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5 Walks In The Yorkshire Dales

Greygarth Circular

Starting point  and OS Grid reference:

Free parking at Tom Corner (SE 179726)

Ordnance Survey Map

OS Explorer 298 - Nidderdale.

Distance: 6.9 miles

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Nidderdale Walk - Greygarth Circular Sketch Map

To view route as a dynamic Ordnance Survey map click here.

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Introduction: This walk in the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, I call the Greygarth Circular. Well, I have to call it something and it does encircle Greygarth, although Greygarth is little more than a farm and a chapel. What inspired me to do the walk was noticing “Greygarth Monument” and “Sighting Tower” during a casual glance at the OS map, not to mention the prospect of a sunny day!

The walk is on the edge of Kirkby Malzeard Moor, to the west of Kirkby Malzeard village itself. It is a quiet area and I saw virtually no-one during the walk.

The Greygarth Monument started life as a pointed tower built, unusually, in celebration of the extinction of wolves from the area! Unfortunately, it blew down in 1890 but was rebuilt in 1897 to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. It obviously fell into disrepair and was rebuilt in 1984. I have to confess to having slipped up, in that when I turned off the road to climb by the monument, I was on access land to the opposite side of the wall of the field in which it sits. Expecting access somewhere along this wall, I was disappointed to find the one gate, padlocked and inscribed with “private” signs. It appears it is on private land and certainly no rights of way to it are shown on the map. When I had a good view of the monument, I decided the view from where I was would not be significantly worse than from the monument, which is not so tall, so I pressed on. There may be access from another point.

The monument is a useful reference point as it is visible during most of the walk.

The Carlesmoor Sighting Tower is a strange construction and was evidently used with other “Colsterdale Towers” to triangulate the end points of a water tunnel from Roundhill reservoir to Harrogate.

There is some heather moorland walking, which indicates the walk would be attractive in late summer especially. There is also some road walking but the lanes hereabouts are quiet and you should meet little traffic.

Here and there, are a number of mosaics set into stones. I have since discovered these are to mark the circular “Crackpot Trail”, devised by people from Kirkby Malzeard. By accident, I find I followed most of this route. I have mentioned some of these mosaics, where they help with directions.

Parts of the walk can be muddy so gaiters are recommended after wet weather.

The walk starts from a car park at “Tom Corner” and indeed, it is worth the trip there just for the fantastic view. To get there, head west out of Kirkby Malzeard village (near Ripon) along Main Street, following the signs for Laverton. About 200 yards after leaving the village, turn right on the Kirkby Moor Road (signposted for Dallowgill). Stay on this road for about three miles, crossing a cattle grid on to the moor, until you reach a point at a farm where the road turns very sharp left. If you go straight ahead on this bend along a road described as unsuitable for motor vehicles (it is fine as far as the parking), the Tom Corner parking is about ¼ mile on the right.

View from Tom Corner

Start: At the car park entrance, turn left to walk along the road (SE 179726). At the junction, turn right in the direction of the road sign “Dallowgill 1¼ miles”. Pass and ignore a public bridleway sign on the left just past the farm.

At a cattle grid, about a quarter of a mile from the road  junction, turn left, before crossing, it to follow a wall on your right, climbing on to the moorland (SE 184723). As you climb, you will get a good view of the Greygarth Monument over the wall.

Greygarth Monument

When the wall turns right, head for the left hand side of the plantation of conifer trees you can see in the near distance. The footpath route across the heather is not particularly clear but just use the plantation as your guide.

View from Nr Greygarth Monument

View to Kirkby Malzeard Moor

As you get closer to the trees, you should see a public footpath fingerpost by the road re-assuring you that invisible as it may have been, there was (supposed to be) a footpath across the heather.

Walk along the road over the cattle grid (SE 191732) (or use the gate alongside) and just before it turns a right hand corner, take the concrete drive entrance on the left with a public footpath fingerpost.

At the farmhouse, turn sharp right, through a walker’s gate, then immediately through a five-bar gate and into the trees. The path through the trees is easy to follow. It dips down to Carlesmoor Beck before rising to a walkers' gate on to a farm track, where you turn right (SE 192734).

Sun in trees at Carlesmoor Beck

You pass the Potato House mosaic.

