Walks: Pastoral countryside route around Bishop Thornton

Sawley Hall
Sawley Hall

This week’s route is from Bishop Thornton to Sawley Hall and back again. With thanks to the Harrogate Ramblers for the details.

This walk through attractive undulating countryside begins on the lane beside the church in Bishop Thornton. Ignore tracks left and right and reach two large gates: go through the right hand gate and continue, through another gate and along the left hand of the field. Pass through a gate to the old church and graveyard.

Continue along the left edge of the field. Go through a gate, over a cross track and along a good track. Pass right of Highfield House, but just before the bungalow turn sharp right, then sharp left to a stile into a field. Cross to a stile on the far side, then continue with the hedge on the left. Cross the stile by the high wall and walk diagonally right across the field. Raventofts Hall is on the left. Go through a gateway to a road. Turn left.

Ignore Watergate Road but take the asphalt track forking right, signed Raventofts Farm. The large house in the far distance is Sawley Hall. Walk past Raventofts Farm to a gate to a walled way. Bear left in front of two stone gateposts, cross Hebden Beck, contnue left of Ashfield House, and along the farm access track. Reach the high wall enclosing Sawley Park and follow it to a road.

Turn right. Ignore the entrance to Sawley Hall and the road forking left to Sawley village. Pass a large field on the right and right through a gate. Follow the track across the field, and pass a copse, bear right to a fence, then left and down the field to reach a gate into Fish Pond Wood. The path bears left downhill, passes through a gateway in a broken wall and drops to a large lake.

Bear left along the bank, cross the causeway and the bridge between two lakes. Back in the wood the path swings right, then near the top of the wood swings left. Go through a bridle gate at the top and bear slightly right to Foal Cote Farm. Go through a bridle gate and the farmyard. Follow the asphalt access road and through a bridle gate just before a cattle-grid. Follow the fence on the left down the field. At the bottom go through two bridle gates and along the left hand edge of the next field.

At a marker post on the left, follow the bridleway slightly right over the field to a bridle gate. Follow a fence on the left, passing Haddockstones farmyard. Keep right of the fence to a large gate to a road. Turn left.

Just before a left bend, take the right hand track to a gate, and continue. When the wall turns right, continue to the corner of the wood and walk with the wood on your left. After the wood go along the fence, through a gate and right to Haddockstones Grange Farm. Before the buildings take the track right; turn left through a gate, between two buildings and along the track.

The track drops between a wood and a hedge. Go through a gate, cross a beck and up the track to a road. Turn right. At the crossroads keep straight on to Bishop Thornton.

Route guide

Start: Bishop Thornton (Explorer 298 Nidderdale)

Finish: Bishop Thornton

Distance: 10km

Terrain: Old tracks and field paths through countryside

Parking: Difficult. On the kerb outside the parish church, or the lane beside the church

Bus: Infrequent from Harrogate