For this walk of just over ten miles you really will need your map! OS Landranger 99. We set off on a wonderful autumnal day from Masham, easily parking our cars in the market place. Head off east past the Primary School and follow the track along the river through arable land to a path that goes off to the left. Continue along the river side until you come out onto the road, left again over the bridge and immediately over the bridge take the path to the left to take you along the river side. Keep going along here and you will eventually come to Hackfall Wood. Keep on the lower path till you come to footpath post offering two ways, take the right option. (Always keeping in mind that you need to walk on the lower pathway through Hackfall Wood you can divert away from the lower path to explore the wood if you wish with its follies, abundance of wild flowers in spring, small lake with intermittent fountain always coming back to the lower footpath.) Proceed having taken the pathway on the right, and you will come out into open pasture land. A bit tricky here as the path has been diverted but carefully watch out for the way markers and you can’t go wrong and will come out into Grewelthorpe one way or the other! Do take a break here and visit the Village Hall Community Café, delicious homemade cakes, hot tea and superb coffee. There are loos too if you need them!
Onward and ever upwards, past the pub, The Crown, down the hill, bear left then on to the next junction and bear right heading along Nutwith Lane for High Bramley and Ilton and Swinton. Continue on the road up the steep hill and after quite a while you’ll find a footpath marker on the right directing you to Nutwith Common. Head off across the field following the stiles and way markers until you come to the wood. Your aim is to go to the far north west corner. We went wrong in here but it didn’t matter as there is only one stile in the corner. Check on your map for the way. Through the stile and down the fields again following way markers and uphill coming out at Gill Head Farm. From here turn right and follow the very minor road to Swinton Park, here you can take a little break as there is convenient seat just on the right. After a breather continue down the road, over the bridge and take the next footpath on the left again through the fields to arrive on to Foxholme Lane in Masham. Turn at the next right and you’re nearly to the end of the walk and the market place.
We were definitely ready for some refreshment so we called in at the Kings Head Hotel. What a lovely welcome there was for us with blazing fires, not that it was cold outside but welcome cheer none the less. The walk was easy going though perhaps long for some, so pretty through the woods, lovely open views in the clearings through the fields, a treat to pause in Grewelthorpe and plenty of places to rest your weary bones (if they are!) and re fuel on your return into Masham. Hope you enjoy, we did!