Richmond, Hudswell Woods, George & Dragon and the River Swale.
Table of Contents
- What3Words reference: ///collects.instructs.afflicted
- Start / Finish Point: Market Pl, Richmond DL10 4QN
- Distance: 5 Miles
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Following the Norman Conquest, the ‘new’ ruling lords were given large tracts of land and ordered to keep an eye on the unruly locals. William the Conqueror gave Alan Rufus, one of his loyal supporters, a vast estate in what is now North Yorkshire as well as the title ‘Earl of Richmond’. He then set about building a castle on the edge of the sheer cliffs high above the River Swale, and named it ‘riche mont’ which means ‘strong hill’ in Norman French.
The view of the castle from Richmond Green Bridge is a delight with the castle ramparts towering above and the River Swale, England’s fastest flowing river, which then tumbles over its limestone bed to create a series of waterfalls known as The Fosse. Richmond Green Bridge was built in the 1780’s to a design of the famous architect John Carr, replacing a much older bridge. This was for many centuries the only crossing of the river and was the start of the Richmond to Lancaster Turnpike.
Just beside the bridge is the former Good Intent Inn that served travellers along this old road as well as workers from the quarries in Billy Bank Wood. A delightful path leads up through these woods alongside the River Swale then on through Hudswell Woods, a semi-natural woodland clinging to the steep valley sides of the Swale with towering beech trees, oak and ash that are now thankfully in the care of the National Trust. A steep flight of steps leads up through these woods to the quiet village of Hudswell, situated on a flat shelf of land just above the escarpment and deep valley of the Swale. Here you will find the George & Dragon, Yorkshire’s first community owned pub with its own community shop, library, allotments and beehives, not to mention its large terraced beer garden, which affords panoramic views across the wooded gorge of Swaledale.
The return leg of this walk follows the top of the wooded escarpment for most of the way, walking across a series of narrow field strips and countless stiles. There are also occasional glimpses of Swaledale through the trees as well as a perfect framed view of the Keep of Richmond Castle.