I keep hearing about fantastic walking near Masham, (pronounced Massum, but don’t quote me!) and although we’ve walked in the beautiful Nidderdale countryside, never actually made it there. That was, until a cold winters day when we needed to walk off some festive tummies. It was time to wrap up and get some lovely fresh air and get those legs walking. Hackfall woods is in the village of Grewelthorpe and is a woodland trust site. We arrived at the small car park with no walk planned and just intended to explore the riverside paths, follies and small lakes that I’d heard about. The car park offered some leaflets on walking routes in the area and we decided to pick a trail from that. Formerly 18th century gardens, Hackfall woods later suffered years of neglect but are now Grade 1 listed gardens and a site of special scientific interest. My map reading wasn’t up to much that day, but we spent an enjoyable few hours exploring and letting the kids choose which path we took next. We saw follies, the river, small streams, waterfalls and leaping lovers view. It was lovely to be amongst the trees and despite the lack of a colourful spring or summer day it was still pretty.
Despite there being a few vehicles in the car park we felt we had the place to ourselves and only met a few dog walkers. It was bitterly cold, but we enjoyed the view having reached the highest point above a gorge at the ruin. We all agreed that on a Summer’s day Hackfall woods would be a great place to explore, especially with the small streams to paddle in. The kids loved the follies, peeping from behind the walls and looking through the paneless windows. We loved discovering the small banqueting house called the Ruin that you can stay in. Perched high above the gorge and woodland it has a pretty terrace that is open for visitors to walk through as long as no one is in residence. Nearby there is a bench to enjoy the view and we cracked open our festive leftovers picnic.
The car park is free but there are no toilet facilities on site, however, Masham is just three miles away with toilets, cafes and pubs to choose from.
Location: located near Grewelthorpe postcode: HG4 4DY
Further details: Woodland trust website
Top tips: Make sure the kids have had bathroom stops! Pack and picnic and your camera.
Time and distance: We spent a couple of hours there and walked approx 2.5 miles at a leisurely pace.
Have you visited Hackfall woods and got some tips for our next visit? Have walked nearby? Let us know in the comments, we love hearing from you!