Monday, 2 January 2017

A Short Harewood Circuit

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Route: Harewood, Ebor Way, Stank, Carr Wood, Stub House Plantation, Leeds Country Way, Nan Pie, Lodge Hills Plantation, Wall Side Plantation, Harewood

02/01/2017
From: Harewood

Parking: Harewood Village Hall
Start Point: Harewood Village Hall
Region: Leeds

Route length: 4.7 miles (7.5 km)
Time taken: 01:43
Average speed: 2.7 mph
Ascent: 168m
Descent: 166m

There's no better way to blow out the cobwebs of the hectic Christmas and New Year festivities than a walk in the countryside. We're fortunate to be located on the edge of some magnificent countryside meaning we can be out and about in only a few minutes. One of those local locations is Harewood House, one of the country's finest stately homes.

While the house is private (but accessible to the public) the grounds are ringed by a series or footpaths and bridleways that, when joined up, create an easy 3-mile stroll through a mixture of pasture and woodland - all located minutes from Leeds.

If arriving by car, there are two places where you can leave it for a few hours; the first is close to Lofthouse Farm on the junction of the A61 or, you can leave a car in the small village of Harewood as we did. It was very busy on our visit - many people having the same idea. We did the circuit in an anticlockwise direction, starting from Harewood village.

The initial part of the walk follows the Ebor Way as it passes around the north of Harewood House. The Ebor Way is a long distance path, 70 miles in length, that crosses the country between Helmsley and Ilkley. The name derives from the Roman name for York, Eboracum. More information about the entire route can be found here. The path has tremendous views across the Wharfe valley, including the diminutive Almscliff Crag, which I once heard described as 'a mountain'. I guess it's all a matter of perspective.
The Ebor Way at Harewood
Looking over the Wharfe Valley towards Almscliff Crag
The Wharfe Valley
The Wharfe Valley and Wharfedale Viaduct
Trees in The Grove
After passing The Grove (one of the many tree plantations in the grounds), the Ebor Way turns south, heading through the working animal farm to reach Stank Beck. Once across the beck, the Ebor Way crosses open fields and heads into Stub House Plantation where a short climb links it to the Leeds Country Way.
Almscliff Crag
Farm buildings at Stank
Carr Wood
The high wall of Home Farm
The Fish Pond
The Leeds Country Way is another long-distance path; 62 miles in total, making a circuit of Leeds. Despite never being more than 7 miles from Leeds City Square, the route is mainly rural. This section of the Leeds Country Way passes through Piper Wood to cross the outlet of the Fish Pond at New Bridge. Here it climbs up to open fields, finally bringing Harewood House into view.
Stub House Plantation
The Leeds Country Way is well signposted
Open ground at Lodge Hills
Lodge Hills trees frame Harewood House
The Harewood Estate is home to Harewood House, a 16th Century country house, home to the Lascelles family. Edwin Lascelles (1713 - 1795) was a wealthy trader and the 1st Baron of Harewood. Harewood House is currently part of the Treasure Houses of England, a marketing consortium for ten of the foremost historic homes in England. The house is Grade I listed and other features in the grounds are Grade I, Grade II and Grade II*.
Harewood House
Eventually, the path reaches the A61 where the Leeds Country Way continues east. We turned north into Lodge Hills Plantation and the Wallside path which follows the boundary of the Harewood Estate, never straying too far from the high estate wall. At a derelict building, the path passes through the gate to the A61 before a short stroll past the main entrance to Harewood House takes you back to the village itself, bringing the walk to a satisfying conclusion.
Lodge Hills Plantation
Wall Side Plantation
Wall Side Plantation
The Harewood House gatehouse