Mosaic of potato house

The track forks at a farm (SE 194735). This next bit of the route is not too obvious. You need to fork left here towards the farm, running the gauntlet of some nasty looking noisy dogs either side of the track but which thankfully are on short chains, so as long as you stay in the centre you will be fine. Do not take the left turn between the farm buildings but keep straight ahead, keeping to the right of the barns.

At the very end of the farm, turn left before a metal gate, on to a broad walled track. There is a yellow footpath arrow. You soon pass the unmistakeable Carlesmoor Sighting Tower, to your left.

        Carlesmoor sighting tower        Carlesmoor sighting tower

Stay on the track and at its end, go through a walkers’ gate and follow the footpath to the right down to a stream. Climb the other side to the top of the moor where there are some shooting butts to your left.

Follow the narrow track through the heather which forms a closing angle with the butts, eventually passing between two of them. Some distance ahead of you is the ruin of Stocks Beck House. Head for this (SE 194747).

You cross a plank bridge (re-inforced with a metal plate when I passed), then turn right to the road and turn right.

In less than a quarter of a mile, you come to Bagwith House. Turn right, just before it, down a track alongside the trees.

On reaching the field, keep straight ahead, following the obvious route along the left hand boundary of the fields. There are nice views along here over the Stocks Beck valley, along which you walked at the other side and towards the Greygarth Monument and the Sighting Tower.

View across Stocks Beck valley

        Woodpecker mosaic        Flag Iris and Tadpole Mosaic

The track curves left, following the contour of the land to a road. Turn left here for a few yards then right down a narrow hedged track. The Woodpecker mosaic is at this point.

The track dips down to a ford but a footbridge saves wet feet!

Follow the track as it swings left through a gate (there is a public bridleway fingerpost here pointing right which you ignore). There is also a mosaic of a cow on the corner.

Continue until you reach a right turn indicated by a Ripon Rowel sign and a mosaic of a “yellow thing” (which on post walk research I discovered is a flag iris and tadpoles – no offence to the artist!) (SE 207730).

The track arrives at another ford with a white footbridge (SE 208727), over the River Laver. Cross this and turn right.

Ford and footbridge over River Laver

Motorcycle crossing

If you look at the OS map, there are a couple of paths off to the right along here which would cut off a corner but I think it is worth sticking with the main track because between the trees are good view across to the North York Moors. The rough track changes to tarmac at Low Belford Farm. Keep ahead to the road, passing Belford, an imposing establishment with a lake in front.

View of NY Moors

At the road, turn right (SE 204736).

You now have the longest stretch of road walking, for about one and a quarter miles but it is a quiet lane. Almost at the end of the road section, you pass St Peter’s Church (SE 195718). Although it looks in good condition and the graveyard looks attended, there are no signs at it and I believe it closed in 2011. An envelope regarding electricity disconnection was in the porch, which might provide a useful shelter.

When the road swings sharp right, heading towards the Greygarth Monument, go straight ahead towards the old vicarage (SE 192717). There is a public bridleway fingerpost indicating the route. There are good views behind you here towards the NY Moors.

View of NY Moors and St Peters Church

As the drive to the old vicarage bends left, cross a stile on the right. There is a blue bridleway arrow but ignore this and keep straight ahead, passing a mosaic of rabbits.

At a wall, turn left indicated by a blue bridleway arrow, then right almost immediately, along the edge of the woods. There is an owl mosaic just by the gate.

Owl Mosaic

Exit the wood by a walkers’ gate. Bear round to the right to stay on the right of the ruined wall. Just round the bend, there is another gate indicating the route.

As you pass a barn with a derelict building alongside, the route is not too clear but follow the left hand boundary of the field and you will see a wide track passing through the trees. Go along here and through the gate on the right, at the end, just before a metal gate. You will see the next walkers’ gate ahead.

A few hundred yards after passing a small barn with a corrugated roof, come to a walled lane and turn right (SE 175724). At one time, this was the lane to the farm below you to the left but is clearly no longer so used. Follow the lane as it dog-legs right in front of a semi-derelict barn then left as it becomes nothing more than a ditch, before becoming more recognisable as a walled lane again.

Turn right at the road and Tom Corner is visible to the right.

 

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