Hudswell to Easby Abbey

When we stayed at Scar Close CL in 2015 we took an enjoyable walk from the site to Easby Abbey to the south east of Richmond. After a couple of days of low cloud the sun is shining and we look as if we are in for a lovely day, but being a cautious chap I still pack the waterproofs into the rucksack, just in case.

I have been telling Lynnie about the cracking wild flower meadow a couple of fields down from the site, so instead of picking up the path at the bottom of the site we start by heading down the driveway and then turning left down the road out of the village.  We soon reach the footpath on the left that will take us through the meadow.

At a crossing of paths we continue straight on to reach a gate leading to a path that descends into Hudswell Woods.  This is a steep descent and on reaching a second gate we go through to carry on down towards the River Swale.  At the bottom we turn right and follow the footpath with the River Swale to our left.

At a fork in the footpath we take the right option this path follows the line of the trees and then passing through a gate enters woodland.  We are above the riverside path and despite the slight climb it is much easier walking.

The path brings us to Richmond Bridge, which we cross before turning right to walk along Riverside Road, a quiet lane that, as its name suggests, follows the line of the river below the castle walls.  We arrive at a broad path boasting stunning views back across the waterfalls on the River Swale.  The river level is low and there are families cooling off in the water.

The path leads through a park and we soon get impressive views of Station Bridge.  This bridge was originally built in the mid 19thcentury to connect the railway station with the rest of the town.  It has four gothic arches and was designed by Robert Stephenson, Engineer–in-Chief of the York & Newcastle Railway and the son of George Stephenson.  The bridge underwent extensive renovation after heavy rains resulted in a partial collapse in June 2000.

We follow the footpath under the bridge and merge with a lane that continues high above the river before descending again by playing fields.   Here we have a choice of paths going either side of the Drummer Boy Stone.

Legend has it that at the end of the 18thcentury soldiers discovered an opening to a tunnel under the keep of Richmond Castle.  As they were too large to get into it they picked a small regimental drummer boy to be lowered into the tunnel.  He was instructed to beat his drum as he walked the tunnel and those above would be able to follow his passage.  They tracked him from the Castle and out of the town until they reached Easby Wood beside the River Swale.  There the drumming ceased and the lad was never seen again.  It is said that the stone marks the spot where the drum was last heard.

We walk through the woods and then join a path taking us towards Easby Abbey.  The Abbey is said to have been founded in 1152 and the inhabitants were Premonstratensians, they wore white habits and became known as the White Canons.  The Abbey was frequently attacked by Scottish raiders and then in the 1530s fell victim to Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries.  Thereafter it fell into gradual decline.

On leaving the Abbey we pass the Abbey Gatehouse and continue on the path that follows the course of the river.

On reaching the old railway bridge over the Swale we cross the river and continue along the track bed of the disused Eryholme to Richmond branch line.  The York and Newcastle Railway Company opened the line in 1846, it survived the Beeching cuts but closed a few years later in 1969.

The old track way is shaded on both sides by trees making it a very pleasant walk on what has turned out to be a warm day.  Certainly warm enough to justify Lynnie purchasing an ice cream when we reach the old Railway Station.

Our route continues across the bridge and along Station Road, we then turn into Frenchgate and follow this to the Market Place.  We walk up the Market Place and leave by the pedestrianised Finkle Street and then turn left into Newbiggin at the end of this cobbled street we turn right onto Cravengate.  Then at a junction turn left along Victoria Street.

We continue along Victoria Street before turning left into Reeth Road.  On reaching a car park on our left we walk through to the footbridge and cross the River Swale.

We are back in Hudswell Woods and retrace our steps up through the woods to Scar Close CL.

We have covered almost seven miles.  Once again we have had a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon and we decide that as it is our last night in Hudswell we should pop to the George and Dragon for a couple of pints of well-kept ale.  Cheers!

To view this 6.5 mile walk on OS Maps Click Here

To follow our walk you will need Ordnance Survey Explorer Map 304  – Darlington and Richmond

31st May 2018

© Two Dogs and an Awning (2018)

 

 

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