Hackfall Woods in Ripon, North Yorkshire is a wonderful woodland that I have had the wonderful opportunities to visit on several occassions, but also help with some of the conservation work to restore it to its former glory. The woodland is first mentioned in the Doomsday Book of 1086 with ownership over the past millennium ranging from the Knights Templar, Lords, Earls, the local village folk and for the past 40 years has been owned by the Woodlands Trust.
Entry sign from Grewelthorpe village entrance.
The woodland is very large consisting of 117.67 acres from flat ground to very steep climbs to reach the highest parts with the rewarding views. However, the woodland is filled with wonderful colours, cascades, follies, warerfalls and a winding riverside so that ‘rewarding view’ is only a perspective, nature as beautiful looking from above as experiencing within. There are four main walking trails to see the woodland which cater to all abilities and time-restraints, however due to the terrain wheelchair access is near impossible. If you would like to find out more about the walks around Hackfall Wood just click here.
Mowbray Castle (except top-right image, which is Fisher’s Hall)
Other buildings at Hackfall include The Banqueting House (which the featured image at the top of the page was taken from), which has been beautifully restored and can now be rented out as a holiday cottage from The Landmark Trust. Walking trails converge on both sides of the house (also known as “The Ruin”) particularly as this gives visitors a birds-eye view of the woodland, which on a clear day means that you can see for miles – Absolutely breathtaking!
Down by the pond and fountain you can find the Rustic Temple, a small place to sit and watch the world go by as well as other visitors. The fountain does constantly flow wither water but rather displays a small show every 15 minutes during summer when everything is in working order, although I have been aware of some issues recently that need repairs. Many walking trials divide from this central place which lead you up rocky terrain or down to the riverside, with one such trial taking you past the building titled The Grotto and then eventually to a set of steps that lead you up to Fisher’s Hall.
Throughout the site there are information boards detailing you about the buildings and of course, the flowers and wildlife. Visiting in Spring, Summer and Autumn are brilliant times to see Hackfall in all its glory and the woodland is known for the array of Bluebells on sight that typically bloom in late April. Keen birdwatchers are also in for a treat and I know people whom have seen Kingfishers here on more than on occasion!
Bluebells in bloom, woodlands and the riverside
Free parking is available on the site but this is small, so arrive early! If the car park is full, there are two layby’s alongside but please head to any signs asking not to park in front of farmyard gates. If these are also full, head back to the village of Grewelthorpe and park near the The Crown Inn pub as a walking path runs alongside the building (signs are posted at the start), which take you to the back entrance of Hackfall Wood. The walk is around 10 minutes through fields and over stiles, a popular route for villagers whom frequently walk their dogs in the area. If you feel like you are going in the wrong direction, someone should be along sooner or later to query this 🙂
An amazing, beautiful landscape in rural Yorkshire – Pay it a visit, you will not regret it!