Number in Group: 22
Distance: 13.4 miles
Total Ascent: 900 feet
Highest Point: Bland Close 330 ft
Lowest Point: Ripon Canal 57 ft
Starting from the car park behind Ripon Market place, we cut through to Ripon Cathedral (upgraded from a Minster in 2014). After passing through the grounds, we crossed the River Skell by the road bridge, to pick up the path alongside the Ripon Canal. The Canal was opened in 1773 to connect Ripon to the navigable section of the River Ure at Ox Close. It was mainly used to transport coal from the Yorkshire coalfields to Ripon. With the advent of the Railways, the canal was neglected and closed in 1906. In 1961 the Ripon Motor Boat Club initiated its restoration. A coffee stop was taken at the first set of Locks. We then headed SSE, on the path between the canal and Ripon Racecourse. At the end of the Racecourse, the path crosses the canal at Rentons Bridge. Reaching Ox Close, where the canal meets the River Ure, we turned SW to head across field paths to Bishop Monkton.
Bishop Monkton is a picturesque village with many fine buildings and a stream running through the village. One of the highlights was a 20 ft topiary, known as the “Cockadoodle” cut into a 100 year old Yew Tree. With an abundance of seats next to the stream, it was an ideal setting for an early-ish lunch. Continuing SW along Mains Lane, we reached the busy A61 at Wormald Green. Our thanks go to the driver of the lorry which stopped, holding up the traffic, to allow us to cross. From Wormald Green, the intended path was a field path near a dismantled railway, but when we eventually found it, it was so overgrown as to be impenetrable. So following the disused railway, which seemed to be used as a path, we emerged at the A61 near Horse Mill Lane, allowing us to get back on track.
At the end of the Lane, we joined the Ripon Rowell Walk, taking us to Markenfield Hall. A short overshoot past the path to the Hall, did provide the opportunity to walk through a swarm of bees, twice! Fortunately no one was stung. Markenfield Hall is surrounded by a moat, but we did not get close enough to see it, because a herd of cattle were blocking the intended path at the stile. A detour along Park Wall brought us safely back onto RRW. This was followed on field paths and a track to Whitcliffe Hall. Still following RRW, we entered Chinese Wood, where we passed Jeff’s group heading in the opposite direction. From the wood, we entered Studley Royal Park, passing the lake, we followed a wide avenue path to Studley Roger. Following a green lane NE, we reached the outskirts of Ripon. (Report and Photos by MW)