I didn’t even know there was a racecourse in Richmond, sadly it’s no longer used as a racecourse but it definitely was and was definitely used as such. Race meetings were held until 1891 when poor attendances resulted in its closure. Quote from Richmond Racecourse Conservation Plan ‘Richmond Racecourse is the best preserved eighteenth through nineteenth-century racecourse in England and is of national significance. Its interest and significance lie not only in the remaining buildings, albeit some partially demolished, but also in the fact that the course itself is essentially as laid out, and today's topography would be recognized by an eighteenth century race-goer.’
A lovely walk with views towards the Vale of Mowbray and the North York Moors, about eight to nine miles. Our day was perfect, too hot in fact for April, truly glorious. Please do plan your route, take your map and compass, and wear appropriate clothing and footwear. Always take plenty of water, most important, and snacks if not stopping for a picnic.
The racecourse is about a mile from Richmond market place, park in the car park off Whashton Road at Low Moor and from here go through the gate with the stone posts and make your way up the hill to what was the grandstand. I found it strange that Richmond disappeared from view stood in the car park, hence Low Moor I suppose, but soon the views started opening out again. Once to the grandstand look to your right and you’ll see a stile in the wall, go through here then follow a well defined path up and down and along, past gorse bushes, wild flowers, and into a little valley. Keep going until you come to the end of valley and another stile, marked on the map Coalsgarth Gate. Through the stile and turn right, go over a stream and make your way up the hill by the side of the wood. At the gate where there are two waymakers, turn right. Keep going through three or four fields until you come out on to Whashton Road again. Left here and after a few yards along the road you’ll see a footpath off to the right to take you through the wood. Again follow a well defined way, coming out into open pastureland. Down hill a little looking out for a wooden gate on the right with a tree close by with a sign warning of cattle. Take this gate, look back at the gate to find the way markers, you’ll know you’re now on the right path. Walk along past fields usually full of horses, do not go through the gate into the wood but make your way uphill to the right, again keep to the path and into the farmyard. Keep going through the farm yard and past Gillingwood Hall. Follow what is the hall driveway, Old Hall Lane, to Waters Lane. By now you can see the church in Gilling West, this is your destination. Cross Waters Lane and walk through arable land, today it was shoulder high with oilseed rape, quite exciting! Into lush pastureland again and head for the little gate in the church wall. Take a little time to look round the churchyard and the church if it may be open, so pretty and all lovingly tended. Through the church yard, along the driveway and out on to the road. To your left here is a village bench and a welcome break beckoned.
From here turn right, heading in the direction of Richmond, leave the houses, cross over to the left of the main road onto the footpath and after a few yards you’ll see a finger post on your right. Back over the busy road again and follow the footpath up the hill, again well defined. Keep going and eventually you’ll come to Aske Hall, walk in front of the buildings and house then as you come into open park land cut across the grass diagonally to the right heading for the wood. You will see a gated footpath at the woods edge, through here and keep going through the wood, again coming out into arable land. Turn right here skirt round the field, eventually you’ll leave the field to go into the golf course. Beware of flying golf balls we are told! You have been warned! Keep to left of the club house making your way up the hill, don’t leave the golf course but turn immediately right when you come to the houses. Follow the white posts to the end and soon the carpark and probably your vehicle will come nicely into sight!
Plenty of places to eat in Richmond, take your pick! Hope you enjoy this walk, this is the second time I’ve done this particular one, very different walking to walking in the Dales but most enjoyable and of course the weather made the day even more special.