, going through a gate and following the way markers in the field until you reach a fingerpost. Turn sharp right here – do not go into the woodland. Make sure to follow the signs for the Ripon Rowel. The path doubles back here, below the route you have just taken. When the path drops to a gate, go through this with Hall Wood on your left. Follow the path with the stone wall and woodland on your left, go through the next gate and continue straight through the next three gates until you reach Broadmires Farm.

[3] Leaving the farm on your left, the track becomes tarmac and takes you uphill. From here you get good views of the village of Healey across the valley on your left. When you reach the road, continue straight ahead and down the hill. Go past the bridge on your left and continue with the River Burn on your left. You will reach a ford where Sole Beck joins the River Burn, which you can cross using the pedestrian bridge. 

[4] Once you have crossed the bridge, follow the road up a steep hill. At the top, look out for a gate in the hedge on your right (there is a fingerpost sign on the left, pointing towards Ilton). Take this gate into the field. Walk diagonally right up the slope to the gate in the right hand boundary wall. Go through this gate and from there walk straight through the rough meadow, heading towards the trees, to the gate in the wall on the other side.

From here, take the track through the trees as it slowly drops down to Sole Beck. Cross over the fence at the end. This is where the track is uneven and a bit challenging. Drop down to cross the stony dry stream bed ahead of you and pick up the path again, with Sole Beck on your right. The path turns left and up a very steep short bank. At the top, turn right. From here, the path goes through gorse and bracken and can be difficult to follow. Continue upwards and you will come out into a field with the ruins of Lobley Hall on your right. 

Druid’s Temple and Sole Beck Walk on the Swinton Estate

[5] Head back down the hill through the field and follow the track with Sole Beck still on your right. Go through a gate and continue. You will cross a bridge and through another gate to find yourself on a road with a barn on your left.

[6] Turn left onto the road. Before the bridge, turn right and onto a track. Go over the stile next to the gate and continue with the woodland on your left. Carry on along the bottom of the valley until the end of the track. Go through the gate and turn right, heading uphill with the stone wall on your right. This is where the field can be very boggy. At the top of the hill you will see Swinton Bivouac. Cross the stile and reward yourselves in the café with a hot chocolate!

Bivouac Cafe Bistro

Swinton Bivouac Café Bistro serves snacks and honest wholesome food and you are welcome to pop in for a coffee and cake, a light lunch, or to make a night of it with their themed evenings and range of drinks and local beers. With a rustic style and breath-taking location, this is somewhere truly out of the ordinary on the Swinton Estate.

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