abbey walks

Stage 4 - Fountains Abbey To Harrogate




18.3km / 11.3 Miles

Explorer maps


Ripon & Boroughbridge 299, Leeds 289



4.5 - 5 hours average time based on Naismith’s rule

Total ascent   182m
Total descent   220m

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This is a fairly flat walk with no significant hills to climb. It follows parts of the Ripon Rowel Walk, the Nidderdale Way to Ripley and the Harrogate Ringway. It gives good views of the Abbey House and the Abbey. The walk passes through what was once Cayton, a medieval village and site of a Grange that belonged to Fountains Abbey. The end of the day finishes at Harrogate which was first attested in the 1330s as Harwegate






Walk Description :


stage 4 photo1- From the visitor’s centre at Fountains Abbey return to the mini roundabout and take the direction left, West Gate car park. The path is on the other side of the hedge on the right of the road. At West Gate car park continue along Fountains Lane signed later to Millington (ignore the first footpath sign on the left) until a track on the left of a bend is reached.


This track will take you to and past Ninevah House where the footpath sign is picked up again on the right.  Pass across the fields to the lane and turn left. After approx 50m turn right signed ‘Per-missive Path’ - this avoids having to walk through Morcar Grange. The path turns into Straight Lane - ignore the path off to the right. In May this is a beautiful bluebell filled lane.


stage 4 photo2 - Upon reaching the end of Straight Lane turn right and right again into the no-through road. Part of the Ripon Rowel Walk is now followed. Just before the house on the right take the path left (not marked) through a hedge ( where the path then becomes visible ) to Waterloo Farm on the right. Turn right just past their drive passing in front of the building continuing on the Ripon Rowel Walk  which eventually crosses over a cricket pitch before coming to the end of a track. Turn left over the bridge and then right again at the junction signed Bishop Thornton to leave the Ripon Rowel Walk.


stage 4 photo3 - After about 150m turn left along the Public Bridleway that becomes a path to pass in front of Hincks' Hall. Continue to High Cayton. At the path junction take the right Public Bridleway to reach the junction of the Nidderdale Way path. Turn left and now follow the Nidderdale Way signs until the main road is reached B6165. Cross over and turn left into the village of Ripley.


4 - Walk through Ripley passing into the car park on the right, and walk to the point where the cars enter.  Here there is a cycle / footpath that goes through the field ahead and runs parallel with the A61 road. At the end of the path cross over the road and then down to the old road on the left. Cross over the bridge and just past the last house take the path left through a field and then follow the hedge boundary on the right coming to a track in the right hand corner. Continue along the track. Where it turns right there is a track on the left ( this may be fenced off ). Facing this new track look to the right hand side corner and the path goes through the hedge ( may not be marked ). I had to negotiate a swamp of slurry by just managing to walk on the grass verge, clinging onto the hedge so as not to fall in. Pass through two Spruisty named farms farms. At a third one (Spruisty Hill) ignore the path that turns right but continue ahead to arrive at the small hamlet of Knox.

5 - At Knox the Harrogate Ringway path is picked up which we now follow to the edge of Pannal. Don’t cross over the small bridge but turn right, signed Ringway, to the main road. Cross over bear-ing right and turn left to follow the path until the main A59 road is reached. Cross the main road and turn right to pick up the Ringway sign on the left. This will pass through the Jennyfield housing estate. After turning into the estate take the path left just in front of a house and cross a small bridge over the stream and ahead up to the road at the end. Turn left (Ringway sign across the road). Walk past the shops on the right and down the hill. Cross over to the right hand side of the road at some point, and walk under the large electricity pylon and the substation on the right. The walk is left here to continue on the road to the junction. Turn right to reach Harrogate town centre where there is ample accommodation.





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Walking can be a dangerous sport.  Walkers should always be suitably equipped, including carrying and knowing how to use a map and compass.