Grewelthorpe, the River Ure, the ancient woodland and follies of Hackfall.
Table of Contents
- What3Words for start point: ///unwind.bootleg.different
- Start / Finish Point: Grewelthorpe, Ripon HG4 3BW
- Distance: 4 Miles
GPX Route MapDownload file for GPS
Hackfall Woods lies just outside the village of Grewelthorpe, an expansive area of semi-natural ancient woodland that cloaks the steep banks of the River Ure. Hackfall Woods was bought by John Aislabie in 1731, who most famously laid out the formal water gardens of Studley Royal at nearby Fountains Abbey. His son William transformed Hackfall into a romantic ‘wilderness’ garden with trees, walkways, waterfalls, surprise views and follies, all set on the dramatic slopes above the River Ure. Hackfall Woods has provided inspiration for many of our great artistic minds, including Turner who came here to paint whilst William Wordsworth recommended a visit to the woods en route to the Lake District – Wedgwood even used Hackfall Wood scenes for a dinner service for Catherine II of Russia! It had been neglected for many years and looked destined for ‘redevelopment’ when The Woodland Trust stepped in and bought Hackfall in the late 1980s and has since restored the garden; it now has Grade 1 listed status.
Our route from Grewelthorpe heads across farmland and then follows a muddy path that meanders gently down through the woods to join the banks of the River Ure, with thick woodland and tumbling streams all around. The highlight is the path that heads up across the top of the wooded banks to the Ruin at Mowbray Point, which was built in 1767 by William Aislabie as a banqueting house. Its eastern facade was designed to look like a ruined triumphal archway, with magnificent views right across the Vale of Mowbray towards the North York Moors as well as Hackfall Woods beneath your feet and the folly of Mowbray Castle clearly visible in the woods. The Ruin has been restored and is used as a holiday cottage. The path then heads into the steep-sided side-valley of Grewelthorpe Beck, with its series of small waterfalls and weirs.